Health & Grooming | Chronicles of a Spa Junkie

Spa Junkie at… Renew Medica in London

Does this facial rejuvenation treatment live up to its bold claims?

Spa Junkie at… Renew Medica in London

November 29 2011
Spa Junkie

Part: 1 | 2

The flyer breathlessly hurled countless celebrity names at me, and loudly pronounced this “The No 1 rejuvenation facial!”. From experience, brands that shout at you seldom have claims that ring true; but, forever the optimist, and forever in search of the Holy Grail, I’m en route in the rain to check this one out.

“This is not a facial as such,” says the aesthetician as we go through my introductory consultation. “The process involves the use of nanotechnology that we employ to send the active ingredients – mainly hyaluronic acid and hyperbaric oxygen – deeper into the skin. We’ll examine your face under ultra-violet light; we will see where you are the most dehydrated, then we will clean the skin, after which I will apply the serum using the oxygen infusion. One treatment will be great, but ideally you should have six, which will bring your hyaluronic skin balance back to its optimum level,” she says as she looks at my skin under the blue glow.

What is the optimum level? And how deep does this nanotechnology allow the ingredients to penetrate? I am intrigued.

“Well, I’m not sure; but in our training, they just explained deep into the deeper layers of the skin – the dermis, you know?”

For those of you who have not yet encountered the beauty industry’s active ingredient du jour, let me explain. We are born with plentiful amounts of hyaluronic acid, which is found in the deeper layer of our skin – the dermis. Through its ability to hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, it helps to keep skin hydrated, smooth and plump. I personally have seen great results by applying it topically and through injections. In fact I was terribly spoilt when Michelle Peck – Madonna’s facialist – came to my home in LA and breathed her magic hyaluronic oxygen onto my face, which left me looking flawless and dewy for days. Let’s hope the same thing happens today.

As the aesthetician cleans my face, she explains: “The rejuvenating serum which I am going to use today contains green tea to calm your skin; antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E; hyaluronic acid; and moisturising oils. I’m going to work especially around the fold of your mouth and the eye area. As I said before, if you buy a course of six, you will get the product range to go with it; and if you come in every week for the next six weeks you will see a massive difference.”

I’m beginning to feel sold to, so I divert the conversation to the products. I actually need a serum and an eye cream, I say; would you recommend these?

“Well, personally, I don’t think they are active enough to make a difference.”

My eyes are now open. What do you mean?

“Well, it’s a botanical range and as such it’s simply not strong enough.”

My head is now raised off the pillow. If this is not good, shouldn’t we try another branded facial? I don’t want to waste money on a PR gimmick.

“No, no, no, this is great, and the creams are great whilst undergoing the course of six treatments – but long term I just don’t think you will see many results.”

She’s lost me. So the facials are good, but the products don’t work without them? I’m getting a little flustered; thank goodness the oxygen she is applying through a nozzle, which is attached to a long thin pipe in turn attached to a free-standing machine, is nice and cool.

“In my opinion, botanical peptide ranges are just not as effective as they often claim. The serum infusion in conjunction works; but yes. I would not recommend you buy it without the course.”

OK. I tell her I’m grateful for her honesty, but I wish we’d had this discussion before I was already undergoing this facial.

The next 20 minutes are monotonous, as she gently blows the mix of vitamins and oxygen onto my skin. This helps penetrate the hyaluronic serum deeper into the skin. It’s a totally non-invasive experience; very subtle and gentle, almost sleep-inducing.

When we’re all finished, I jump off the bed. My skin looks a little dewy, but I decline to buy a set of six – and I am certainly not interested in the products. I tell the aesthetician I’ll see how I get on tomorrow; and if my skin feels good, I will call her back.


Overall a rather underwhelming experience, with underwhelming results. Any hydrating facial that requires a course of six to really see a difference is just not happening for me. Hydration should be achieved after one session; a course should deliver a lot more. From the moment I arrived, I felt that I was being too sold to; my aesthetician must have told me four times within the hour-long treatment about the course of six and the special offer – and she was not as educated about the nanotechnology as I would have expected, given that it’s the key USP – especially odd as she seemed expert enough to discount the products. However, I do appreciate her honesty as it’s saved me a lot of money in creams.

Spa Junkie pays for all her own travel, treatments and accommodation.