So I told you last time that I’ve made a serious commitment to take better care of my skin, and after the incredible interest and feedback I got here and on my Facebook page after chatting about this, I’ve decided to keep a bit of a post 40 beauty diary. Last week saw me at One Stop Doctors in Hemel Hempstead again for the next step on my journey: microdermabrasion and a light skin peel as recommended by Cally. Here’s how I got on. As this is a bit long-winded, I’ve divided it into the different sections so you can skip down to the one that interests you!
Medical microdermabrasion with Epionce Lite Refresh Peel (to give it its full title)
Sadly, lovely Cally had hurt her ankle, so I saw another aesthetic practitioner, Abigail, who immediately put me at ease and was really chatty and friendly (I’m always aware that these are medical treatments, so I tend to feel a bit nervous initially). As it happened, my microdermabrasion treatment felt more like a pampering facial than any kind of medical procedure. I lost count of all the different steps, but we started with a cleanse and exfoliation, then there was something slightly tingly which I’m presuming was the Epionce peel, then the actual microdermabrasion (not uncomfortable at all, just slightly gritty feeling). If you’re not aware, microdermabrasion is a non-invasive procedure where lots of tiny microcrystals are ‘fired’ at your face in a controlled stream through a nozzle. It’s a great treatment to rejuvenate the skin, reduce scarring and blemishes and really brightening the complexion.
The bit I was nervous about was the peel, which sounds, well, like peeling your face, doesn’t it? I can honestly say I’m not even sure at which point the peel took place, which has got to be a good thing. The Epionce Lite Refresh Peel is a good introduction to peels as it’s gentle and hydrating. Combined with the microdermabrasion, the whole effect should be brightening, smoothing and generally leading to more youthful looking skin.
After my treatment I had a session of Dermalux Light Therapy, which is a kind of semi-circular lightbox that is lowered over your face and emits a lovely, warm orange light. I think I had about 20 minutes of treatment but I’m pretty sure I actually nodded off as it’s so relaxing, plus I was a bit jet lagged! It’s apparently great for revitalising skin using ‘controlled levels of specific wavelengths of near-infrared, blue and red light, clinically proven to be beneficial in rejuvenating skin and resolving problem skin conditions’ (no, me neither – it felt lovely though).
Everyday SPF – summer and winter
After a final application of SPF I was ready to go. The SPF really is key – Callie recommends wearing a great quality SPF every single day. I wear Ultrasun Face Anti-ageing sun protection all year round and Callie was impressed with my choice. Ultrasun’s face formulas have high UVA & UVB filters, and have added Ectoin, a powerful anti ageing ingredient usually only found in very selected high end skincare like La Mer and Shiseido (in fact, it’s the only suncream cleared to add it – it’s a marine enzyme so its use is controlled to protect it). Not only is it a really powerful moisturiser, but the formula isn’t greasy, making it a great base for makeup too. I swear by it.
An aesthetics consultation – is Botox for me?
Next, then, it was on to my aesthetics consultation with Dr Heidi Miller, who has been specialising in aesthetics for around 10 years (but says she still does about 20% GP work). What I loved about talking to Dr Miller (apart from the fact that we had such fun when she was drawing on my face) was that her view on facial treatments like Botox and fillers is realistic. She doesn’t think that it should all be about completely smoothing all the character from our faces, but more about freshening and softening, so that you look great, but people can’t work out why. Colour me interested. I also loved the fact that she really listened about my concerns – even (to me) silly ones like feeling that my neck isn’t as taut as it once was.
Dr Miller also went through the potential drawbacks of having Botox injected into your face: we chatted about everything from drooping brows (a rare occurrence, but it does happen), headaches, bruising and other possible complications. She answered all my questions, however trivial: how long it lasts (interestingly, it lasts longer each time you have it done – she aims for about 6 months), what after care I need, and more. I felt completely reassured.
To the couch, then, where the fun began. Dr Miller asked me to make various faces, scrunching up my forehead, squinting, smiling, etc, and started making marks on me with a soft white pencil. I don’t really have a problem with my forehead, but I do feel that my eyebrows seem to have dropped slightly, making me look tired and a bit frowny (I’ve noticed that I tend to automatically raise them up in photos). It turns out that there’s a solution to that: with clever botox in the centre of the forehead just above the bridge of your nose, Dr Miller explained that it’s possible to get a slight softening, which in turn will lift the eyebrows a little, opening up my face. She also recommended that we should go for about 50% of the smile lines around my face, leaving the rest so that the end result is natural. She even thinks we can have a go at smoothing out my neck.
A week after my treatment, my skin still feels soft and glowy. You have to really take care of it for a couple of days post-treatment: no make-up, no hot water, very gentle cleansing and no sun exposure, but honestly, my skin felt so good this wasn’t really a hardship. I definitely feel that the fine lines around my eyes have softened and overall I look less tired.
Now it’s up to me to decide whether I want to continue this journey and try some Botox, or other aesthetic treatments, for myself. I’m pretty sure I already know what the answer is, too.
Thanks, as always to One Stop Doctors (I had a £100 voucher, so the microdermabrasion with Epionce Lite peel actually only cost me £30), and Dr Miller gave her time for free.