Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

My favorite professional treatments for every skin issue I've ever faced

My favorite professional treatments for every skin issue I've ever faced

If there’s one thing I am grateful for during my pregnancy, it’s that I’ve had no issues with breakouts and my skin has stayed pretty much pimple-free for the last 8 months or so.

That being said, one of the things I am most excited for postpartum (other than baby, of course) is to be able to treat myself to some of my favorite facials and skincare treatments again - most of which can’t be performed during pregnancy. 

In lieu of those treatments right now, I decided to take a trip down memory lane to share my top five favorite treatments with you - for every occasion or concern I’ve had to face over the years. 

While everyones skin is different, and I am by no means an expert, this list is a great reference if you’re new to facials, lasers, targeted treatments etc. or if you’re facing an issue that you just don’t know how to solve on your own and need a bit of direction before heading to the med spa or dermatologist and splurging. 

Read on to learn more!

HydraFacial

what is it 

A HydraFacial treatment features a medical-grade hydradermabrasion device that carries out a patented three-part regimen — cleansing, exfoliating, and then infusing skin with skin nourishing and intensive hydrating serums.

best for

This is a great facial if you’re looking to improve or refine skin tone and texture. While you will see immediate results after just one treatment, consistent treatments will seriously help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, sun spots, as well as oily or congested skin.

All treatments can be customized to suit your needs, but generally speaking you can expect a gentle approach that will vacuum out your pores; apply potent actives, such as salicylic and glycolic acid, which will gently exfoliate dead skin cells; while also moisturizing, brightening and plumping the outer layers of the skin.

why I love it

What I love most about getting a HydraFacial is that the results are immediate, dependable and long lasting ( can attest to having radiant, smooth and plump skin for up to 7 days after a single treatment). Another great feature of the HydraFacial is pain-free extractions with ZERO side effects. I avoid extractions at home or from a facialist for fear of redness and next-day eruptions, so for me, a HydraFacial is one of the only ways I can really get a deep cleaning of my pores. 

While the HydraFacial can help with just about any skin concern, this is my go-to treatment whenever my skin feels dull, lifeless and congested, or when I have several events or occasions coming up in the span of a week that I want to feel and look my best for, since the results are so noticeable, long-lasting and the facial requires zero downtime. 

TCA Peel

what is it 

TCA peels use non-toxic trichloroacetic acid to remove damaged, outer layers of your skin to reveal a smoother, brighter, more evenly toned, and younger-looking complexion.

These peels can be applied in light- to medium-strength concentrations, performed as several mild peels designed to achieve a cumulative effect (which is how I prefer it),  or as a deeper peel that can be done in one session to achieve more of an instant, maximum effect. 

I’ve only ever done mild peels, spread out over a few sessions so I can only speak to that experience and the subsequent results. When applied, it does sting a moderate amount but I wouldn’t describe it as painful at all and the sensation really only lasts for as long as the treatment does, which is about a minute.. 

best for 

In general, chemical peels are a great option if you want to keep your skin smooth, minimize the appearance of dark spots from the sun or post-inflammatory erythema and help tighten your pores. TCA Peels penetrate deeper than the glycolic or salicylic acid peels making them a more effective choice for women with acne-scarring or pigmentation issues. 


why I love it

For starters, I prefer any chemical peel over a physical scrub, since the former is easier on the skin and the latter can create microscopic tears in the skin.

As someone who struggled with breakouts after getting off birth control, I use TCA peels to control oil production in my skin and reduce the appearance of post-inflammatory erythema (i.e. red marks) left on my skin from breakouts and picking at my skin - and it works wonders. Typically, I do a TCA peel in combination with Laser Genesis, which I will get to next. 

While one peel won’t solve all of your acne and post-acne problems, a series of peels definitely  can.

Laser Genesis

what is it 

Laser Genesis is a non-ablative laser that uses heat to kill bacteria on and under the skin, which helps to prevent future acne outbreaks. In addition to this, the heat also penetrates deep enough into the skin to stimulate the natural production of collagen, to shrink the pores, even skin tone, and increase the speed of cell turn over.

For maximum effectiveness and optimal results, Laser Genesis requires multiple treatments - at least 4-6 sessions, spaced approximately a month apart. But more sessions may be needed if the skin concern that you’re trying to treat is more severe.

best for

Laser Genesis treats a lot of different skin issues, including redness and rosacea; scars resulting from old breakouts/acne, surgery or burns; large pores; and uneven skin tone. 

I’ve used Laser Genesis at two different points in my life - first when I was 29 years old and again at age 32. And on both occasions I was trying to get rid of the red marks left behind from previous breakouts. Each time I had about 4-6 sessions, over the span of 6 months, and each session was done in combination with a TCA peel.

