By Chere Di Boscio and Miranda Waller
Ahh…it feels so good when you go for a regular facial: think of the darkened room, the soft music, the aromatic products and gentle massaging in and washing off of high end products. You leave looking radiant, and go about your day with a glow.
But sometimes you need to bring out the big guns. Holiday season, for example, means many pictures will be taken of your lovely face. Not well-controlled and edited selfies; these ones will be snapped by relatives when you least expect it, so ensure your skin looks its best for every snap with a hardcore facial.
These facials aren’t just about cleansing and toning: these are about long term flaw correction. From grey, oxygen starved skin and fine wrinkles to acne scarring and redness, we’ve tried and tested 5 high tech facials that can solve your facial woes for months to come. A few caveats though – these are not the kinds of beauty treatments you’ll do just before going out; rather, plan to do these at least 3 days after a big event. Also, since the results last longer, expect to pay more than you would for a relaxing, creamy facial. Consider these high tech facials a gift to yourself!
1. Oxygen Facial
How it works: Oxygen is delivered under high pressure into the skin via a wand. My practitioner Lisa Franklin normally steams, cleans and exfoliates the face before applying the oxygen, to ensure she’s working with a ‘blank canvas’. In some practices, the oxygen is infused with other supplements, which helps the skin to heal. A small, pistol-like device blasts cool air over your face and neck; there’s no pain but it’s not really one of those ‘relaxing’ facials, though Lisa does offer a bit of massage too.
Who’s it for: This treatment is a great option for those with sensitive skin, and is especially good for smokers, who normally have greyer, duller skin since they are starving their blood of oxygen with their habit.
How you look after: The skin is rejuvenated, reducing lines, wrinkles and making it appear younger and healthier. It particularly helped to repair breakout areas and reduce dark circles.
How long it lasts: Depending on how long you have this treatment, benefits can be seen for up to several weeks later. It is very easy to see how addictive this simple solution to younger more radiant skin can be.
2. Caci Ultimate Microcurrent Lift
How it works: This goes beyond the basic CACI microcurrent facial: it’s a computer aided cosmetology instrument that encompasses 4 different treatments, in fact: a Microcurrent, an Ultrasonic peel, a Hydratoner and LED light therapy. The Microcurrent provides a non-surgical ‘facelift’, which firms muscle lines and face contours through an electrical current. The peel exfoliates and provides a deep cleanse, whilst the toner and light therapy reduce redness and hydrate skin. Basically, it’s designed to eliminate any skin problem you may have – no wonder it’s a hit with celebs like Jennifer Lopez.
How it feels: This is a lengthy treatment that can be uncomfortable at times, but the immediate results make it well worth it.
Who’s it for: This is for women who are starting to notice ‘puppet lines’ and a bit of sagging.
How you look after: My face felt all shiny and new. My previous unscultped neck was more toned and my dark circles were barely noticeable. My cheekbones were more prominent and my skin was definitely young and plump.
How long it lasts: I am still being complimented on my face a few weeks after treatment, and though I normally have a few spots, I’ve had minimal breakouts since having this treatment.
Where I had it: Lisa Franklin, London
3. Dermaroller Microneedling
How it works: A thing that looks a bit like a torture device is rolled across your face. It has superfine, short needles on it that literally puncture your skin with little holes. This does two things: it damages your skin ever so slightly, causing it to produce extra collagen as a defensive measure; it also creates little holes through your epidermis (the first, uppermost layer of skin) that go down into the deeper layers of skin, thereby allowing products to penetrate much more deeply, and work better.
How it feels: Not too bad, considering a numbing cream is applied first. Smarts a bit when it wears off though. A bit like a sunburn.
Who it’s for: This treatment is especially effective for those with minor scarring from acne or other skin traumas. It’s also great for anti-ageing, especially if you have a great product to use along with this. I have pretty good skin as it is so got a vitamin and peptide serum infusion to help keep it that way.
How you look after: Not pretty. Red as heck, and this will last at least a day, if not two. Personally, I had tiny needles, so didn’t bleed – but if you’re aiming to get rid of scars, you’ll need the bigger needles…
How long it lasts: If you have acne scarring, regular treatments can actually get rid of it permanently. As an anti-ageing treatment, the next week my skin glowed…and just kept glowing for weeks after.
Where to get it: Sk:n Clinic, London
4. LED Red Light Therapy
How it works: Your head is put into a kind of light box contraption, and LED red light is shone directly onto the skin at high frequencies. It penetrates through the epidermis, triggering a defense collagen-creating reaction in the deeper skin layers. It reduces inflammation and helps stimulate circulation.
How it feels: Super bright and warm, like you’re looking right at the sun. This can actually damage eyes the same way staring at the sun can, so be sure your practitioner gives you protective glasses to wear. It’s a bit claustrophobic, because your head is put right in the machine – it’s almost like you’re wearing some futuristic LED head cage.
Who it’s for: Red LED light is meant to help reduce redness and can give a gentle life and plump up fine lines too.
How you look after: My skin tone was definitely more even and balanced. For the first time in ages, I didn’t have to cover the area around my nose with foundation to hide the pinker skin tone there. My skin felt a bit tighter, too.
How long it lasts: Benefits can still be seen up to 2 weeks after treatment
Where to get it: Lisa Franklin, Knightsbridge
5. Radiofrequency Facial
How it works: After cleansing, a gel is applied to your skin. Then, a wand with a thick, rounded end drives mono polar radiofrequency around your face to heat up the collagen fibres in your skin and stimulate the cells responsible for generating connective tissue and healing (fibroblasts) into creating new, younger looking collagen. This collagen then rises to the surface over 12 weeks to give you a more youthful, tighter rejuvenated skin that looks firmer and fresher. The machine used on me was the Exilis Elite, which is apparently the latest and best one.
How it feels: The therapist does put some pressure on the wand, kind of like the same pressure you’d expect with a deep massage. This all happened on the area I felt needed it the most (lower face). It feels warm, and occasionally, hot – but then the machine automatically senses this and stops for a bit, allowing your skin to cool down before starting again.
Who it’s for: Anyone from around 30-80 who feels their face could be tighter and more contoured.
How you look after: There’s a bit of redness in the treated area but this fades within the hour.
How long it lasts: I noticed an immediate tightening, and I must say 8 weeks later, I still notice the difference. Score!
Where I had it: Aesthetics Lab, London
Main image: At Ease Spa