Plastic-surgery capital of the world South Korea has long obsessed over discovering the fountain of youth, putting the kind of effort into regimented skincare that Americans put into airbrushing selfies for social media.
“For years Koreans have been at the forefront of skincare technology,” says esthetician Nicole Fay Vaisman, owner of Meta Skin Studio in Palm Springs. Recently, they have plumped skin with the topical treatment Sculplla, which uses the active ingredient poly-l-lactic acid (PLLA). Until now, the acid — originally developed to help give people living with AIDS a fuller appearance — was available in the United States only by injection. The Sculplla treatment was federally approved last year, says Vaisman, and she is one of the first in the valley to offer the service.
Unlike Botox, which paralyzes muscles that cause frown lines and crows’ feet, the serum fills in wrinkles over time by combining PLLA with human stem-cell growth factors and peptides to stimulate collagen and elastin deep in the skin. Vaisman provides the Sculplla treatment at her studio along with another trendy overseas remedy, the V-Line lifting facial (named after the Korean ideal of a V-shaped face). For both treatments ($200 each), Vaisman prescribes a skincare regimen in advance. She also incorporates the cutting-edge products used for these services into some of her other facials.
During the Sculplla appointment, Vaisman begins with a double-cleanse and exfoliant, then applies the Sculplla serum to clean skin and seals it with a customized polymer sheet mask. “This sheet pushes acid into the deeper layers of skin, through pores and hair follicles,” Vaisman says. For the next 30 minutes, an LED light helps the ingredients penetrate until the sheet hardens and can be peeled away. “Next, I might nanoneedle [it’s like microneedling, but without needles] and reapply serum over deeper lines.”
Recovery time typically requires 12 hours without wetting the skin or sweating, and the effect of four weekly treatments lasts about six months. “It’s not instant, but it is comparable to the injectable,” she explains. “What I prefer about Sculplla is that it doesn’t require frequent follow-up, and it treats the whole face, neck, and chest, as opposed to just certain areas.”
The 90-minute V-Line facial has become Vaisman’s signature anti-aging treatment. “It’s a great way to lift upper eyelids and the jawline,” she says. The facial begins with nanoneedling. Next, she slathers on a serum containing adult stem cells to stimulate collagen and elastin. Then comes a colloidal-gold and polyvinyl serum, applied from the neck up, that gets exposed to LED lights until it hardens.
“This actually infuses the polyvinyl into the skin, creating an invisible mesh that instantly lifts,” Vaisman says. A final serum breaks up the hardened layer, and an ultra-hydrating sheet mask and microcurrent machine work to firm skin and relax overactive muscles. “The result is super-lifted, amazing skin,” she says. Texture and tone continue to improve for two weeks, while the lift lasts a month.
Both treatments finish with a vitamin C serum, moisturizer, eye cream, and sunblock.
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Tired of anti-aging potions that don’t deliver on their promise? Nicole Fay Vaisman, founder of Meta Skin Studio, reveals her favorite elixirs for erasing the signs of time.
Coola Tinted Mineral Liplux SFP 30 is all moisture, no film. Plus, it comes in lots of pretty tints. Available at La Akua, Palm Springs.
The Body Deli’s body lotion is light and hydrating and comes in refreshing unisex scents like Moroccan Mint. Available at The Body Deli in Palm Desert and Palm Springs and at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club’s Feel Good Spa.
Mizu Life Water, an enzyme exfoliant, is tough on clogged pores but delicate enough for sensitive skin. Available at Wabi Sabi Japan Living, Palm Springs.
Meta Skin Studio’s eponymous line includes a barrier-restoring serum that boosts hydration and reduces inflammation.
Barlean’s Liquid Fish Oil helps stimulate healthy oil production in skin and protect its natural barrier. Vaisman likes the lemon flavor, which doesn’t taste at all “fishy.” At Whole Foods, Palm Desert.