The treatments were highly effective for my purposes. The redness and minor scarring that occurred as a result of breakouts that I was coping with for about a year were completely eliminated by my last session. While treating this issue was my only objective, I also saw a huge difference in my skin in general. 

why I love it 

Before trying Laser Genesis, I was trying just about every product I could find to help control my breakouts after getting off of birth control and treat the red marks they would leave behind. While some things were temporarily helpful, I didn’t see any long-lasting difference in my skin or its behaviors. 

More than any other skin treatment, Laser Genesis really changed the appearance of my skin.

Because the heat penetrates deep enough into the skin to stimulate the natural production of collagen and increase the speed of cell turn over, I could actually see the quality of my skin change over time - it was basically brand new skin. In addition to clearing up the red marks and minor scarring, my skin tone was completely even (for real, it looks like porcelain after a round of treatments), the actual size of my pores shrunk as well, and my skin was visibly less wrinkled and more plump. 

Laser Genesis, in my experience, is like pressing the reset button on your skin. It reverses a lot of damage, and when done correctly, can make your skin look new again. It’s also long-lasting, with touch ups only needed as often as 1-2x a year - at most. 

Oxygen Facial 

what is it 

Oxygen facials involve a machine that is used for spraying highly concentrated molecules of oxygen directly onto the outer layers of your skin. The oxygen, which is typically applied to your face and neck, is infused with skin nourishing vitamins and minerals that are designed to nourish your skin. 

best for 

One of the biggest benefits of oxygen facial is that it nourishes your skin, making it appear vibrant and healthy, and gives it a boost of collagen and reduces fine lines and wrinkles, which makes it appear younger and more firm. Generally speaking, oxygen promotes cell regeneration. Because of this, another added benefit of the oxygen facial is that increases the rate at which new cells will grow, which also helps damaged skin heal faster (i.e. it’s great for reducing the appearance of acne scars).

why I love it

 My face (and yours) is constantly exposed to things like the sun and pollutants, which robs it of its moisture content - often times making extremely dry and lifeless. And in my experience, dry skin can lead to and exacerbate a host of other skin issues such as breakouts or eczema. 

Because one of the effects of the oxygen facial is to remove dead skin cells and  impurities from the top layers of the skin, the treatment, which is comprised of oxygen and serums, is deeply hydrating - far more than your standard facial.

It’s also one of the only treatments that has zero recovery time. In fact, you look fresh faced and glowing as soon as it’s over. Because of this, I love to get oxygen facials the day of any event, such as a wedding or night out, or even before I travel by plane since it can help offset the dehydrating effects of air travel.


Nitrogen Slush Facial

what is it

The treatment involves a a cool exfoliation of the surface of the skin with dry ice wrapped in gauze and dipped in acetone. It’s purpose is to clean the surface of the skin, remove excess oils, decrease skin bacteria, and can help calm the inflammation associated with acne - all of which allow fresh, healthy skin to surface.

It takes about 2-5 minutes if done on it’s own, or longer if it’s part of another treatment.

best for

Nitrogen slush facials are often used for their great anti-aging benefits, which includes helping the skin to feel tighter, stimulating collagen, helping to fill in fine lines and wrinkles, and temporarily shrink the appearance of pores. 

However, it’s anti-inflammatory effects make it a great treatment for skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and various types of dermatitis. 

why I love it 

This is my go to treatment when I have skin condition that I do not know how to handle or get rid of, or if I want smooth, radiant and pore-less looking skin for an event and don’t want to spend a fortune (while prices may vary depending on where you live and the professional administering it, I pay about $85 USD for this treatment at my dermatologist).

I first received a nitrogen slush facial as a ‘gift’ from my derm a day prior to my wedding, to give me radiant, matte-looking skin and to kill any bacteria on the surface of my skin to ensure I wouldn’t have to worry about a last minute breakout - and it worked like a charm. 

But what I ended up really loving about this treatment, which I only discovered a year or two later, is that it can help treat some serious skin conditions. For instance, a couple of years ago I developed some type of dermatitis that mimicked acne but didn’t respond to any of the products I was using to treat it. I went to see my dermatologist, and she applied the nitrogen slush to my skin. The slush killed all the bacteria sitting on the top layer of my skin and completely dried out the tiny red bumps that had formed, in just a few days. After a week, my skin looked completely normal. 

So there you have it - all my favorite treatments, for just about every skin concern I’ve faced to date! Hopefully it helps point you in the right direction as you ponder what your next treatment should be. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments below

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Weekly bits of wellness: postpartum meal prepping, oil-free cooking, DIY wellness retreat, citrus season and more !