HydraFacials, Vampire Facials & LED Therapy - What's Best?

It's not easy being a beauty aficionado. Every year, it seems there's a new 'holy grail' facial that all of the celebrities and magazines are raving about. But while some live up to their hype, others are little more than passing fads.

With your wallet and, more importantly, the health of your skin on the line, it's crucial to be well-informed before you splash out on a new treatment. Not just to be sure that the facial really works, but to be sure it will work for you.

To help you decide which of the current beauty trends are best for your skin type, we're taking a look at three of the current most popular ones - the HydraFacial, Vampire facials, and LED light treatments.

Woman Receiving Hydrafacial at Medispa.

HydraFacial

Price: Averages $200

Time: 30 minutes

How it works:

This skincare treatment is more popular than botox - yes, really! A handheld device targets small patches of skin at a time, using 'vortex technology' to create a mini whirlwind, simultaneously sucking out impurities and pushing nutrients in. It sounds harsh, but it's actually very gentle when compared to traditional treatments such as microdermabrasion, and feels like a light massage.

A HydraFacial combines those three classic skincare steps - cleansing, exfoliating, and hydrating. If you have specific skincare concerns, such as discolouration or signs of ageing, you can add 'boosters' to your treatment (for an additional cost) which infuse the skin with added serums.

Best for: Practically anyone!

At its essence, a HydraFacial is simply deep-cleaning and hydrating the skin, which should be parts of everyone's skincare routine anyway. It can help to keep your skin clean and clear, making it especially helpful for those with acne, while the nutrient-rich hydration is great at minimizing fine lines and wrinkles. Plus the suction boosts blood circulation, leaving you with a fabulous glow!

The downsides: You'll need regular treatments. Ideally, you will want to have a treatment once every two weeks until you have reached adequate results. Afterwards, the general maintenance program will consistents of one treatment per month or as your esthetician recommends.

There's zero recovery time - you can put your makeup right back onto your face and get on with your day. However, HydraFacial themselves admit that results generally last 5-7 days only, so it's not a miracle-worker.

Woman Getting Vampire Facial at Medispa.

Vampire Facial

Price: Typically $1,000-$1,500

Time: 45-60 minutes

How it works:

The big question you're surely wondering is, does it involve real blood? The answer is yes, but don't worry, it's yours! A doctor or registered nurse draws blood, usually from your arm, before spinning it in a centrifuge to separate out what's called platelet-rich plasma (PRP). This contains a high concentration of proteins and other nutrients thought to stimulate cell renewal and collagen production.

After first receiving a painkiller or numbing cream, you'll get a round of microdermabrasion (blasting the skin with tiny particles to slough off dead cells), before PRP is either spread onto your face or injected via microneedling. Injections mean it will penetrate deeper into the skin.

Best for: Ageing or acne-prone skin.

By stimulating your skin to heal and produce collagen, the vampire facial can be effective at reducing fine lines, acne scarring and even pore size.

The downsides: Irritation, and the price tag. It's recommended to have at least 3 treatments to see optimal results. Each treatment should be performed no less than 30 days apart or as recommended by your practitioner.

Don't try the vampire facial if you have sensitive skin. The mixture of microdermabrasion and microneedling can leave you a little sore for a few days. Ideally, you shouldn't wear makeup until you've healed - which can be tough to stick to when you're glowing red!

It can also take multiple sessions to start seeing great results - and at $1,000+ a pop, it's hardly budget-friendly.

Woman Getting LED Facial at Medispa.

LED Light Facial

Price: Usually $50 to $100

Time: 10-20 minutes

How it works:

Originally developed to fast-track wound healing, LED therapy involves shining specific wavelengths (colors) of light onto the skin, sometimes in combination with a light-absorbing gel that enhances the effect.

Although various wavelengths are used to treat different things, by far the most common are blue light and red light. Red stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, plumping the skin and smoothing fine lines and wrinkles. Blue on the other hand kills off bacteria, reducing acne.

Best for: Ageing or acne-prone skin, depending on the wavelength used.

That said, anyone can enjoy an LED facial! In fact, it's so safe you can use it on crow's feet right by the eyes (with proper protection), and as often as you want to. It's also another zero-downtime treatment, actually reducing inflammation rather than causing it.

And, don't confuse this with laser light treatments. Whereas those can be quite painful, an LED treatment is positively pleasant. It feels warm, like having the sun shining on your face - only without any harmful UV rays.

The downsides: You'll need multiple treatments, at least four to see noticeable results.

LED light facials are comparatively cheap, however to see long-term results you do need to have them consistently. But good news, you can buy a treatment tool to use yourself at home! It will be less-powerful than the one at your therapist's office, but still effective with regular use.

The conclusion

HydraFacials, vampire facials, and LED light therapy are all effective treatments. However, when you can get at least ten LED treatments for the price of one vampire facial, and none of the irritation, we have to ask - is getting your blood injected back into your face just an expensive gimmick? If you really want a 'high-tech' option, the much-cheaper, much-gentler HydraFacial will tick that box.

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