As a native Californian, it’s safe to say I have an aversion to the cold. And by cold I mean anything under around 68 degrees. Of course I’ve heard beauty is pain, so being inundated with information about all the benefits cryotherapy offers via the countless wellness resources I subscribe to, my aversion softened, but willing, I was not. Until I heard of the cryofacial.
Cryofacials are not to be confused with cryotherapy. Cryotherapy requires that you strip down to your birthday suit, enclose your whole body in a shower-like chamber, and stand for three minutes in temperatures sometimes lower than –200 degrees F while ice crystals form on your eyelashes and your toes turn temporarily blue. OK, I’m sure some people enjoy it and find it incredibly helpful—don’t listen to me, I’m a baby.
A cryofacial, on the other hand, is a vastly more comfy experience, and the results are immediate. While it does not require that you stick your face in a freezing chamber, a little cold is still involved but in a controlled, expertly applied motion, while you lie snuggled up on an ergonomic aesthetician’s table under fuzzy blankets. Which I’m fine with. I opted for the treatment at FACILE Dermatology + Boutique in West Hollywood for their renowned ratings and super cute space.
Plushy, medical-grade cotton swabs are dipped in a single-use canister of liquid nitrogen, making the surface of the cotton around –225 degrees F. This temperature exfoliates gently yet thoroughly to remove all dead skin and a trace amount of peach fuzz, as well as tightens the pores, so you leave bright and glowing.
In a cozy and dare I say almost romantically lit room, I was given a headband and terry-cloth wrap to get spa-ready and climbed under some cozy cotton knits and a chic faux-fur blanket for my chilly treatment. FACILE’s top medical esthetician, Caroline Godsick, started with a thorough cleanse of the face, neck, and décolletage.
Using Facile’s Clean cleanser, which is infused with papaya fruit extract for some refreshing enzymes, Caroline began a gentle yet invigorating massage to deep cleanse and bring circulation to the surface of the skin. She finished off the prep with a light steam while she readied the cryo part of the facial, which looks like a misty cauldron of sorcery … in a good way.
She lightly glided the soft cotton over my face, neck, chest, shoulders, and upper arms, just softly touching as if almost hovering over the surface. Liquid nitrogen is powerful, so if it makes contact with the skin for too long or with too much pressure, it can burn and cause damage. It’s used in the removal of warts, for example. Luckily for most there’s no need for that on the face!
She spent extra time here, covering nearly every inch of exposed skin above my wrap for a thorough exfoliation—which was majorly appreciated, because I just so happened to be experiencing PMS skin. Lucky me. The feeling is cold to the touch, but in no way did I feel the magnitude of –225 degrees. More so, it was extremely refreshing and cooling after the prep of a cleansing massage and steam.
For the final step, Caroline used Facile’s fan-favorite serum, their Essence. Essence has a high content of hyaluronic acid, green tea leaf, and soybean seed extract, which gives extra love to your super-fresh new skin, as it’s deeply hydrating and protecting. I didn’t want to slather sunscreen on my thoroughly cleansed face just yet, and knowing I wasn’t going to be spending extensive time outdoors, I made a break for my car and popped a hat on. Post-exfoliation is prime time for sun damage, so the protecting serum + hat is key, but if you know you’re going to be in the sun, don’t skimp on the ‘screen.
The results were immediate. Not only did my T-zone pores look cleaner and smaller, but a lot of the redness and uneven tone I’ve come to accept were eliminated, resulting in a fresh, makeup-free day for me, even to dinner that evening. I’m not sure if it was the simultaneously relaxing yet invigorating feel of the chilly facial that put a pep in my step, but my tired skin even seemed a bit lifted.
While I definitely recommend trying this alternative exfoliation technique as an occasional medi-spa treat, if you’re on a serious mission to minimize the look of your T-zone pores and uneven tone, this facial is safe to get weekly. While FACILE Dermatology + Boutique is only the first place I’ve tried it, it will probably also be the next place I go to do this again.