Illustration by Pablo Lobato Illustration: Pablo Lobato

My skin care routine consists of washing my face with Cetaphil and slathering on CeraVe. Together, they cost a whopping $28.78 at my local CVS. At my old age of 36, I’ve heard about snail mucin and sheet masks. A colleague recently tagged me in a Facebook post that was essentially, “If you owned these hideous ’90s Steve Madden platforms, it’s time for a night serum.” I haven’t been ready to shell out the money or time. Yet there’s a wrinkle between my brows that gets deeper by the day, and the circles under my eyes circles are borderline offensive. Point is, I could use some help.

So when the HydraFacial World Tour stopped in Millennium Park — and by “world tour,” I mean a bus outfitted with beauty chairs — I was happy to check it out.

The treatment uses a pen-like vacuum to suck gunk out of your pores and pump moisture in. It promises to undo in 30 minutes all the wrinkles and clogged pores that three decades of not washing my face before bed has wrought. The treatment generally goes for about $200, but on this tour, you can get it for free.

Once I’m seated, Eva, my aesthetician, explains the difference between a HydraFacial and a regular facial like this: “It’s more medical than spiritual.” That is, you’re more likely to find it in a dermatologist’s office than an Enya-playing spa. The treatment will be especially good for me, she advises, because of my hyperpigmentation.

“My what?” I ask.

“Hyperpigmentation. Dark spots that emerge as we age,” Eva says.

“Oh, you mean my freckles?” I’ve always thought they make me look young. Apparently the opposite is true.

Eva narrates the three-step process as she works, starting with cleansing, then exfoliating, then hydrating. It all feels a bit like that suction thing dental hygienists put in your mouth during a cleaning. I can’t tell when she moves to a different step — it’s one long buzzy tickle — but when I’m done, my face definitely feels more … wet. Dewy, I guess. Eva doesn’t show me what she pulled from my pores, so I don’t get the gross satisfaction of a typical facial. But my skin does look a bit brighter. Like I just washed it with something fancier than Cetaphil.

On my way from Millennium Park to meet friends at Do Division, I figure the ultimate test will be if any of them comment on my newly radiant, young-looking, wholly unhyperpigmented face. Crickets.