Hanna Isul facial lifts woman's stress, produces noticeable results

Week after week, since the physical-and-mental holiday smack-down, I've been telling myself to slow down long enough to get a really good facial. Doing so usually revives me, and with the stress I tend to carry around -- not a good idea for women of a certain age, particularly those who stress plenty over the aging process -- I feel good knowing that I've done something kind to my skin.

And having driven past Hanna Isul for years, admiring its sleek, contemporary exterior in the renovated 6333 shopping center in Fort Worth's Ridglea neighborhood, I was delighted to find that it offers a treatment seemingly designed just for me: a resurfacing peel aimed at "improving the appearance of sun-damaged, aging skin, enlarged pores, fine lines around the eyes, face and neck."

I've spent years throwing away money on products that promised exactly that, but maybe I just needed to give my sun-damaged, aging face, with its unsightly pores and tragic lines, over to experts. I'm not ready or willing to invest in cosmetic surgery, but Hanna Isul offers what appear to be sensible alternatives.

Founded in 1997 by Myong Chong, a South Korea native and aesthetician who overcame her own skin problems while working in the skincare industry, Hanna Isul (Hanna means "Gift of God" and Isul means "morning dew") provides a number of med-spa services using a line of products that Chong created. The products have natural ingredients and work in tandem with established therapies.

Walking into Hanna Isul made me relax, for starters. There is a clean but comfortable vibe, neither too clinical nor overly Zen. Although it is a med-spa with a roster of treatments that deal with specific skin issues, such as acne, and body applications, including wraps that purport to take away inches, it provides familiar services, too, such as Swedish and hot-stone massages, body scrubs and masks, reflexology, manicures and pedicures, waxing and lash tinting.

Magically, though, Hanna Isul made me like my face a bit more after an hour's time.

The experience: Sohui, the aesthetician, explained that the resurfacing peel is Chong's trademarked therapy using her Sovas line of products. She began with the extensive cleaning process that uses a firming cleanser full of antioxidants, multivitamins and exfoliating goodies, such as amino acids and salicylic acid, said to get rid of dead skin cells and bacteria. A foaming product, its scent hinted of citrus. This was followed by a Ph freshener that contains cucumber, aloe vera and more antioxidants.

Sohui said she emphasizes to clients the importance of applying all cleaners, toners and other skin treatments not just to the obvious areas of the face but also to the neck and décolletage. These are extensions of the face, she noted. How often have I hurried and not considered that?

The peel involved dabbing a clear, thin liquid all over my forehead, cheeks, chin and even my nose, with particular attention to areas with more lines. The liquid stung just a little but not enough to cause discomfort. She finished the process with more Sovas products, including the 30/70 Serum -- a firming formula to bring about a smoother look -- and a multivitamin anti-wrinkle cream aimed at doing more of the same.

The result: At the end of the one-hour session, during which I lay on a warm table under a smooth sheet and blanket in a cushy, terry-cloth wrap, I felt more than refreshed. Better yet, my face had a bit of a healthy glow. Two days later, as I dressed for a somewhat fancy charity event, I thought my skin actually looked dewy and -- was it my imagination? -- a smidge younger. The greatest reward of all came that night when several women asked me what I'd done to look so radiant.

I'll be back for more skin work, and perhaps even take Sohui up on the micro-dermabrasion, lifting photo therapy and the radio-frequency facelift therapy that will keep me out of the cosmetic surgeon's office.

Cost: The Sovas skin resurfacing peel is $150 for 60 minutes. A full body peel is $300, a back peel $95, a hand and arm peel $95 and a leg peel $150. The additional anti-aging therapies include the ultrasonic micro-dermabrasion, $150; lifting photo therapy, $250; and radio-frequency facelift for face and neck, $400. Sovas products, $25 and up, are sold individually.

Good to know: Some of the anti-aging therapies can be packaged together. It's a good idea to call several days in advance for an appointment.

Spa hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.

Information: Hanna Isul, 3501 Bernie Anderson Ave., Fort Worth. 817-377-4331;

June Naylor,