[AD info: This is not a sponsored post. The treatment was a gifted experience.]
I don’t know why I was so nervous about getting a cryofacial. I get offers to trial so many treatments, and I’ll happily have anything injected into my body in the name of looking good – but the thought of blasting my face with sub-zero liquid nitrogen kind of terrified me. Not least of all because I hate the cold and feel it so much. In fact, I even considered taking a couple of blankets with me just in case (can you imagine…)
Still, I said “yes” – never one to turn down a freebie – and when I arrived at the SaiSei Cryo Studio 20 minutes before the treatment was booked, and sat staring at the cryochamber – that’s the machine used for a full body treatment – I was still having second thoughts. And I’m only saying all this because I think cryotherapy is such an unusual treatment to what we’ve come to expect from facials, and most people – myself included – will have their reservations. Especially since its a sensation that most of us will never have experienced before.
So when I sat down with Nyambe Ikasaya, owner of SaiSei, before the facial, I asked him to talk me through the whole thing, so I knew exactly what was going to happen.
“It’s very holistic. It’s very natural and organic. There are no chemicals involved, it’s not peeling the face or scrubbing the face. All its doing is exposing the skin to a cold temperature, and allowing the body to react on its own. “
Cryotherapy literally means “cold therapy” and involves exposing the body to extremely cold temperatures for several minutes. The the treatment uses dry cold, and brings about a number of health benefits; helping relieve pain, as well as anxiety and stress. It’s often used as a treatments for athletes to help the body recover from intensive training, but when concentrated on the face, it also has several aesthetic benefits.
“Your skin has got 50,000 heat receptors and 280,000 cold receptors – so your body perceives the cold as more of a ‘threat’. When you’re exposed to the cold temperature, the cold receptors will pick up the fact that they’re experiencing -165 degrees, send the information to the brain, and the brain will react. Although the cryofacial issues dry cold which is tolerable, the brain just recognises it as a cold threat, and starts to overcompensate by sending blood to the area. It also delivers anti-inflammatory proteins, which help reduce puffiness instantly, and acne in the long term – helping skin recover more quickly in a shorter period of time, and with less scarring. It also increases levels of oxygenated blood coming to the face, which increases the number of nutrients in the skin – causing a huge detox to happen.”
It’s almost unbelievable how much can happen simply by exposing the skin to cold temperatures. And as I settled down, I was of course sceptical – especially since most of the treatments I have involve chemicals or needles or both. So as Nyambe stood over me with a red laser pointed at my forehead – which was quite off putting, and did make me think he was going to freeze my head off – I braced myself for the first biting blast of -165 degree cold.
But what shocked me the most was how pleasant the sensation was. It was just like stepping out onto a ski slope – cool, but not too cold, and totally refreshing. Because the blast of cold nitrogen moves across the face so fast, theres no way it can cause any damage to the skin; however, its enough to trick the brain into thinking theres a very real threat. He warned me that it could get more uncomfortable after a while – but 15 minutes in I was still loving it and, as someone who definitely feels the cold, that’s saying something. I could have stayed there for hours.
“When you finish the treatment, skin will feel naturally tighter, and there’ll be a huge increase in collagen and elastin production – which help keep it strong. When there’s a registry of perceived threat, for the next 3 hours the brain will fear the skin is going to break, and so will adapt accordingly. And that’s not the same as putting a collagen product on the skin; it’s happening from the inside.
“The immediate thing you’ll see when collagen production increases – by about 30% – 40% – is reduced visibility of lines and wrinkles. And that’d pretty much instantly. You don’t have to wait to see the results, that happens right away. It’s also accumulative, and gets better with time. In 48 hours, you’ll see amazing results. In a way, the treatment starts when the cryofacial stops.“
What I was most impressed with was how immediate the results were. I felt so relaxed once the facial was over, I thought that – considering what my skin had just been through – I’d look half dead. You know, like when you’re out in snow and hail and and your face is all shades of red and pink. But no, my skin was so clear and even – and just looked so awake. To touch, it was so smooth, and my frown line (which gets its fair share of use, believe me) was almost completely gone.
Cryofacials aren’t cheap, that’s for sure. But if you’re looking to give your skin a natural kickstart, or just want to escape the heat and chill out for half an hour, it’s worth every penny!