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Put on the blue light: having a cryo facial at Purexpert

Cryotherapy is the science of exposing yourself to intense sub-zero temperatures in order to treat pain, stimulate a range of health benefits and give your metabolism an extra kick start. Localised applications of dry cold relate to body and face treatments for aesthetic purposes or for the reduction of various conditions.

The innovative if bittersweet process helps reduce joint, muscle and tendon inflammation in the body by boosting an anti-inflammatory chemical called norepinephrine. 

Cryotherapy treatments also increase the level of endorphins which can elevate mood and reduce stress, and boosts blood circulation throughout the body which results in a higher metabolic and caloric burn rate.

With temperatures in the South of France on course to be as sweltering as 2022’s record breakers, after yet another scorcher of a day on the Riviera, I decided to visit the Côte d’Azur’s Purexpert wellness centre in Saint-Laurent-du-Var, just outside Nice. It’s situated on the second floor of the Cap3000 mall, the first indoor shopping centre in France which opened in 1969.

In need of an extreme cool down, I happily opted for a Cryo Facial. Depending on the level of attention you require, the facial will typically include a scalp and neck nitrogen massage as well, and it is often recommended to do this facial in a series of treatments. Some of the many benefits of receiving this treatment deal with stimulating collagen production through the increase in microcir­culation. This then helps to detox and rejuvenate the skin.

Cryotherapy, also known as cryosurgery or cryoablation, can be delivered with various cryogens. Liquid nitrogen is the most common and effective cryogen for clinical use (temperature –196°C). It’s a minimally-invasive controlled cryogenic treatment that improves the health and appearance of the visage area by using a controlled beam of vaporised liquid nitrogen to freeze the skin found on the face, scalp, and neck.

Performed by what is considered a ‘cryo probe,’ which beams the vaporised liquid nitrogen across the forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. The intense cold causes your blood vessels to contract and your pores to tighten, which is a similar but more intense version of what happens when you rub ice on your face.

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Once your skin returns to its normal temperature, the blood vessels dilate quickly. This causes an increase in the flow of blood and oxygen to the face, which can make your skin glowy and more vibrant, and may also cause your lips to look slightly more plump but thankfully nothing approaching the vagina pollywogs of Madonna’s arse about face.

This process is a natural but subtle exfoliator, removing the outer layer of dead skin cells from your face while simultaneously stimulating the growth of new cells underneath. Furthering the treatment’s anti-aging benefits, cryo facials help the skin to feel tighter, and assists in stimulating collagen production while also filling in fine lines and wrinkles and decreasing pores.

In rejuvenating the skin, the procedure also restores radiance, soothes inflammation and improves skin texture and tone, and can even go as far as to help clients who are suffering from more severe skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

The procedure generally goes as follows:

Your face will be thoroughly cleansed and dried. Some practitioners like to steam the face or do a gentle massage for lymphatic drainage before the cold perky begins.

You’ll feel liquid nitrogen hitting your face from a hose. It’ll definitely feel chilly — like sticking your fizog in a freezer — but it shouldn’t be unbearable.

The hose will cover your face for around three minutes. Some people find the sensation relaxing.

Your operative will then apply a moisturiser or serum on your face, and in some cases, they might conduct a second facial. Then you’re good to go.

Funny though, they didn’t mention anything about a mask. 

Steve Pafford

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