If solutions to skin-care woes came on a menu, you may choose a clay mask to manage a break out, order a facial to clean out your pores, or slather on sunscreen to prevent wrinkles. But treatments at Skin Laundry are like deciding on the all-you-can-eat buffet—and then finishing it all in 10 minutes.
The West Coast-based beauty destination opened its first New York City location this month, and it offers a single, signature laser-light combo service that promises to resolve nearly all your beauty issues—from banishing acne, rosacea, fine lines, and wrinkles to improving skin tone, texture, and glow—in one fell swoop.
And like Drybar (which it’s often compared to), it does it (very) efficiently in a pretty environment at a price point ($100) that makes it way more affordable —and accessible—than its medical office forebears.
Entrepreneur Yen Reis dreamed it all up in Santa Monica in May 2013 and opened four Los Angeles locations and one in Arizona before heading east.
“We hope to have another three in New York by the end of the year. It’s a very Skin Laundry market,” she says. “It’s a smart, fast solution, and New Yorkers get it,” she says. In case you don’t (yet) we dug through the science and laid down under a laser to get the facts.
The laser-light show
The technology used at Skin Laundry was discovered by Reis in a dermatologist’s office in Singapore. She was trying various approaches to cure a rough bout of hormonal acne, and the laser-light combo was the only thing that worked. “Not only did it fix my problem, but going regularly maintained the best skin I ever had,” she says.
Here’s why: the treatment uses a combination of a YAG laser and an IPL (intense pulse light) device. The laser is mild (as far as lasers go), but it penetrates about 2.5mm into the skin to the deep dermis, where it stimulates collagen production, promoting elasticity (and shrinking pores while it’s at it). At the same time, the light focuses on the skin’s surface, killing acne-causing bacteria, clearing dead skin cells, and targeting blood vessels in a way that helps with redness, discoloration, and skin tone.
In other words, if your face were being remodeled like a house, the laser would be the demo crew that comes in to pull out all of the old stuff and install a sturdy frame to build on, while the light would be the team that comes in later to paint the new walls and lay down carpet, making everything look shiny and new. “That’s why it works really well—because we’re hitting it deep down and on the surface,” Reis says. “It does it all—and allows your skin to rejuvenate.” And unlike harsher lasers or peels, it doesn’t damage the skin to do it.
On the table
Booking appointments online is quick, but when you arrive for the first time, you’ll have to read through medical waivers and sign a few pages that promise you understand the risks. An MD oversees everything and the lasers are operated by nurses and physician assistants, who’ll talk you through the details. Despite the necessary third degree, the space feels more like a spa than a doctor’s office.
For the treatment, the laser comes first, and feels like tiny hot pin pricks over and over, with a popping sound and a slight burning smell. It’s all very bearable, though, and is over in four minutes. Then, they spread globs of water-based gel on your face in preparation for the IPL, which you don’t feel but looks like bright flashes of red light, even with your eyes closed and protective goggles on.
The whole experience feels a little bit like a futuristic facial science experiment, but after two visits, I definitely saw results. My skin felt more taut and yet bouncy, and the tone was brighter and more even. Whether it helped with my breakouts is hard to judge immediately—Reis says the benefits don’t all show up right away, and recommends going about once a week for the best results.
“We’re reversing seven days of damage on your skin—when you go outside, your makeup routine, the stresses of life, environmental damage,” she says of the weekly visit. “It’s about maintenance.” —Lisa Elaine Held
Skin Laundry, 3 W. 16th St., between Fifth and Sixth Aves., Flatiron, New York, NY, 10011, 646-760-9298, www.skinlaundry.com
(Photos: Skin Laundry)