Spa Junkie at… 111 Harley Street, London

Will the anti-ageing promises of space scientists deliver out-of-this-world results? Our covert reporter investigates

During a discussion with friends about what is the hottest rejuvenation ticket in town, the name Dr Yannis, the address 111 Harley Street and the term “super serum” cropped up. Apparently, the latter is a discovery from a space laboratory, of all places.

Further investigation revealed that the NAC Y2 formula used in various 111Skin products was developed by Dr Yannis Alexandrides – a cosmetic surgeon who has had a practice on Harley Street for more than 10 years – in collaboration with space scientists. This patent-pending anti-ageing formula promises to limit environmental damage, stimulate collagen and heal and protect skin through a combination of hydrolysed collagen, 20 vital amino acids and aminocaproic acid. So successful has the 111Skin line proved with post-surgery patients that Harrods is now stocking it exclusively. The range includes the celebrated Celestial Black Diamond Anti-Ageing Night Cream (£599 for 30ml).

Clear and Brilliant is a treatment used in conjunction with the super serum, which promises to reduce pore size and improve skin tone and texture. It is a gentle laser treatment that seems to nestle somewhere between a hydra-facial, a facial involving LEDs, a topical peel and a Fraxel laser treatment.

Four to six treatments are recommended, and I sign up for a course of four – with a week’s interval between each.

Friday

As instructed, I arrive at the clinic 30 minutes before my appointment. As Dr Yannis is in surgery, I meet with a nurse who determines my key problem areas. The skin prognosis is dehydration, enlarged pores around the cheeks and nose, fine lines around the eyes and congestion on the chin.

During the consultation the nurse gives me a brief history of the 111Skin anti-ageing line. I discover that the serum was created by two chemical engineers who worked to create supplements and creams to protect the skin of submarine crews and astronauts – in other words, skin placed under the kind of extreme pressure and exposure that causes premature ageing.

After the 10-minute consultation, I am led through to a treatment room where a thick white numbing cream is applied to my face. It’s only a few seconds before the numbness begins, and it is left to work for 20 minutes.

As the cream starts to take effect, I am introduced to my therapist. She scans my unique treatment code into the compact Clear and Brilliant machine and selects a medium-level energy setting.

She cleans my face with Lift Off 111 NAC Y2 cleanser (£35 for 130ml), places protector shields over my eyes and activates the machine with the press of a button. “I am going to create shallow, microscopic treatment zones in the superficial skin layers to encourage collagen production, cell renewal and increase cell turnover,” she explains.

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She begins to guide the Perméa handheld laser across my skin, starting with my chin, working in smooth horizontal lines at a controlled speed. As she draws the first line, my therapist asks me to rate the comfort sensation out of 10 (with 10 being the most painful). I didn’t know what to expect, and am pleasantly surprised. It feels around a three: a slight tingle, but perfectly bearable.

There is a steady beeping noise accompanied by the sound of crackling. “This is the laser searching for air pockets in the skin,” she explains. “The optical tracking system changes colour when I am either moving too quickly or too slowly.” This, she says, ensures a uniform application to all of the treated areas.

My therapist continues to move the device in horizontal lines on the left side of my face, working up from my chin to my cheeks, the side of my nose, my forehead then down to my neck. She checks my comfort level again – I feel a little more discomfort in the more sensitive areas around my hairline and ears, but otherwise the sensation is quite moderate.

After 5 to 10 minutes, she moves over to the right side of my face, using the same horizontal strokes and asking how it feels every few minutes. Luckily, the numbing cream has done a pretty effective job and any discomfort is fairly minimal.

To finish, she massages a few drops of the 111Skin Y Theorem NAC Y2 Facelift Repair Serum (£190 for 30ml) into my face. “This is the healing product developed by Dr Alexandrides together with the space scientists. Initially, he just wanted something to aid skin recovery after surgery, laser treatments and for severe burn accident patients, but it proved so popular with clients he developed it as a commercial product,” she explains. “The serum soothes the skin and speeds up the recovery process by regenerating collagen production and strengthening the epidermis.”

She warns me that my face might be a little red for up to 48 hours afterwards, but says that this is normal. When she asks me to rate the post-treatment heat sensation on my face out of three (three being severe), I say one: a mild sunburn. She also suggests that I only use mineral-based make-up, as oil-based products will only block up the pores and cause spots.

I’m handed a mirror and my face does indeed appear red, a little swollen and hot – very much like having light sunburn. I head home, clutching a small supply of NAC Y2 formula serum testers (which I am told I must apply in the morning to reduce redness) and when I shut the front door, I lie with an ice pack on my face.

Saturday

I apply the Y Theorem NAC Y2 Facelift Repair Serum the next morning followed by the Astro Aqua Physics NAC Y2 H20 Day Cream (£90 for 50ml), which contains a mineral UV filter to protect against UVA and UVB rays. The day cream also contains glutathione, a natural antioxidant that aids the skin’s rehabilitation, and hyaluronic acid, which helps attain the right balance of moisture. The combination feels soothing.

The redness is still apparent, though less visible than yesterday, and the swelling has completely reduced. But a spot of powder does the trick. My skin definitely looks smoother and less blotchy in places, but my pores are still visible around the nose and cheek area.

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Session one may have been only one small step for Spa Junkie’s enlarged pores, but she still hopes the complete course is a giant leap for her fine lines. Check back on Tuesday April 2.

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