Spa Junkie on… Stem Cell Collagen Activator Therapy

Lights, needles, action! The potent power of plants is put to the test in the name of plump cheeks

Only a handful of facialists are as well known as the miracle products they create. Sarah Chapman is one, and her name is fast gaining guru-status in the beauty world.

In July 2012, I wrote about her after we met in Capri – despite her clinic being on my London doorstep – where we bonded over eggs (as one does). Known for her facial “gymnastic” massage

Sarah is a champion of plant stem-cell treatments – a new area of the anti-ageing skincare market. The plant extract supposedly does wonders when applied to aging skin and on stretch marks – providing many antioxidant, healing and regenerative benefits. Over time, so goes the claim, skin cells will have more vitality, be firmer and more dense, but with fewer fine lines and wrinkles.

I have opted to try her new anti-ageing facial Stem Cell Collagen Activator Therapy, comprising three elements: Skinesis Stem Cell Collagen Activator, micro needling and Omnilux LED light therapy. The cutting-edge treatment uses a blend of four carefully cultivated botanical stem cells and eight collagen-boosting peptides.

Sarah explains a little about the treatment as I lie down on the bed and gaze up at her luminous skin. “A major contribution to skin ageing is the lack of productivity in the cells of the dermis and epidermis. The botanical stem cells that I will be using will stimulate your existing dermal cells, encouraging them to firm and plump.”

We kick off with a cleanse, and Sarah’s signature Skinesis techniques come into play. The memory of her “gymnastic” method, which I experienced in my previous session, comes rushing back as she begins a deep facial massage. Her movements are quick and practised, dancing and darting over my face. It’s vigorous (the aerobic bit) and tension easing (the deep-massage bit).

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She then moves on to exfoliate my face with a mild lactic peel. She explains: “This prepares skin by dissolving the ‘glue’ between dead cells and enabling the product to fully penetrate, which helps brighten your complexion.” The peel feels slightly prickly, but it’s also cooling, so any discomfort is calmed.

My skin is then steamed ready for a thorough extraction session. Extractions are never pleasant, but afterwards my face feels fresh and clean.

Sarah then applies an anaesthetic cream, readying my skin for the micro-needling phase of the procedure. This is left on for five minutes while she gives me a heavenly neck massage.

My skin is now ready for serious action, so Sarah begins the “active” phase of the advanced stem-cell process. She starts with the all important mixing of the Stem Cell Collagen Activator, releasing fresh stem cells into a peptide serum and shaking it vigorously. Sarah explains that this stage is crucial: “The cultivated stem cells are released from a chamber moments before application. This delivery system protects them until they are ready to be mixed and activated.” She applies the formula to my skin (paying particular attention to the wrinkle-prone areas), once again rolling her fingers in circular movements over my face, ensuring the utmost penetration of the serum.

The stem cells in this activator have been harvested from plants including sea holly, sea fennel, argan and gardenia. She explains that the Stem Cell Collagen Activator infuses the skin with the plants’ essential nutrients and antioxidants as well as providing some much-needed hydration. Together this enhances the skin’s natural protective barrier and boosts collagen production to target signs of ageing.

She points out that my skin appears to lack volume (I omit confessing to the bottle of rosé I enthusiastically consumed the night before), but says that I should see a noticeable difference in the vitality of my skin by the end of the session.

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Now for the needles… Check back on Tuesday June 4.

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