As far as invasive procedures go in the name of beauty, consider me still on the bunny slope. However, since I’m hovering in that age between adult onset acne and girding up for a rest-of-my-life anti-aging campaign, it’s basically a battle on two fronts—I’m seeing fine lines around my eyes but also dealing with the occasional hormonal breakout on my chin every month or so, not to mention keeping tiny millia and whiteheads at bay. Beautiful.
I recently had a facial at Silver Mirror Facial Bar in NYC, where I was introduced to probably the greatest tool my face has ever met. My esthetician, De Anna, was a total science buff and explained everything she was doing to me on a biological level rather than just saying that a treatment “soothed redness” or hydrated my skin—she made sure to tell me exactly how a treatment and its formula worked, which I totally appreciate because honestly, with the cost of facials in NYC, you should be getting an education out of it.
Anyway, I had come in with one of those painfully tender underground cystic honkers on my chin that wasn’t ready to be extracted, and here’s where it gets interesting. Towards the end of my facial, post-extractions, De Anna wielded this handheld device that looked a bit like a small lightbulb on a wand, and then proceeded to glide it all over my face — especially the areas that had just been extracted, cyst included. It was one of the weirdest sensations I’ve ever felt on my face — just like when you get a static shock but on a minor and continuous level. There’s also a slight burning smell, again like you’re zapping something (because you technically are). There was a tiny bit of warmth produced but nothing alarming. De Anna concentrated on my cyst a bit more than other areas and explained that it works by eliminating/sterilizing acne and inflammation-causing bacteria under the superficial layer of skin (so where topical treatments can’t quite reach).
Fast-forward to the next morning when that cyst was suddenly nowhere to be felt. It had gone down nearly 90 percent in size and I was floored. No amount of topical treatments had been working for the last four days prior and suddenly a little static shock did the trick? It wasn’t completely gone but it reached a manageable and thankfully non-painful mass that was pretty easy to knock out within the next day (granted there was a small pigmented mark but that’s totally fine by me in comparison). I went on a Googling frenzy and purchased the most identical looking model to the one Silver Mirror uses. I went with this $125 one I found on a spa website. The product page explains how it actually works:
“[It] generat[es] tiny pulses of electricity, much like static electricity. When this static electricity travels through the air it ionizes the air it’s passing though, creating ozone (or three molecules of Oxygen) which possesses strong oxidation or sanitizing abilities. By expelling carbon dioxide into skin, your skin is able to absorb more oxygen, which allows better circulation. By strengthening cell functions you improve the clarity and quality of your skin, giving it a more beautiful, clear and youthful appearance.”
The one downside would be that since it causes oxidation, your skin could be susceptible to pigmentation if you use it too long in one go or too frequently (which De Anna warned against, saying not to use the device for more than a couple minutes a day). But hot damn, if it didn’t work some magic on my hormonal manifestations! Seeing what it did for me already, I was willing to put some faith behind it.
So I used it three times a week (as directed, for combination skin like mine) for about a month to see what the difference was. Same freaky static-shock feeling, same slightly burning smell (which I am told is totally normal but might be off-putting to some). While my initial huge cyst had come and gone, there was still some chin “activity” happening that I was keen to go to town on.
Now, I don’t have a picture of myself actually using it—the directions said NOT to use the device near electronics because it could “interfere” with it, and I wasn’t sure if they meant “interfere” like crash-a-plane bad or just give you bad reception on a phone—but I didn’t want to take a chance with my camera. Still, I think the before and after speaks for itself.