photo courtesy of vita khorzhevska/shutterstock
Face the future
If you want to fight ageing, and you’re feeling brave, try the latest microneedling technique. Fiona Adams did and lived to tell the tale
Bob Dylan supposedly remarked: ‘Behind every beautiful thing, there’s some kind of pain.’ I don’t suppose he was talking about modern-day beauty tortures – sorry, treatments – but he certainly had a point.
We pluck our eyebrows, wax away hair and endure peels, abrasions and lasers – all in the name of good looks. Yep, when it comes to suffering, the female lot is deadlier than the male. We have learned the hard way that beauty is pain.
And so it was with some trepidation that I made my way to Bodyvie in Richmond, one of the few clinics in Surrey to offer Intracel. Widely acknowledged as the most advanced, minimally invasive treatment on the market, this is essentially a non-surgical facelift with rapid recovery time and effects that begin immediately and last up to 18 months.
Non-surgical it may be, but it nevertheless involves a combination of microneedling with radiofrequency (heat) that punctures the skin thousands of times, thereby boosting the production of collagen, using a kind of cosmetic staple gun.
The word ‘puncture’ was warning enough that Intracel would involve some element of discomfort. But Bodyvie’s Dr Weber – a founding member of the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors – assured me that pain levels varied from person to person and that I might not feel much at all.
You’ll be glad to know that I ‘woman-ed up’ and allowed Helen, Dr Weber’s assistant, to remove all my make-up, take prisoner-style mug shots and smear my face with anaesthetic gel.
I had to wait 60 minutes for the gel to take effect, during which time Dr Weber explained the whole treatment, telling me what to expect and how to look after my new tightened, smoothed out visage.
My eyelids and lips went numb; my face tingled and grew blotchy. I began to wonder what I’d let myself in for. By then, however, it was too late to wimp out.
It took 20 minutes for Dr Weber to complete the procedure on my face – it would have taken 40, had I wanted my neck done too, but my cowardly alter ego had decided that my neck was fine. Starting around my eyes with 0.8mm needles, he continued on my forehead, before changing the depth of the needles to 1.5mm for my face and jawline. Helen was on hand to calm nerves.
Each time the needle head penetrates the skin, it makes 49 tiny micropunctures. By the end of the session there were thousands in my face. In some areas the discomfort was minimal; bonier parts did have me wincing, wishing the session to end. I could also have done with an iPod to drown out the noise of stapling. Still, it was entirely bearable and every care was given to how I was coping.
At the end, my face was red, my eyes were puffy and I had minor bruising under my chin. My skin felt warm and tight, but I was able to go out that night and, by morning, most of the redness had gone – though I did look, as my son lovingly put it, as if I hadn’t slept for a month.
I left Bodyvie armed with what Dr Weber calls the ‘bread and butter of skincare products’: vitamin C and A, plus an spf 30 moisturiser.
A week on and the bruises are gone, my skin tone has evened out and the lines around my eyes are much softer. Skin tightening should continue to improve over the next three months, so I’ll let you know how I get on.
Yes, beauty is pain, but selective short-term memory loss can be beautiful too.
Between 1 and 3 Intracel treatments (£495) are recommended;