What is a hydrafacial and is it really worth the hype?

Hydrafacials are the latest skin treatment gaining traction on social media. But how effective are they? We chat to the experts to find out.

The ever-revolving door of new beauty treatments and fads has lead to another trend taking consumers and social media by storm — the hydrafacial.

For those unfamiliar with it, this new type of facial is marketed for beauty enthusiasts on the hunt for a treatment that promises a dewy glow without breaking the bank.

Hydrafacials use dermal-grade technology to address issues such as uneven skin texture, acne, blackheads and dryness in a typically three-step process: cleansing, extracting and hydrating.

The result? Plump, hydrated skin and a youthful glow (allegedly).

But as with any emerging beauty trend, it begs the question – exactly how effective are regular hydrafacials?

We chat to skin experts to get the scoop on this treatment.

How does a hydrafacial work?

Liberty Belle Skin Centre dermal clinician Marnie Eales says a hydrafacial is non-invasive, involves little to no downtime and targets general skin health maintenance.

“It uses patented technology to deeply cleanse, extract and hydrate the skin, and it can be customised to suit each individual’s skin concerns,” Marnie explains.

While the treatment can vary between clinics, at Liberty Belle you can expect a 60-minute facial that involves cleansing and exfoliation, followed by an acid peel that gently removes dead skin cells with each pass, creating a “vortex” effect to help dislodge and remove impurities in tandem with infusing hydrating solutions and potent antioxidants into the skin.

Once the peel is completed, your clinician will hydrate your skin with nourishing products.

The three-step process is typical for a hydrafacial; however, other clinics offering the treatment may also incorporate additional procedures such as skin needling, LED light therapy, or a lymphatic drainage massage.

What are the main benefits of a hydrafacial?

There are many benefits to a hydrafacial, Marnie says, and she recommends having one every four to six weeks.

Providing thorough exfoliation and hydration (perfect for dry skin heading into winter), it can yield long-lasting results with minimal downtime – which means you can get one in the same week as a special occasion or big event.

But, she says, the main upside of the facial is that it helps to clear skin congestion and improve the appearance of concerns such as fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone, enlarged pores and oil production.

Are there any cons to getting a hydrafacial?

As with any treatment, Marnie says there are some risks to consider.
“There can be mild redness immediately after the treatment, which will subside within two to three hours, and there is the potential for some flaking post-treatment,” she explains.

Dermatologist and ODE Transformative Dermatology founder Dr Shammi Theesan says despite offering temporary lymphatic drainage optimisation and reduced puffiness and swelling, the effects of a hydrafacial can be short-lived.

“Hydrafacials may not offer significant benefits as the skin barrier is a tightly regulated ecosystem, limiting product penetration,” Dr Theesan says, adding that while hydrafacials are suitable for all skin types, caution is advised for those with moderate to severe acne.

Are there any alternatives to hydrafacials?

Although hydrafacials, which typically range from $200 to $300 per treatment, are affordable in comparison to many other beauty procedures on the market, they can become costly if done regularly.

If you are looking to maintain results between treatments, or if you have a single hydrafacial on an occasional “treat yourself” basis, Dr Theesan says regular double cleansing, followed by a hydrating serum and moisturiser, can be just as effective.

As for alternative treatments, she says microneedling or broadband light (BBL) therapy can also improve the appearance of acne, signs of ageing and skin elasticity by utilising targeted ultrasound energy and radiofrequency.

More beauty treatments to explore:

Written by Emily Holgate.