Flower Power

During the last decade, microdermabrasion facials—which employ aluminum oxide crystals—have become a sought after spa service for treating everything from sunspots to fine lines and wrinkles. But now an aluminum-free version offers the same results with gentler materials. DermaRadiance is a proprietary microdermabrasion machine, developed by Satin Smooth, that uses flower grains as the exfoliating agent instead of the traditional aluminum oxide crystals. Proponents of the system claim it’s less harsh on the skin and environment.

Earlier this year The Look Spa Salon in Greenlawn began offering treatments with rose, lavender and tea granules. Doreen Guarneri, the salon’s owner pointed out that while spa technicians administering traditional treatments wear a mask to avoid breathing in the particulate matter, clients receiving the treatment don’t, even though they are exposed to the same elements. “People don’t realize what’s in there until we point it out,” she said. The aluminum oxide crystals become airborne and can potentially scratch corneas or be inhaled. The safety of aluminum exposure during pregnancy is also unknown. DermaRadiance uses a different aggregate but the goal is the same: to carefully buff away the outer layers of dermis to expose younger and healthier skin, generate collagen production and stimulate blood flow. Microdermabrasion can also be used to combat acne scars, blocked pores, large pores, sun damage and dry skin.

The Look Spa Salon is one of the first on Long Island to offer DermaRadiance. The hour-long treatment begins like a typical spa facial: clients are escorted to a peaceful area of the salon and asked to fill in a detailed intake form. Because microdermabrasion is considered a light cosmetic treatment, technician Kathy Flanagan ensures each person is a candidate for the procedure. Then, resting on a massage table in a spa robe, clients relax into the facial ritual that begins with a thorough cleansing and examination before Flanagan starts the machine, which has adjustable power settings for various skin sensitivities. “It’s a progressive treatment,” she explained. “Each time you come in we will exfoliate more and the results will build. But you’ll see results from the first time. You’ll leave glowing.” Flanagan said her regular clients report that the effects of the treatment build and peak over the next three days but that the impurities and blockages loosened up by the deep exfoliation can take a week or two to emerge and heal.

“The results are the same as with the aluminum oxide machines,” Flanagan said, “but I think it’s more relaxing and feels less sharp on the skin.” The actual 10-to 30-minute abrasion is painless and feels like a deep scrubbing. After going over the entire face with the abrasive machine tip, she targeted problem areas around the mouth and eyes with a second application. Then Flanagan repeated the process with the machine’s diamond tip attachment, a smaller polishing tip, to buff the skin. She finished the face off with moisturizers and an expert facial and neck massage before moving on to any necessary blackhead extractions and finally a soothing masque application. Clients receive a customized skin mapping at the end of the session, detailing areas of concern and a recommended list of products.

After trying the treatment, my skin had a freshness and glowing appearance that was evident over the following days—true to Flanagan’s prediction. Because microdermabrasion is essentially removing the outer skin layers, redness and irritation afterwards is common. But Flanagan said clients see less redness with the flower granule version. The treatment, which costs about the same as the traditional aluminum oxide crystal version, is popular with a wide range of ages because it addresses overall skin quality, aging skin as well as blemishes and discoloration. Flanagan advised that any microdermabrasion be done at least two weeks out from a major event, as the skin will continue to heal blemishes and blockages for some time after the treatment.

Jacqueline Sweet

Jacqueline Sweet

Jacqueline Sweet is a freelance journalist and writer who covers local news and writes features for local and regional publications. She has published work in national magazines like Salute magazine, Family (military) magazine, Triathlete magazine, regional publications like Long Island Pulse and Long Island Parenting, and reported local news for online outlets like LongIslandWins.com and Patch.com. She has been covering health, wellness, fitness beauty, spa and travel for Long Island Pulse for several years.