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I try not to blame anything on Mercury being in Retrograde, but last week, everything about my skin was out of whack. It was the easiest excuse around. My serum, moisturizer, and spot treatment weren’t communicating correctly (or they way they’re supposed to) with my complexion, and the result was triple whammy of skin issues—blotchy red patches, zits on my chin, and overall dullness that insinuated that I just don’t sleep anymore. I do... Kinda.

So my upcoming appointment to experience the HydraFacial with the new HydraFacial Brightalive® Booster Serum was the only thing not going wrong. If you're unfamiliar, the HydraFacial is an in-office treatment available at licensed medical professional facilities or at a location with a HydraFacial-certified esthetician present, so they’re available across the country. The facial is designed to deeply cleanse, exfoliate, extract, and hydrate the skin with serums that are infused into your skin using a pen-like device called a HydraPeel Tip. If you’ve seen a video of it being performed, it looks like a tiny vacuum is being held to your skin to suck dirt and debris from your pores. But that’s not even half of it.

Suitable for all skin types—even those with rosacea, acne, melasma, and more, Dr. Sameer Bashey, a board-certified dermatologist at ZO Skin Centre Beverly Hills, says that there are four steps that make up the treatment. The first, is the removal of dead skin cells and excess sebum on the surface of the skin. During the second step is the application of a non-irritating mix of salicylic and glycolic acids on the skin. He says this will "loosen the dirt in the pores and prevent the formulation of papules and pustules on the skin." Then, the suction tip essentially sucks out the blackheads and impurities that have been loosened up. While this is happening, nourishing and hydrating antioxidant- and peptide-rich serums are placed on the skin. For this treatment, the new HydraFacial Brightalive® Booster Serum was added into the mix, which is meant to brighten skin tone and reduce the appearance of discoloration for a glower, healthier-looking complexion.

Turns out, this advancement was the perfect fit for my current skin state. "The HydraFacial Brightalive® Booster Serum is particularly beneficial for those patients who suffer from PIH, dull complexion, uneven skin tone, and discoloration of the skin," says Dr. Bashey. "Many patients have black marks and blemishes once acne cysts or papules go away. Some of these marks can be left for long periods of time. While we target these lesions of post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation with our treatment protocols, the Booster Serum adds and additional element of strength, support, and faster resolution."

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Besides a little tingling when the mix of acids was applied to the skin, all you really felt was a little suction from the surface of your skin—it was painless and extremely gentle. And to put this in perspective, I commonly classify my skin as ultra-sensitive. In less than 30 minutes, I was finished and ran over to a mirror to inspect. I was shocked at my skin’s glowy, revitalized look. It looked even in tone, the texture was smooth even to the touch, my skin didn’t feel tight or uncomfortable anymore, and I even had a little glow that only my dewy highlighter palette can usually achieve.

That’s not the only way you see it work, either. The dirt and impurities are sucked out of your skin from and dispensed into a waste container that my esthetician showed me after—the water was brown and you could see little specks floating in it. I was mortified—that’s what came out of my skin. For continued improvement, they’re recommended once a month, but it was comforting to see results even after one session.

If only this facial could help out with my other retrograde mishaps.