Luminous skin and your personal skin concerns fixed? The Dermalogica IonActive facial makes big promises…

So what is it?

Facials are getting pretty specific these days. The new skin treatments on the block are customised, and totally results driven. This appeals to me greatly as my life sees me up at 4am for work, constantly lacking sleep, and (don’t judge) picking at my dull looking skin until it becomes scarred, dull-looking skin. Plus up until very recently I didn’t wear sunscreen under my makeup, which I didn’t think was a problem, but apparently some of what I thought was scarring was actually pigmentation from sun damage (naughty Liz).

“Regular” facials just seem to relax me and stop breakouts, but haven’t really targeted my problems before. Enter the Dermalogica IonActive Power Treatment. This nifty little facial requires a skin consult to identify concerns before a tailored treatment is applied. There are a few different formulas that can be mixed and matched depending on what you want to achieve. These comprise four IonActives (potent concentrates) and two Gelloids, (a massage/mask hybrid that can be layered over the top of the IonActives to seal in the active ingredients). It also involves some LED light therapy to infuse it all deep into the skin.


What happened?

We started my facial with a warm, hot towel on my feet. Wait, what? Yep, it seems the IonActive facial includes some lush relaxation methods including a steam towel on hands and feet, a mini foot massage and some inhalation therapy.

Then we get down to facial business. I confess I’ve been eating poorly, sleeping poorly and not looking after my skin, and that my skin concerns are that my neglect shows all over my face. I also have some scarring from previous picking sessions (don’t pick pimples, kids!) that I would like to remedy. Not to mention the dark circles and dull complexion that come from averaging four hours’ sleep a night.

She gets right to it, starting with a double cleanse. Our pre-cleanse is done with a little BT Micro, a nifty metally device that runs over your skin delivering ultrasonic pulses allowing the formula to get nice and deep in my pores. It kind of sounds high pitched and a teeny bit scary, but tickles more than anything, and leaves me with a little tingle. Then April follows with AGE Smart Skin Resurfacing Cleanser with some of their Daily Microfoliant in it (my fave Dermalogica product), infused with a Calming Botanical Mixer. You know, because I am frazzled and stressed the heck out.

Then it’s time for a little face mapping. That’s when April takes a good hard look at my skin under a bright light and tells me all the things that could be causing my breakouts (basically my life). She mentions that my spots happen in an area associated with some dairy issues so I might want to get checked for some kind of intolerance. My heart dies a little inside because dairy is in everything good, like chocolate, and cheese. And chocolate.

Next up, it’s exfoliation time. But don’t think microbeads or gritty scrubbing, think a chemical that tingles. The “Exfoliation Accelerator 35” is the business (and you know it’s science cause there’s a 35 after it).

The IonActive of the treatment name was the next cab off the rank. Something was applied to my skin that I’m told is an “Oligopeptide”, which basically means it’s business time for my face. April tells me this will help even my skintone and give me a luminous glow by actually stopping pigmentation production on my skin. I thought this was a great step, although I may have been lulled into a super relaxed state by the IonActive massage that happened after that. Then there was yet more stuff applied to the ol’ visage except this time it was massaged in with gloriously warm hot stones.

Now for the bright lighty thing I talked about earlier. A contraption is placed hovering above my face covered in LEDs that are said to assist with skin concerns. Don’t freak out if you’re claustrophobic like me though, your eyes are covered so you don’t really know it’s there. For my skin concerns we started with green lights for skin discolouration, followed by yellow to calm inflammation from nasty breakouts.


The verdict

I LOOK HUMAN AGAIN. Gone was my pallid, overtired, dull complexion and in its place was a dewy, rosy glow. Yes, I still had my scarring and pigmentation — it’s science, not magic — but I’m told these may fade with more treatment. And look, I know it’s meant to take a few days/weeks/whatever for it all to work but I SWEAR the dark circles under my eyes were a tiny shade or two lighter. Not to mention my skin remained smooth as a baby’s bum for days after. As the treatment is customised to each individual based on their skin concerns, the number of treatments you need for results will vary. But with my tired face feeling this fresh and sassy after one, I can only imagine how great my skin will look and feel after a couple more.

Dermalogica’s IonActive Power Treatment is available at selected Dermalogica certified skin treatment centres. See for locations and more information.