I was recently invited to trial a facial at the much-lauded Skin Gym, and I must admit that the experience was something of an eye-opener. I’ve long been a bigger fan of facials than any other spa treatment – something about all that massage just zones me right out – but that’s definitely not what The Skin Gym is all about! In fact, the lovely Pauline who was my therapist for the afternoon was positively disdainful about “massage-y facials”, focussing instead on results obtained through state-of-the-art technology. Eek… what had I let myself in for?!
After bonding over our mutual Welsh upbringing and general dislike of UK weather, Pauline undertook a thorough examination of my skin, and enlightened me as to the real issue with face – not, as I had thought, my blocked pores and dry patches, but my creeping sun damage. This was gained during my first few months in Hong Kong when (typical Brit that I am) I still believed sunscreen to be an optional extra, and has worsened with every year. As I was just about to head off for sunny climes, Pauline advised against using a laser treatment at our session, but suggested that this might be the best option for permanently ridding my face of its mottled appearance at a later date. So what to do in the meantime? Pauline prescribed a technical Vitamin C facial using Ultraceuticals products to improve my overall skin tone and texture, using concentrated doses of clinically proven treatments to help with skin renewal, reducing the appearance of my dark patches. This sounded good to me, but aren’t topical lotions and potions generally considered to be pretty ineffective, and worse, a major component of those dreaded “massage-y facials”? Well, not in the hands of an expert, it seems! Using a sonopheresis machine (a handheld gizmo that can either draw impurities from, or push products deep into the skin’s layers), followed by gentler-than-expected microdermabrasion, Pauline removed dead skin cells and other pore-cloggers. My skin squeaky-clean, it was then time to reverse the polarity of the sonopheresis machine… yep, it was all sounding very ‘Ghostbusters’ to me! This served to push a cocktail of high-performing vitamins back into the epidermis, kicking my own collagen production into action, helping to block further pigmentation and restoring balance and firmness. At this point, I was feeling a bit of a tingle, so a calming mask was applied and I was given a lovely neck and shoulder massage while this took effect… Pauline’s concession to the “massage-y facial”! Post-mask, my skin was sterilised (yes, really!) with a high-frequency machine, killing bacteria and germs and ensuring no post-facial breakouts, and then it was on to moisturiser and – most importantly – an SPF 30 sunblock.
The whole process took around an hour and I really enjoyed the experience, learning a lot by chatting with an expert who knows her science. To be honest, I’m never a pretty sight after a facial, tending towards the shiny and blotchy of face, but looking in the Skin Gym’s well-lit reception mirror, I was pretty impressed. Ok, so it was obvious that I wasn’t wearing makeup, but other than my perpetual dark circles (what can I say? I have a toddler at home), my skin looked clear and really bright. The following day I noticed a huge improvement, with pores looking much tighter than usual, and a baby’s-bottom level of smoothness to my dry cheeks.
So what did I learn from my Skin Gym experience?
a) Not all facials need to be “massage-y”
b) Sunblock is essential, every single day!
c) Science is your friend when it comes to better skin.
I’ll be heading back to this boutique skin specialist for a facial tune-up at the next available opportunity, and can highly recommend their prescriptive approach for your specific skin needs.
Facial treatments from $680 up; Vitamin C facial $1460. Other services including infra-red sauna and spray tan available, price on request.
The Skin Gym 21/F 06, The Centrium, 60 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong
2810 8088 www.theskingym.com.hk