City Style: Skin Scans

By Sascha de Gersdorff | Boston Magazine |

We all get a little sun each summer. What harm can a few beach days do? The answer’s not so pretty.

Trial Run: Skin Scans
We all get a little sun each summer. What harm can a few beach days do? Sascha de Gersdorff finds out the answer’s not so pretty.

>>The technology: Med spa aestheticians use UV light to expose wrinkles, bacteria, and sun damage.

>>The experience: After my free scan at Cambridge’s Essentially Bare, Kelly Cirafice hands me the results: a six-frame photo printout that details my sun spot counts, among other atrocities. My wrinkle outlook is clear (fewer lines than 98 out of 100 other 28-year-olds have), but the bacteria—a.k.a. pimple—tally is alarming. To reverse the damage, Cirafice recommends topical SkinCeuticals vitamin C once a day.

Over at Sleek MedSpa Boston, the vibe is sell, sell, sell. I drop $175 to learn my bacteria count has jumped from 97 to 385 overnight! A trio of “consultants” urges immediate microdermabrasions, chemical peels, and photofacials. For a third opinion, I visit Claire McArdle at Beauty Therapies in Brookline ($55 consultation). The sun damage is even more horrifying this time, and I start to think—hope—these machines are rigged. Then McArdle shows me her own fleck-free visage, adding she “looked like a spotted leopard” before starting regular photofacials a decade ago. She advises an oxygen therapy facial (the OxyDerm) and says goodbye with a hug.

>> The verdict: Chemical peels sound scary, and I’m not quite ready for the laser. I’ll do the vitamin C and facials, though, and continue to drown myself in SPF 30.