Health & Wellness

Quench Your Skin With a Hydrafacial

A Bristol spa delivers a hydrating treatment that extracts impurities, nourishes the face and brightens the complexion


I usually have the recommended eight glasses of water per day, but I assume the medical studies behind that are referring to flat water… not ruby red grapefruit seltzer. On the other hand, if the suggested daily fluid intake is eight glasses of any beverage, than I’m practically over hydrated between seltzer and fermented white grape juice. It’s admittedly strange that I’ve never enjoyed drinking flat water; however I really don’t enjoy premature aging caused by dehydration. Thankfully, hope was on Hope Street in Bristol for my H2-oh-so-thirsty skin, with a quenching Hydrafacial treatment at Avalon Medical Spa.

A Hydrafacial, or hydradermabrasion, is designed to reduce fine lines, and plump and firm the skin. Whereas microdermabrasion exfoliates the skin using fine particles to remove damaged cell layers, this hydra-method instead uses non-invasive hermetic suction, similar to a teeny-tiny Barbie-sized vacuum on your face, to remove the damaged cells and impurities. It also goes a step further and simultaneously infuses restorative serums back into the skin throughout the service.

Prior to the treatment, Sylvia, the RN performing my service, gave me a disposable stretchy headband to wear. In hindsight, this was a real game changer. Having an unreachable piece of hair itch you during a facial is like being stuck in the middle seat on a red-eye. She also applied a pair of adhesive eye shields, which was followed by an initial pre-cleanse – or the part of the facial where my makeup was finally fully removed for the first time in weeks.

Then came the nourishing tingle of the Hydrafacial, which started with an exfoliating lactic acid to remove dead skin cells from the first layer, combined with a softening glucosamine. This allowed for a brighter, healthier complexion. Who needs dead skin cells stealing your shine, anyway? Following that was a gentle, non-irritating chemical peel using glycolic acid coupled with healing salicylic acid. This loosened deep pore debris and dirt, prepping my skin for the upcoming extractions. During that next step, the impurities (a term which sounds infinitely nicer than the “Dr. Pimple-popper-sized colony of blackheads”) were extracted through a painless antimicrobial suction force, then rehydrated with additional healing salicylic acid plus a honey extract.

After that I had a cocktail… of antioxidants applied to my face, chock full of ingredients to heal and hydrate the skin from the inside out. It contained rosemary, hydrating hyaluronic acid, horse chestnut seed, green tea, soothing amica extract, toning oat kernel extract, red sea algae to inhibit melanin production, brightening mushroom extract and a mix of replenishing peptides to encourage collagen and elastin. If only champagne cocktails had the same effects.

Then came the final step: an LED light therapy treatment where Sylvia applied small handheld red and blue lights to both sides of my face. The light energy helped accelerate the repair of damaged skin cells and stimulated the production of collagen. Since my appointment took place during a super dreary, month-long stretch of rain, the LED TLC was especially welcome.

Although I absolutely love receiving facials of all kinds, some do require an hour or more out of the day, depending on the service (not that a facial lasting longer than an hour would be a real life problem, ever). The Hydrafacial removal and infusion process occur simultaneously, however, allowing for the treatment to be completed in only 30 minutes (!).

It’s supposedly bad luck to toast with water, but I’ll raise a glass to having skin like 64 oz. of pure hydration within a half hour.