Hydradermabrasion, often known under a brand name, ‘the Hydrafacial’, has many similarities to the concept of microdermabrasion.  Microdermabrasion has been labelled one of the top non-surgical skin rejuvenation treatments for over a decade.  According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, microdermabrasion ranked as the fourth most common cosmetic treatment in 2011 and over 500,000 treatments were performed in America in that year alone.

Microdermabrasion uses a small handheld device to move microparticles or crystals across the skin, leaving skin feeling better and giving it a youthful ‘glow’, it is claimed. While this treatment doesn’t cause particular pain, it can leave the skin feeling tight and looking red for several hours following the procedure. Because the procedure is not yet perfected, scientists have been looking for ways to reduce discomfort and downtime, and what they found is a crystal-free alternative to microdermabrasion – hydradermabrasion.

What is Hydradermabrasion?

Hydradermabrasion is very similar to microdermabrasion with one main difference – it doesn’t use crystals to exfoliate the skin. Rather, it makes use of a spiral-tipped machine and vortex technology to exfoliate and remove impurities. The tip of the machine is specially designed with abrasive edges to exfoliate the skin as it moves over it. At the same time, special serums are applied to the skin that are designed to cleanse, hydrate, and infuse the skin with antioxidants during treatment.

Hydration is another thing that sets hydradermabrasion and mircodermabrasion apart. Currently, there are no other skin resurfacing treatments that combine exfoliation with moisturization during the actual process. The idea behind the hydrafacial is not just to improve the appearance of the skin, but to actually restore it to its natural and youthful glow.

The stages of treatment

The goal of a hydrafacial is to restore your skin to its earlier natural beauty. But it is not a one-time treatment. Rather, it requires a lifestyle change with a recommendation of one hydrafacial per month. The company that markets the hydrafacial – Skin Health for Life – claims that ‘healthy skin is beautiful skin’, but in order to maintain healthy skin you need to have a regular routine in progress. The recommended protocol for the hydrafacial comes in three stages: the lymphatic stage, the hydrafacial stage, and the LED light phase:

Lymphatic stage

This stage occurs before the Hydrafacial is given. It involves gentle massage techniques to promote lymphatic drainage, or the removal of fluids and toxins. The process helps to improve blood flow and detoxify the body, thereby improving the overall appearance of skin.


A special serum is developed and rubbed on the skin. From there, a Hydropeel tip is used to exfoliate the skin and help the active ingredients penetrate into the skin’s deepest layers

LED stage

Red and blue LED lights are applied to the treated area of skin to aid in the process of skin rejuvenation

If you would like to continue the Hydrafacial care at home, you can purchase a home care product such as the DermaBuilder, or the Beta-HD to help enhance and maintain results.

What happens during treatment?

  • An initial consultation where your practitioner will discuss your medical history, your concerns, and your expectations
  • A special serum is applied to the skin
  • The tip of the hydrafacial device is passed over the surface of the skin to remove dead skin cells and dirt.
  • The entire treatment process should last approximately 30 minutes
  • You can return to your daily routine immediately following treatment

How long does it take to see results?

Most people report seeing results immediately following treatment. Skin hydration is said to last up to 5-7 days after treatment, but regular treatments may be needed to deal with deeper issues. For those wishing to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, or target acne or hyper pigmentation, 6-10 treatments may be required with regular follow up maintenance treatments every 2-8 weeks thereafter.


What can Hyrdadermabrasion treat?

The Hydrafacial helps to improve the overall appearance, health, and moisture of your skin. It is known for its ability to treat large pores, oily or acne prone skin, hyper pigmentation, and fine lines and wrinkles. It is not a good treatment for deep wrinkles or scars, deep hyper pigmentation, or broken veins.

Are there any risks with hydradermabrasion?

In most cases, no. The procedure is considered to be pain-free and doesn’t cause a lot of irritation to the skin. With that being said, a slight tightness or redness may be experienced in the hours following treatment, though this will dissipate quickly. On very rare occasions, redness and swelling could last for up to a day. There is a small risk of scarring, but it is extremely rare.

Is there anyone who should not have a hydrafacial?

The hydrafacial is considered safe for all skin types, but those with a skin infection, those with a history of scarring, or those who have used isotretinoin for acne healing within the last year may not be good candidates for this treatment. Always be sure to give your specialist a medical history, as the lymphatic stage of the hydrafacial can affect certain medical conditions.

Where can you get a hydrafacial?

Hydradermabrasion machines can be found in most beauty salons and spas and the procedure can be performed by a qualified beautician.

Does it work?

Hydradermabrasion has been found to have successful results in a number of clinical trials. In one such trial, conducted by a Dr Freedman, 20 volunteers participated in a study to determine whether the antioxidant serum applied in a hydrafacial had better results when applied manually or when applied using a hydradermabrasion machine. Results were promising showing that those who used hydradermabrasion showed an increased thickness in skin layers, new antioxidants within the skin, and a decrease in fine lines and hyper pigmentation – as compared to those who had the serum applied manually and saw no results.

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