Korean women are constantly seeking a flawless, dewy complexion with “invisible” pores. In addition to their lengthy skin care routines (many of which involve at least 10 steps), they like to give their skin some professional TLC, too. One of the latest skin care treatments out of South Korea, “pore-vacuuming,” is currently trending, and it’s exactly what it sounds like: using vacuum suction to suck all of the gunk out of your pores.
Also known in K-beauty as an “aqua peel,” this type of facial employs a skin vacuum (a handheld device with a rotating nozzle tip) to infuse an acid-based solution into the skin and then suck it back out, along with dirt, dead skin cells and sebum that are stuck in the pores. According to those who have tried it, it doesn’t hurt, but at times, you can actually feel the strange sensation of little bits of sebum being sucked out.
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After the vacuuming, a mask gets applied for a “dewy glow”—some spas even do a red light therapy session as part of the facial as well, which helps boost collagen production for plumper skin (check out the NPR video below). Post-facial, you get a chance to see the tank that contains whatever was sucked out of your skin, and word is that it’s pretty nasty. One woman said she even saw the little squiggles of sebum “swimming” around in the liquid.
In the U.S., there’s a similar treatment called Silkpeel (available at select doctors’ offices and spas) that simultaneously exfoliates skin, extracts grime from pores and infuses skin with specific serums, depending on the concerns a person has. A treatment typically costs $175 (it can vary by region), and most skin care professionals recommend four to six treatments for optimal results.
“We do this type of ‘pore-vacuuming’ in our office with Silkpeel, and I absolutely love it,” says Houston dermatologist Jennifer Segal, MD. “We do ours with an infusion based on the patient’s skin needs (acne, plumping, skin lightening, etc). After the procedure, it is so satisfying to look in the jar at what has been removed! It’s also a great tool in summer months, especially with increased use of thicker/water-resistant sunscreens (which we advocate) and travel. The treatment allows for clear pores, glowing skin and no redness or downtime that can lead to post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.”