July 21 2010
Lucia van der Post
The pleasure of summer was ever a double-edged sword. With the bliss of being warm and the deep, deep pleasure of slipping into pools and seas that refresh rather than chill to the marrow comes the knowledge that some parts of one’s body are in less than perfect shape.
We all know how to tone legs – exercise, massage – but it’s what the French charmingly refer to as the décolletage that most women despair of as they get older. As it shows lines and loses its even tone, creams and lotions will keep it moisturised, while those with anti-ageing properties will help to stave off the inevitable. However, once wrinkles set in, there seems to be little that can be done.
But there is. Botox, that much maligned and much abused substance, combined with laser treatments, can work wonders. Dr Jules Nabet, a French cosmetic doctor, and Joanne Evans, an aesthetician, who together run a clinic at the Medical Rooms at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, have developed what they call Decol-therapy, which performs what seem like minor miracles. I’ve known women weep with gratitude after they’ve been treated.
For some time they’ve been using lasers to deal with removal of brown or red spots, pigmentation and broken veins, and to plump up the skin and deal with the creases. But this year the lasers are more sophisticated. They use the Apogee Elite, a machine equipped with two lasers. The Alexandrite laser deals with age spots, freckles and sun spots and is particularly effective with large spots. It’s also very flexible and allows the aesthetician to target the pigmentation very accurately. Then there’s the Nd:YAG laser for broken veins and capillaries, and also for collagen stimulation. As well as lasers, they use IPL (intense pulsed light), which encourages collagen production and so firms the skin as well as evening out texture and pigmentation. Not all the lasers will necessarily be used in the treatment; it will depend on the skin, and on which lasers will give the best results.
Then comes the Botox, which does for the chest exactly what it does for the face (though with less risk of embarrassing overkill), which is to do away with lines and wrinkles. The effect lasts for up to seven months (which should see one through the summer), but it’s important to remember that there is some slight reddening which takes about a fortnight to clear up, so treatment should be organised at least two weeks before leaving for the pool or plage. The treatment costs £400 and takes between 30 minutes and one hour.