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Not to brag, but when my period rolls around, my skin goes bonkers. It breaks out; it looks tired; it loses the radiance that I have the other three weeks of the month—it's pretty remarkable, actually. Looking in the mirror, I can tell right away if my period is around the corner. My skin can predict the future and completely change texture overnight—but like I said, I'm not here to brag.
Right in the midst of my monthly panic from seeing this shift in my skin's clarity—coupled with the new fine line that's taken up residence on my forehead—(we've become so acquainted I've named her "Linda" and make her pay rent), I received an invite to get a Cryofacial at The Fuel Stop in NYC with Allies of Skin. I was so psyched I sent an overeager response within minutes.
Read on for more about my Cryofacial experience.
What Is a Cryofacial?
For any of you wondering what on Earth a Cryofacial is, it's basically dry ice that's pumped out of a hose and onto your skin (in other words, cryotherapy for your face). "A Cryofacial is a 10-minute cryogenic treatment in which vaporized nitrogen is used to freeze (or hyper-cool) the skin of the face, scalp, and neck area," explains Jason Bookout, owner of Flow Cryotherapy in Salinas, California, which also offers Cryofacials.
During the cold therapy technique, the body is exposed to extremely low temperatures for several minutes, and it's used for everything from weight loss to inflammation reduction. As it turns out, the brightening, energizing, and lifting benefits extend to the face, too.
The Benefits of a Cryofacial
• Tightens pores
• Fills in fine lines
• Soothes skin
• Increases collagen
A Cryofacial sounds a bit like a dangerous science experiment, but the benefits are unreal. As Bookout explains, "The Cryofacial will rejuvenate the skin with benefits including reduced inflammation and puffiness; increased collagen and elastin production; improved skin tone and texture; a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles; and reduced pore size."
The goal of the liquid nitrogen is to help tighten pores, soothe inflammation, and fill in wrinkles which it may do—much like giving your face an ice bath in the morning. It also helps encourage lymphatic drainage. In fact, I was told that some women will come in wearing a full face of makeup before a night out and get the treatment to make their skin glow like crazy (fascinating). The treatment has gotten praise from celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Gigi Hadid (Hadid reportedly got a full-body cryo treatment before the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in 2015).
Cryofacial vs. Standard Facial
Because it utilizes cryotherapy, a Cryofacial is decidedly chillier than a standard treatment with steam and hot towels. Depending upon where it's performed, it might not be as spa-like either, and it will likely require the use of glasses (to protect the eyes).
What to Expect During a Cryofacial
The day of the facial, I met with Nicolas Travis, the founder of Allies of Skin. Travis has skin like an actual infant (it's shocking, really) and honestly swears by his own product to achieve his otherworldly glow. His process is a mist-mask-mist triage in the morning with the Molecular Multi-Nutrient Day Cream ($99) and at night using the Overnight Mask ($109), both paired with a few spritzes of the Molecular Saviour Repair Mist ($55). All three products are incredibly hydrating and glow-inducing, so pairing them with an ice-cold facial only seems like proper protocol for cherub-like skin. I couldn't wait to get started.
Similar to any ol' facial, I laid down on a bed while the aesthetician removed my makeup—this time, with the toner mist (which smells incredible, by the way). She then followed up with the Overnight Mask and finally came the pièce de résistance: the liquid nitrogen. It seemed rather un-kosher to put my skin through arctic temperatures (-250°F, to be exact), but she assured me it was safe. (She also moved the hose quickly over my face and held it far enough away that it wouldn't give me freezer burn.) Also because the room is spacious and ventilated, there is no harm in breathing in the chemicals. And, to be honest, it really wasn't even that cold. It actually felt refreshing and calming rather than holy sh*t, that's freezing. Only a few minutes passed, and I was totally done. Easy.
Perhaps the best part of a Cryofacial is that there's really not much needed in terms of preparation or aftercare. "There’s no need for aftercare," says Bookout. "The Cryofacial is very versatile and noninvasive. Most women elect to keep their makeup on during the facial, then quickly go on with their day."
I checked myself out in the mirror and was completely shocked—the lackluster skin I had come in with was replaced with an unreal level of glow. Later that evening, I came home and my boyfriend even commented on the luminescence my skin was exuding, and he isn't the most generous with compliments. Even Linda was less noticeable. (She still better pay rent, though.) The next morning, to my complete delight, the breakout that I admittedly decided to pop in a moment of desperation a few days prior was but a small spot on my face. Call me a sensationalist, but I was already hooked.
The Final Takeaway
If you're looking to try a Cryofacial yourself, they run about $45, which isn't too expensive, especially given the results. I'd also really recommend pairing it with the Allies of Skin products (and just using them daily in general) because if Travis's skin is any indication of what I'll look like after repeated use, I might start getting carded at bars again.