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I was a late-blooming 17-year-old when I was enjoying the tail end of my awkward phase, so in a pre-prom attempt to make me feel pretty, my sister took me to get a facial. An hour later, I left the facility swollen and red from the neck up, and though I had three hours to spare before it was time to do my makeup, I swore off facial treatments all together. It's been nearly seven years since the fiasco, so when Dermalogica offered to change my mind, you can imagine my hesitation.
I headed over to to the Dermalogica Academy in Chelsea on an impossibly cold and rainy Wednesday (with a fresh breakout, no less!) and was met with a short medical questionnaire. After receiving a tour of the facility - the Academy serves both as a state-of-the-art undergraduate training center and a beauty haven - I was introduced to my therapist, Verika Seddick, who thoroughly discussed my questionnaire and explained the entire process in a calm, dimly-lit treatment room.
Because I arrived at the facility in the dead of winter, I imagined the procedure would be particularly shocking to my moisture-starved skin. Instead, Verika began with a pre-cleanse - an oil-based soap-free, fragrance-free, noncomedogenic product that removes "all the debris of New York City, any traces of sunscreen or make-up. All the things we normally leave on our skin every day” - and thanks to the apricot seed oil, olive oil and Kukui Nut oils, it is incredibly gentle and smells refreshing.
After applying a steam machine to my face and décolletage to help activate the pre-cleanse, Verika continued with a deep conditioning cleanse. My skin was then analyzed with an ultra-violet light, allowing her to see all of my skin conditions. After that, an even brighter light was used to analyze dry areas, congested areas and potential breakouts. Verika and her advisor created a custom exfoliator for my skin, and though many experts recommend exfoliating only two-three times per week, Dermalogica's Daily Microfoliant - a rice-based enzyme that helps to improve the brightness of skin and remove dead skin cells - is gentle enough to use every day.
Therapists have more than 50 products on hand to truly offer a customized treatment
After Verika administered High Frequency light to my skin to clear congestion, she applied a mask and massaged my face, neck and shoulders (heaven!) with an electricity-based tool in a process called iontophoresis: “It allows me to penetrate the product deeper into your skin. This machine pushes it even deeper.” After removing the mask, she misted a refreshing lavender and aloe-based toner on my face and neck, finishing with an SPF 15 moisturizer. Verika completed the hour-long custom treatment by reiterating my full skin analysis and recommending products for my skin type.
It's been nearly three weeks since I visited the Dermalogica Academy and though I've been trekking through the dead of winter in NYC, I haven't had a single breakout. My skin retains moisture and I've noticed some of the hyper-pigmentation around my t-zone (thanks, teenage acne!) has faded. Though I'm usually hesitant to recommend a full range of products by a single brand, I can't get behind Dermalogica enough. It's no wonder the brand is lauded by models Behati Prinsloo, Lily Cole and Dominique Piek.
The best part? This fully customized on-site skin treatment package, which would usually range between $200-$300 in other New York spas, costs $50. Yep. Click here to browse the Dermalogica Academy's site or to make an appointment to save your skin from the harsh winter bite.