Spa Junkie at... 111CRYO, Harvey Nichols

Our spa columnist blasts her cellulite and wrinkles with sub-zero ammunition

111CRYO’s Whole Body Cryotherapy chamber
111CRYO’s Whole Body Cryotherapy chamber

It has been three years since last I last froze myassets, so tospeak, in the quest for anti-ageing and cellulite busting fixes. This time I don’thave to go to LA; I’m in London’s Harvey Nichols, and I'm swapping a nitrogengas chamber for cryotherapy in an electric chamber – a more targeted freezing method toincrease collagen production, supposedly resulting in firmer looking skin andcellulite reduction, and accelerate the metabolism to help weight loss.

And who am I to thank for bringing the Cryotrend to the UK sans gas? One of mytrusted anti-ageing go-tos: Dr Yannis Alexandrides of 111SKIN.

I'm standing in nothing but my underwear and a pair of North Face paddedslippers in a small chamber with a glass door that’s a bit like a showercubicle, preparing to be blasted by jets of minus 90 degree Celsius air. Asthe jet streams open, the cubicle turns cloudy and the temperature plummets. Atthe start it feels bearable, but soon I can feel the hairs on my arms andnostrils (my legs have recently been waxed) begin to harden and the chillbecomes increasingly uncomfortable. My skin begins to tighten. Beyoncé’s Formation is playing through thespeakers – I presume to distract me from my shivering state.

Three minutes seem to pass very slowly. Finallymy therapist makes hand gestures at me through the glass that the session iscoming to a close, counting down the seconds: 30, 29, 28… By the end I'mready to leap out of the cubicle.

111CRYO in Knightsbridge
111CRYO in Knightsbridge

"There's that endorphin rush!" she exclaims as I throw open the doorand dance on the spot, red-faced, teeth chattering, eyes wild. "Inextreme cold, the blood vessels constrict, but; once you’re back in roomtemperature, the blood rushes to the surface, resulting in an energisedluminosity – much like a post-gym glow," she says smiling while guiding meback to the changing room.

"The extreme cold also kick-starts the body’s homeostatic mechanisms towarm it up, which uses up calories,” she adds. “Between 500 and 800 can beburned per session, depending on the clients’ body type and metabolicrate".

Next up is a Cryo Energising Facial using a combination of cutting-edge technology and high-performanceskincare. I recline in a chair draped in fur blankets, like something outof Narnia, and we begin with a double cleanse to prepare my face for the Cryofacial machine, which looks like a vacuum cleaner. But rather than suction there’sa mild blast of ice-cold air, which is applied to different sections of my face.The pressure is moderate and the machine is almost silent; it’s a surprisingly soothingexperience.

"The minus 90 degree Celsius air stimulates cell renewal bystarting the body’s natural defence mechanisms,” she explains, "The cellsbegin to heal themselves and as a result are energised and able perform totheir highest potential – resulting in a luminous complexion."

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After 20 minutes, Cryo Energising Face Serum is applied – a potent formula of SesaflashRiboxyl and Neurobiox – to invigorate, firm and smooth skin. The machine hasopened my pores, so the serum can penetrate deeper into my skin.

After leaving the serum to soak in for a fewminutes, the therapist rounds off the session by laying 111SKIN's gel-infused BioCellulose sheet mask on my skin for ten minutes. I look like HannibalLecter, but it feels soothing.

The Bottom Line

Does the world need another Cryotherapychamber? Jennifer Aniston, Demi Moore, Jessica Alba and Daniel Craig mayswear by the treatment but I can't help thinking the world has goneslightly barking. Surely a spell on the slopes, a plunge in a cold lake oreven hovering outside the doors of Harvey Nichols for tenminutes in winter would do the trick?

111CRYO at Harvey Nichols
111CRYO at Harvey Nichols

That said, post treatment chamber, there's nodoubt my skin feels firmer and, looking in the mirror, my wrinkles look lessprominent (for the moment, anyway). As for a sculpted silhouette and fatreduction? Perhaps that will take a few more sessions…

Post facial, my face appears less puffy, my poresare much smaller and my skin has a tight, firm and more radiantappearance.

I’ve invested in the face serum and CryoEnergising Body Serum – a lightweight powerful cocktail of Pephatight andMultifruit BSC which are said to act together to strengthen collagen as well asresurface skin and sculpt the silhouette.  

Spa Junkie paid

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Cryotherapy: £95 for 3 minutesCryo Facial: £75 for 40 minutesCryo Energising Face Serum: £140

Cryo Energising Body Serum: £90

Spa Junkie, aka Inge Theron, is the founder of FaceGym. She paysfor all her own travel, accommodation and therapies.

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