The other week I dabbled with a facial treatment at New You Medispa I've never tried before. If you read my last post, you may have noticed there was a trend in the treatments I have sort after since turning 30. Working in facial aesthetics has its pros and cons. Having a knowledge of the ageing process and the changes that occur to every level of the face at each decade and knowing the treatments that can help limit or the reduce the signs of ageing is no bad thing. Having easy access to a network of practitioners that can provide a number of those treatments is also wonderful. However, being able to detect the little signs that my face in changing with age that usually goes unnoticed until they become more significant can be torturous. It's unsurprising that according to Dr. Selina (of Dr. Selina Clinics) that BDD (body dimorphic disorder) is as high as 14% in the aesthetics practitioners community. These ageing changes bother me, for sure, as much as ripping the seam in the only pair of black denim jeans that stay wondrously black wash after wash. Annoying, but I don't spend all day thinking about it.
The sad reality is that around the age of 25 as women, our collagen production starts to decline. This decline is steady through our 30's and 40's until menopause when it dramatically reduces. Collagen affects the laxity of the skin and the ability to 'snap back' leading to increased in sagging and the formation of folds and wrinkles. Unfortunately, this decline is inevitable and although there is no way to completely halt the decline and stop ageing there are certainly ways to prevent the drop in collagen production.
There is an abundance of misinformation which regards to collagen production and the ways to fight the ageing process. One thing for sure is that collagen-containing creams are simply a waste of time. The collagen molecule is too large to be absorbed through the skin surface - therefore topicals simply sit on the skin surface. With regards to "collagen capsules" these most commonly come from animal sources like chicken bones - as collagen is a protein - like other proteins it has to be broken down to be absorbed and you'd have to pop a little of those pills for them to make a difference.
So like with anything, I like to have some good hearty clinical evidence of a treatment efficiency before I invest. It's the classic combination of being a medical professional and a cynic. I want proof. It's why I don't bother with fads like activated charcoal - but you didn't hear that from me. Some clinical trials report clinical improvement in skin tightening results to be as high as 94% 1. However, speaking with Dr. Aneesha from Skyn Doctor clinics, I was aware before embarking on treatment that results can be very dependant on the individual practitioner.
So HIFU, what exactly is it?
The principle of HIFU is the use of high-frequency ultrasound beams at specified treatment sites to induce controlled cellular damage and volume reduction without damage to the skin layer. Though cellular damage seems counterintuitive to healthy skin, the damage actually stimulates the cells to produce more collagen. More collagen means tighter, smoother firmer skin with fewer wrinkles.
The first dermatological use for HIFU was in 2008 before it gained FDA approval in 2009 for its use in brow lifting. Currently, the use for facial tightening is 'off-label' use - not unlike many things in aesthetic medicine.
That all sounds wonderful, but what I really want to know is…does it hurt?
Yes and no. As the technician passed the handpiece over my skin and fired the ultrasound beams, with each go, she asked me how the pain was. She started on low power and gradually increased the power (possibly encouraged by the words "crank it up" that left my mouth). It felt hot - not surprisingly as HIFU uses ultrasound energy to target layers of the skin, causing them to heat up rapidly. But the heat wasn't painful, the discomfort came more from the electric feeling that came from the handpiece. It felt like electric shocks were passing from it through to my jaw bone a bit like the game in the arcade you used to play that "electric shocked" you. The metal retainer on the back of my front teeth felt like it was playing a high pitched tune. I have one filling in a lower right molar, and when the handpiece passed over it, pain shot through the tooth. Afterwards, I felt a combination of throbbing and numbness that passed in less than 10 minutes - I went to work that afternoon. As per aftercare instructions, I applied make up straight after and practically forgot I'd had the treatment. Three days later however I had my usually anti-wrinkle treatment (commonly known as botox), and I couldn't believe the pain. Usually, I rank it as a 2/10, but this time was an 8/10, and it wasn't the practitioner or the product. Then 7 days after treatment, I felt bruised. Not physically bruised, but my lower face was sore to touch. It was painful using a beauty blender but not unpleasant otherwise - which I was aware was to be expected.
How long does the treatment take?
Ahead of my treatment appointment, I had attended a 15-minute consultation to allow the practitioner to assess my suitability for treatment. I was in the treatment room for an hour - the actual treatment component took around 30 minutes, but the practitioner took her time to explain the pros and cons of treatment and gain informed consent. Most courses of treatment comprise of three treatment sessions though on their advice, I've started with one with a follow-up of some radiofrequency 6 weeks after.
How about the results?
If this were in my aesthetics practice, I would class this an "unsexy" treatment. Lips, cheeks, jawline fillers; sexy treatments with immediate results. Jawline slimming toxin, profhilo; unsexy treatments - significant effects but results take several months to show. Which is understandable - I'd be placing the deposit on a machine tomorrow If it could grow me new collagen in a fortnight. But like with my other beloved facials including microdermabrasion and dermapen even If there's not an immediate 'sexy' result I feel like I'm doing some good for my skin in the long run. I took my skin for granted in my 20's, but I hope that won't be a regret of mine in my 40's.
