On Tuesday night, I was thrown out of a liquor store for looking too young and not having any ID to prove otherwise. I'm sharing this embarassing humblebrag with you to illustrate that I'm not exactly in the market for Botox or laser treatments anytime soon, if at all. But that said, I'm always up for a good preventative treatment or product that helps me take care of the skin I have now and prevent problems down the road, which is how I found myself saying yes to a HydraFacial at False Creek Skin Solution Clinic. One Canada Line ride and a short walk from Olympic Village station later, I found myself on the waterfront at FCSSC's doorstep, learning more about the HydraFacial from owner (and former plastic surgeon) Natasa Glogovac.
The HydraFacial is more like a computer-administered facial than a hardcore anti-aging treatment. The multi-step process uses a wand to cleanse, exfoliate, perform extractions, and nourish skin with anti-oxidants and hyaluronic acid . Each step is performed by attaching a different sterile, disposable head to the wand. The aesthetician moves the wand—which alternately dispenses skincare solution, offers a gentle suction/massage action, or is ever-so-slightly abrasive—across your face, and at one point uses it to massage key points for lymph node drainage and de-puffing. The HydraFacial machine is pre-set to exactly the right pressure and solution concentrations for your skin profile thanks to the extremely detailed questionnaire you fill out before your appointment.
According to Natasa, the HydraFacial is beneficial for all ages and suitable for all skin types. There's no irritation or downtime and very little redness. Instead of an aesthetician poking and prodding at your skin to perform extractions, the gentle suction, massage action, and slight abrasion of the wands loosen dirt and oil from your pores for the water-based solutions to flush away.
The 45-minute HydraFacial treatment was unlike any other facial I've ever tried. The overall experience was more akin to being in a dentist's office than a spa. Instead of lying there with dimmed lights and soothing music, I was in a white room under florescents, and I could hear every noise and hum the HydraFacial machine made. Natasa explained each step to me as she went.
The lymph drainage massage was wonderful. The cleansing step felt a little more abrasive than the others, while the salicylic/glycolic acid solutions for exfoliation and extraction stung just a teensy bit more than the other solutions. But otherwise the steps seemed pretty indistinguishable which really speaks to the overall gentleness of the entire treatment. Once I got used to the disconcerting sensation of a machine doing the work instead of human hands, I relaxed and was even nodding off toward the end.
Afterward, I had a chance to study the results in the mirror. My skin looked great, although not noticeably better than it does after a standard spa-like facial. The main difference was around my nose area where I usually have blackheads and congested pores. Instead of suffering through the pain of extractions and the resultant redness, I'd circumvented both but still got the same results. (Sensitive skin types, take note.)
HydraFacial treatments at False Creek Skin Solution Clinic start at $129. If you'd like to try it, I'll offer you two tips to finish off this post. First, show up at least 15 minutes early as the paperwork takes a long time to fill out, but is well worth it for a customized treatment targeting your skin type and topmost concerns. Second, the ultra-gentle treatment should not be uncomfortable at any point in time, ever. If it is, speak up. For the first few seconds of the cleansing step, the wand tip was uncomfortably abrasive like dry sandpaper being rubbed across my face. Oh no, I thought; was I to lie through 45 minutes of this? But once Natasa checked the tip and found it wasn't dispensing solution correctly, the treatment felt a lot better.
All images courtesy of False Creek Skin Solution Clinic.