Living in Seoul and having access to cheap-and-when-you-want-it skin care is a perk that also doubles as a discovery depot for the latest beauty gadgets and procedures to hit the market. I’ve come to recognise that gleeful, mad-scientist grin my aesthetician has when she wants to try something new, usually skipping the whole "asking me if I'm cool with it" part. This is how I first came to get my pores vacuumed, a procedure I would have enthusiastically nodded yes to anyway because pore vacuuming just sounds awesome. Who wouldn't
In Korea, this suction-powered hydrafacial is known as “aqua peel” and it’s essentially a skin vacuum in which a rotating nozzle tip simultaneously pushes an AHA/BHA solution into the skin and then sucks it up, taking dead skin, blackheads, and other unwelcome pore gunk along with it. The solution creates a centrifugal liquid seal with skin to powerfully pull out impurities while at the same time cushioning the skin from damage and irritation that a dry vacuum of the same force would cause.
The real clincher came when I was shown the cloudy water tank of disgustingness post-procedure. Seeing the little squiggles of sebum that had been hiding away in my pores just swimming around brought me equal parts horror and satisfaction. At one point, I became so obsessed, I was going two to three times a week.
Over time, I could see how this was the kind of maintenance that was actually making headway into my quest against blackheads. My skin was becoming as smooth as glass. A high-def camera could have come in for a close up, and I wouldn’t have flinched.
But a very busy traveling schedule made it near impossible to keep up my regular visits to my psychic aesthetician. (No pore-vacuuming in Tel Aviv?) So when I discovered an at-home version of the machine, I was like SIGN ME UP. Unfortunately the at-home device is not yet available in the U.S. So if you have a friend in Korea, beg/force them to order one and mail it to you. Totally worth the international shipping fees, promise.
Read on for my account on how to mimic the Korean pore vacuuming experience at home. Want to see it in action? Check out the video
of my treatment — there's one for each step of the facial.