Then a little toxin… I started with my frown at 25, I'm a naturally frowny person.
Driving - frowning
Mulling over the day - frowning
Having a great time with friends - frowning
I started to see lines there at rest so it was time to start on muscle relaxing injections.
I have regularly had upper face three areas since I was 27. Anti-wrinkle treatment can be performed every 12 weeks, but I prefer to stretch mine out to three times a year. Like the lips, I like a more natural look, so I opt for a softening with a brow lift oppose to the full frozen. Clients often tell me I don't look like I need botox (that's because I get Botox, Carol).
My favourite treatment I've had has been tear troughs; I had this treated for the first time at 27 and once more since. I love how this treatment freshened up my look and took away under eye hollowness. The day after I had the treatment I felt amazing. I swanned into work and my nurse turned to me and said: "so you didn't get that treatment last night?" I felt like I looked like I'd slept for 40 years, but it is the subtle freshening that this treatment gives you that I love. This sparked my interest in the treatment, and I went on to train the procedure myself 18 months later.
Then the rest; I've had a little filler in my nose to mouth lines, and a touch in my chin to bring it into a more feminine point. I've also had muscle relaxing injections in my master (chewing) muscles to help with my grinding (but also slim down the bulked out muscle along my jaw).
I always get asked about cheeks - I've never had my cheeks filled or treated. I've got great cheeks, I always have. I'm happy to say that, as women, we don't celebrate our great features enough. I'll talk openly about my small eyes and wonky nose, but if you ask me about my cheeks, you'll get a smug answer.
So what about skin? I have notoriously been awful with my skin, one of my best friends frog marched me into Aesop age 26 as a desperate plea for me to stop using face wipes. In February this year, my good friend Dr Rosanna Petch got me into ZO skin health. I loved the product so much I headed to London early this year to invest in training myself. Since then, my head of skincare at Paragon Aesthetics, Danielle Grimes, has drawn me up a bespoke plan including Vit C, Retinol skin brightener and growth factor serum on top on my Getting Skin Ready Fundamental 5. This approach to skincare perplexes a lot of clients (there is no moisturiser in any of the bespoke regimes - it's all about getting your skins barrier function up to being the best it can be). For a girl who dodged moisturiser for 30 years, I slid right into it.
I have been having microdermabrasion every 4-8 weeks with a trusted beauty therapist for the last two years - ever since I learnt about collagen production dropping off in your late 20's. I recently started dermapen treatment in an attempt to clean up a little pigmentation I have on my mid face. I've combined this with my microdermabrasion visits.
So what's next? This week I had a consultation for HIFU (high intensity focused ultrasound). Although the practitioner advised me I am on the younger spectrum of clients requesting this procedure, I've noticed since I hit 30 changes in my skin laxity. Though I am a lover of injectables, I am fully aware there's only so much 'lift' they can do without looking at the canvas of the face. The treatment uses ultrasound energy to the target the deep skin layers stimulating cells to produce more collagen and create a lifting and tightening effect without damaging the skin. Usually a course of treatment takes 3 visits, but for now, they've signed me up for one. After that I'm considering Profhilo. I have been performing Profhilo for almost a year now, it is a hyaluronic acid injectable but oppose to acting as a filler it stimulates collagen production addressing skin laxity; can you see a theme here with my treatment goals?
Though I haven't, and I probably won't dabble with all the procedures we offer at Paragon Aesthetics (I'll accept my wonky nose) it's good to try out different options to see what might be a worthwhile investment for what we might offer in the future in our clinics.
I can't wait to share my results…and our future investments with Paragon Aesthetics with you!
No Shame. I am starting to see a rise in campaigns and posts about no judgement. MYA one of the leading cosmetic surgery companies recently had a TV advert banned. The advert showed women talking openly about the breast augmentation they had undergone and the positive impact it had on them. The advert received 17 complaints and as a result, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) branding it “irresponsible and harmful” and banning the advert. I am in complete agreement that any product or service whether it be a material thing or procedure cannot be promoted to suggest that it can enhance your life or make you happier. However, off the back of the banned MYA campaign, there is now the no judgement campaign encouraging people to not cast judgement on those to choose to change their body or their faces.
Cosmetic procedures, whether surgical or non-surgical, are always elective by nature; therefore they are undertaken by choice. So, like with anything in life that instigates an individuals personal choice why does this then provoke people to cast judgement on it? This mostly came to light for me during Love Island last years, and the nations shock/disgust/mockery over Megan Barton-Hanson alleged £25K on surgery. Her before photos went viral, followed by a flock of memes mocking the change. But why was this such a hot topic across the nation? Yes, £25K is a lot to spend on anything however she worked for it and funded the treatments herself.
Before Love Island Megan made her money as a model, so essentially her body and her appearance were her means of earning an income. With this in mind, was she technically investing in her career when she elected to go under the knife? I think what riled the nation so much was that, personally, in my opinion, Megan looked great. She is not the typical image that springs to mind when you envision what someone who has had £25K of cosmetic procedures done looks like. Megan is undeniably gorgeous, and the work she has had is undoubtedly great. Yes, she has an ample chest, well-proportioned nose, shapely behind, full lips and well-defined cheekbones but everything looks in proportion. So why was the nation so full of judgment?
