Here's a not-so-shocking statement: People today have shorter attention spans than ever before. And those shortened attention spans, paired with busy schedules and budget constraints make it tricky to devote a full 60 minutes to an indulgent facial. (Although there are plenty of reasons, some of which are outlined here, why maybe you should.) Enter the rise of the express facial bar, a slew of facial-only spas that cater to clients looking for everything from traditional services and extractions to non-invasive laser treatments and mild electrical stimulation in one hour or less.
One purveyor of express laser facials is Skin Laundry, which made its East Coast debut last year after having launched in California in 2013. With its 15-minute laser-and-light signature treatment, the brand effectively transformed a service traditionally reserved for derm visits to a lunch-break pick-me-up. "I think we've really changed the mentality of how people should be looking after their skin," says Skin Laundry founder Yen Reis, who I got the chance to speak to at the opening of the brand's newest location in Tribeca. "We created an environment where [clients] can come here and try an affordable, technology-driven treatment that's effective." Other hotspots like Silver Mirror and Heyday also offer a menu of 30-and 50-minute services, plus photofacial and LED add-ons for additional charges.
But seeking out a facial bar for a laser treatment isn't entirely without risk; some dermatologists caution against trying these new technologies outside of a doctor's care. "Unfortunately, the devices used at these facial bars can do some major damage if the person operating the device doesn't have proper training," says Dr. Whitney Bowe, a dermatologist in New York City. "For example, if someone has a bit of melasma — a very stubborn skin discoloration that can appear very similar to sun damage spots – they can do more harm than good by having a photofacial or IPL treatment." So while the majority of facial bars use a milder laser than an in-office treatment, it certainly doesn't hurt to consult your derm first to see if you're a good candidate for an express laser facial. What's more, depending on your concerns, you may find a medical-grade procedure such as Fraxel will be a better, more effective (albeit more expensive). Bottom line: We're living in a golden age of skin-care technology, and there are tons of options out there (yay!). But at the end of the day, it's better to do your research and find out what skin-care treatments are best suited for your skin type rather than relying on the dominant trends in the field.