Baby Botox and other barely detectable tweakments are revolutionising the world of cosmetic procedures. Alice Hart-Davis reviews the most effective new tricks on the block.
Has she or hasn’t she? That’s what you need to start wondering when you see a friend who looks miles better than she did, say, six months ago. Not ‘has she got great genes?’ but ‘has she had a “tweakment”?’ – i.e. a subtle version of a cosmetic procedure that still delivers results.
‘They make up almost all the work I do,’ says Dr Christine Cowpland of the CMedical Aesthetic Clinic in Bristol. ‘The women I see want to look like better-rested versions of themselves, not “done”.’ So what are the best tweakments out there and what might suit you? Here’s our guide to the best…
Injecting a very runny filler into the upper layers of the skin gives the effect of placing a long-term moisturiser just beneath the surface. ‘Moisture jabs’ are brilliant for improving skin texture; they also kick-start the skin’s regeneration processes, so it will grow more of its own elastin (which keeps it springy), hyaluronic acid (which hydrates) and collagen (which keeps it firm). The most popular products are Profhilo, which takes two rounds of ten superficial injections and lasts for six months, and Juvéderm Volite, which takes one session of around 200 tiny injections and lasts for nine months.
Where to get it: Waterhouse Young, London; Riverbanks, Hertfordshire; The Light Touch Clinic, Surrey. Prices start from £900
Using a minimal dose of Botox injected into the key muscles that help you frown (or scrunch up your eyes into crow’s-feet wrinkles) will help dampen the action of those muscles and give you a more relaxed expression. Some practitioners call this ‘baby Botox’ because it uses a tiny dose, or ‘mobile Botox’ because you can still make normal expressions afterwards, just without such a range of movement. It won’t last very long, but it’s a great way to experiment to see if you like the results of the treatment.
Who to see:
Dr Rita Rakus, clinics in London, Bristol, Edinburgh & Manchester. From £275
Dr Kuldeep Minocha at Absolute Aesthetics – clinics in Guildford & London. From £235
Dr David Eccleston at Medizen Clinic, Birmingham. From £235
Dr Nestor Demosthenes in Edinburgh. From £180
Old-style chemical peels left skin red and sore for days before it cracked and flaked off, finally revealing the desired newer skin beneath. Who has the time or the stomach for that? Yet peels that encourage the polluted, over-pigmented outer cells of the skin to shed while stimulating the growth of stronger, deeper layers are a great way to brighten the complexion and ameliorate fine lines and pigmentation. These gentle peels filter into the skin and work their magic with minimal disruption on the surface. Here are some of the best…
The A-list essential
Named for the film-star glow it gives to the complexion, the Hollywood Peel uses a gentle, self-neutralising solution of phytic acid, which is painted on (it tingles, but not for long). It’s a clear liquid that sinks into the skin so you can go about your day as normal. No preparation is needed, it doesn’t leave you looking red or swollen and you’ll love the instant shrink-wrapping effect. There is some skin-shedding, but it is very gentle, and only the eagle-eyed will spot it if you keep your skin well moisturised. After a course of three or four peels, each eight days apart, you’ll be able to see and feel much fresher and firmer skin.
Who to see: Dr Christine Cowpland at CMedical Aesthetic Clinic, Bristol, £80 per peel
The easy-peasy peel
Retinol is a well-known anti-ageing ingredient and a stronger solution of it will encourage skin peeling. The Neostrata ProSystem Retinol Peel is the quickest and easiest peel I’ve tried. A clear liquid, it takes two minutes to paint it on. You leave it on for eight hours or overnight if you fancy a stronger result. There is a fair bit of peeling with this – but it is gentle, with gossamer-fine layers lifting away from your face on days three to six after the treatment.
Where to get it: Eudelo, London. £275 per treatment (four treatments recommended
The instant glow-getter
The slick performance of the PRX -T33 treatment contradicts its clunky name. The peeling
solution is painted on and massaged in for ten minutes. It does sting a bit, but the instant glow and new firmness it delivers to your skin will have you going back for more. For the best results you’ll need a course of three, each a week apart, which should last you for 18 months. You’ll be amazed by the way there’s hardly any actual peeling.
Who to see: Lee Garrett at Freedom Health, London, £850 for three treatments
In the past a full blepharoplasty or upper-eyelid lift was required to remove those saggy folds of skin that settle over the upper eyelids. But now, as with the two treatments
that we are detailing here, it can be done without a scalpel in sight. Neither procedure
is for the faint-hearted, but they can give a noticeable improvement. Here’s how they work…
Tixel is a little hand-held device that uses titanium cones, heated to 400C, to give a light, controlled burn to the skin and can even be used across the eyelids (yes, it’s uncomfortable, but you’re given plenty of anaesthetic cream beforehand). You’ll look a bit
scorched for a day or two, and your skin will feel rough as it remodels itself, but the skin shrinkage that comes within a month makes it worthwhile.
Where to get it: Belgravia Dermatology, London, £400; Phi Clinic, London, £300; Sabrina Shah-Desai at Perfect Eye, London, from £350 for lower eye-lid, £550 for peri-orbital
The lightning lifter
Plexr is a ‘plasma’ device that takes adifferent approach to non-surgical eyelifts by vaporising tiny patches of skin along folds to give an instant shrinking and lifting effect. If you’re wondering precisely what vaporising entails, it means applying tiny lightning bolts of energy to the skin, which burns away the area it lands on, sending it up in a puff of smoke. That does mean that you are left with a crust of minute burns along the upper eyelid, which will scab over and fall off over the next week. It takes more than one round of treatment to get a full result.
Who to see: Dr Frances Prenna Jones, London, £430; Dr Dev Patel at Perfect Skin Solutions, clinics in London & Portsmouth, £450
Finding a way of shrinking a double chin without resorting to surgery sounds little short of miraculous – but that’s what is now on offer from fat-freezing company CoolSculpting. This procedure is usually used to reduce fat on the stomach, hips and thighs, but its newest mini-treatment works on the neck area. The CoolMini device suctions up a chunk of fatty neck tissue then cools it as quickly as possible until it is nearly frozen and keeps it cold for half an hour. When the fat cells have been chilled to 4C, they give up the ghost and die (particularly when the crystallised, frozen fat is given a brief, painful massage once the device comes off). Of these dead cells, between 20 per cent and 40 per cent of the fat that has been chilled will be expelled through the body’s lymphatic system over the next 12 weeks. Take a scarf: the frozen lump will look unsightly until it warms up again.
Where to get it: Cosmetic Skin Clinic, London from £800. Revere Clinic, London from £700. For other clinics, see coolsculpting.com
Face Sculpting Fillers
Fillers are usually used to add volume. Injected into cheeks that have started to appear gaunt, or lips that have deflated over the years, they can fill them out again – though most people are too wary of ending up with a puffy ‘pillow face’ (or worse, a ‘trout pout’) to risk trying. But injectable fillers can also be used as a subtle way to strengthen a weak chin or sharpen a jawline.
Who to see: Dr Tapan Patel at Phi Clinic, London, from £995; Dr Tatiana Lapa, London, from £600