I’ve always been an SPF 30 kind of girl, but like many, I can’t resist acquiring a little golden glow on my face when on holiday. I’m always delighted by the way a kiss of colour disguises blemishes and an uneven skin tone, but when the tan starts to fade, there’s no ignoring the inevitable payback staring at me from the mirror: a dehydrated complexion, deepened lines and pigmentation issues. Oh, and it all seemed so worth it while I was swanning around the poolside in my Seafolly kaftan!
Looking more leathery than my latest VB tote, I need to get some serious skin rejuvenation in, so book myself in for the latest complexion booster on the market: The Harmony ClearLift Laser.With a fully packed schedule, I need a treatment that will allow me as little downtime as possible – I need to be ready to face the next meeting of the day without looking puffy-faced or as red as a tomato. And the thought of not being able to apply make-up for a dinner rendezvous is also a no-no. Medical aesthetician Kelly Sullivan at the Courthouse Clinic in Wimpole Street assures me that this new laser will fit all my requirements. As I show no adverse reaction 24 hours after a patch test, I return for the full treatment. I have a quick cleanse to remove make-up and any residue oils on my skin, and am ready to go. Kelly hands me a pair of dark glasses to protect my eyes from the glare of the laser, and I lie back expecting her to start work on my face. However, she stops and asks whether I have ever considered having the pigmentation on my chest treated. Although disappointed this problem has become noticeable enough for Kelly to mention, I’m not that surprised. I’ve been perplexed by these décolletage pigment patches – especially considering the amount of SPF lotion I go through. But Kelly informs me that sun damage isn’t the only cause of discolouration – general ageing and hormone imbalances can also produce these pesky patches. I reassess the situation at hand; if the ClearLift laser can treat pigmentation as well as giving my face a lift – let’s go for it.As Kelly moves the hand-held laser over my chest, she rests on each area for a few seconds. There’s no pain whatsoever. Kelly explains that the pixelated skin resurfacing laser is a light that penetrates deep into the skin and divides into multiple fractions. It passes through the top layer (epidermis), subsequently transforming into sound waves that heat up and stimulate collagen production by causing a controlled dermal wound. As the lower layer of skin repairs itself, the complexion should revive – lines becoming plumped and the skin tighter, giving a more lifted appearance. ClearLift can be also be used on delicate areas such as lines around the lips and eyes, she says.While Kelly works the laser slowly and carefully across my face, there are little clicking sounds – a bit like a mosquito zapper. There’s also a slight scent of something being singed. Although disconcerting, Kelly reassures me that the “smell of fireworks” is simply the laser hitting fine facial hairs, oil and make-up – nothing to worry about. The laser feels quite hot on my skin but never uncomfortably so and, apart from the smell, is in fact quite relaxing. After an hour my time is up and my skin looks ever so slightly pink – as if I’d just had a brisk walk – and it looks a little firmer around the jowls. The bottom line:
There isn’t a great transformation post-treatment, but I’m not expecting one, as Kelly recommends at least six sessions two weeks apart before the rejuvenating effects are really noticeable. Still, my face feels more taut and the sunspots have faded marginally. With the Harmony ClearLift requiring less than an hour and no downtime at all, I’m definitely booking in for a return visit to complete the course.
Spa Junkie is the founder of FaceGym. She pays for all her own travel, accommodation and therapies.