Is it really because they felt they had been deceived? That prior to news breaking and photos going viral Megan was perceived as a natural beauty, and now this revelations made her a ‘cheat’?
Body shaming is so dangerous - whether it be with regards to plastic surgery or natural imperfections. I don’t know many people who can say they a 100% happy and confident with their body so why judge others? Knowing the demographics of my followers on Instagram (apparently if you are female, aged between 25 and 34 and live in London or Newcastle you dig me), and knowing also that if you follow me you are probably interested in injectables, medical aesthetics or teeth - I know that my target audience does not truly represent a broad spectrum of society. However, when I asked my followers if they’d had any form of non-surgical aesthetic procedure, 61% said they had, and of those who hadn’t 87% said that they would consider it. When I went on ask if those who had opted to have elective treatment a shocking 70% said they felt like they had been judged for their choices.
Whilst I do have Megan’s corner agreeing that it is her body and her choices on the decisions she makes to augment it, I do disagree with her comments made trivialising procedures and likening them to ‘getting your hair done’. For whatever personal reasons an individual choosing to undergoing surgical or non-surgical cosmetic procedures has, the decision should be well considered weighing up the pros and cons with informed consent. Personally, I would like to see an end to the shame culture on elective procedures.
Your body. Your choices. No judgement, please.
Why in 2019 is Botox™ still considered a dirty word? This came to my attention last year when we worked a wedding fair promoting our facial aesthetics company. When we asked attendees if they'd had or considered having facial aesthetics treatments (i.e. Botox™ and fillers) I was alarmed about the response we got. Whereas many were excited and intrigued and wanted to learn a little more. Many were passive or even downright rude about our business.
"Fillers? Oh no we are NOT interested."
"Botox™? I do not agree with that."
"No! This kind of thing should be carried out by medical professionals only' - Couldn't agree more with you, I'm sorry my 5-year Dental degree doesn't cut it with you.
It's understandable that aesthetics treatments still carry a stigma around them, because like with anything else in life there's always a small few that ruin it for everyone else. For many, fillers can only look one way - swollen and unnatural, and botox can only mean frozen expressionless faces.
Celebrities undoubtedly have a little (a lot) of extra help which probably comes from both a surgical and non-surgical treatments. Let's face it, they look GREAT. Amanda Holden does not look like your average 48-year-old. Victoria Beckham doesn't look like your day to day 45 year old. I get asked all the time, do you think they've had a little work done? Yes! Of course, I do. Do you think she's had her lips done? Yes! Are her cheeks real? No! "But she doesn't look done?" Exactly!
Look at celebrities on television, their faces don't move like 'normal' peoples do. You can back watch Made in Chelsea and time stamp when the lead players have dabbled in a little anti-wrinkle treatment. Could the untrained eye see this? Probably not, and that's the key to great aesthetics.
I do feel it's a balance between the two, as the alternative is that if all celebrities were open about the work they'd had done, it could be considered as promoting treatment. Though the results are non-permanent and still technically classed as a beauty not a medical treatment no treatment is without risk, and you wouldn't be wrong to say it could be considered unethical for celebrities to endorse non-surgical facial aesthetic procedures. Take Kylie Jenner for example, I don't like to say she 'admitted' to having lip fillers as, again, this would suggest she was confessing to something terrible, but when she confirmed she'd had lip augmentation google search boomed. The search results for lip fillers spiked and has never dropped to lower than it did before she opened up. So is it because most celebrities would never speak of the tweekments they have had that's made Botox™ and Fillers a taboo topic? Whether it is a little bit of aesthetics treatments that can be detected or not, why is it still such a dirty word, especially amongst our parent's generation? Is it considered vain to not want to grow old gracefully? My dad made a good point that he felt his money was better invested in my education than in his face (fair point dad, well played).
Amongst our generation is it considered cheating? How many times have you heard "she's pretty, but she's had a lot done" do we use the detection or knowledge aesthetics treatment to score someones real attractiveness like we should only celebrate those who were naturally blessed with facial features which are conventionally considered to be attractive?
When I first entered into the world of aesthetics, I was quite hurt by the responses of some of my family and colleagues. Those who didn't want to share the website I'd worked tirelessly on out of fear of looking 'unprofessional' to the other colleagues they had on their social media. Those who downright told me they disagreed with the options I'd made for my career path. Perhaps it's through lack of awareness about treatments and the subtle natural results that can be created or the belittling title of 'beauty treatment' that aesthetics procedure carry that undermines the training and skill required to perform them. But by talking about the B word, I want to clear its name. Through educating and increasing understanding about aesthetics treatments and how to get into the industry I want to banish the negative associations made with procedures, because by making facial aesthetics a subject we can talk about openly - we can make it safer and a less judged for the practitioner and consumer.
This is the B word, let's talk about it.