Dear Daniela: What Is A HydraFacial & Will It Clear Up My Skin?

Illustrated by Olivia Santner
Dear Daniela,

What is a HydraFacial? I keep seeing ads for them and a couple of women I work with rave about them but I don’t really understand what it is. Are they any good?

Natalie, 24
HydraFacial has become something of a beauty cure-all of late. Just like the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding offering Windex for every ailment, I’ve heard people suggest a HydraFacial for everything from congestion to dehydration, basically every clinic I frequent offers them, they’re all over social media and yet, I’ve never had one. So I join you in saying: what?

Firstly, HydraFacial is a brand in itself, not just a kind of facial like 'cleansing' or what have you. "Technically, a HydraFacial is actually a medical grade facial," confirmed Dr Nima, an aesthetic doctor. The real USP of a HydraFacial are the proprietary tools that really help the treatment go beyond just the top layers of skin. "It uses a handheld device that can target and treat everything from dead skin to dirt and debris from pollution and deep-clean the skin. The device can also give the skin something of a peel, and flood it with hydration," explained Dr Nima.
In Dr Nima’s clinic, the treatment will last about an hour and include cleansing, exfoliating, peeling and extraction ("The device literally vacuums blackheads out from your face," said Dr Nima, which you will find either thrilling or shudder-inducing), and then a serum application to give you a bit of a glow. "It can increase skin hydration levels from 16% to 94% in one session, as well as having an effect on dehydration lines," said Dr Nima. If moisturiser is a drink of water, this treatment is like turning on a fire hydrant.
Generally speaking, most practitioners will use all HydraFacial-brand products for the sake of continuity throughout the treatment but still tailor it to your needs. The fact that it’s more of a medical grade than a relaxing facial means it’s not exactly a spa-like experience, but that’s not to say it’s aggressive or unpleasant. "For example, clients will be asked about their allergies and skin history when they come in," said Dr Nima. "It’s designed to go beyond the basics for your skin and to offer skin and aesthetic benefits that many regular facials can't offer, after all. I would say that for those who are serious about their skin and skincare, they should seek out HydraFacial instead of a more regular high street facial."
Look, hydrated skin is happy skin. Given that HydraFacial can increase your skin’s moisture levels so much, it’s no surprise to me that it can make your skin look so good. Dull, flat and tired skin is usually the result of poor hydration, so giving your skin a huge uptick in moisture will make fine lines appear diminished, plump the skin and give it a firmer, perkier glow. That’s hard to argue with. Dr Nima said it’s one of his more popular treatments. "HydraFacial is technically good for everyone and everyone will get results from it," he explained. "My clients almost always say they don’t feel like they want to wear makeup as much after they get it done."
Of course, HydraFacial is not the be-all and end-all of good skin treatments. I swear by Pfeffer Sal when I need a skin MOT, and I’ve seen Kate Kerr for more clinical facials for years. But HydraFacial provides the opportunity for a more sleeves-rolled-up kind of facial that’s not just London-based. Available at clinics up and down the country, it’s a way to try a more vigorous, results-driven treatment without schlepping into the capital.
Illustrated by Olivia Santner
That being said, not all practitioners will be of the same quality, so do your homework and only go to a reputable clinic, ideally with medically trained staff on hand to help in the event of any complications.

Got a question for our resident beauty columnist Daniela Morosini? No problem, qualm or dilemma is too big, small or niche. Email, including your name and age for a chance to have your question answered. All letters to 'Dear Daniela' become the property of Refinery29 and will be edited for length, clarity, and grammatical correctness.

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