The glittering west coast of America is home to Tinseltown – and many a pre-Oscars meltdown. Being beautiful here is big business, so it is no surprise that one is spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a skincare specialist with a critical eye and a steady hand. My cherry-picked clinic for this rejuvenating little trip is Beauty Park Medical Spa in Santa Monica, where co-founder and bombshell Nurse Jamie (Sherrill) presides over the diva demands of the Hollywood A-listers who have her on speed-dial.
Beauty Park offers a smörgasbord of advanced beauty procedures from lasers and fillers to bottom lifts – via a “tighten the tackle” treatment for gentleman. I’m here for a hard-hitting combo of skin tightening using Accent XL, Botox in the platysmal bands for a swift neck smoothing, a few Baby Drop Fillers under the eye – all rounded off with Q-Switch Laser, a no-downtime non-invasive treatment that should leave me looking as if I have had 10 hours’ sleep.
Nurse Jamie assures me I won’t feel a thing – and yes, I can go to Château Marmont for dinner and none of my friends will be any the wiser. “That’s how we work in LA – we touch up right up to the red carpet without leaving a trace,” she says. It is a symphony to my ears.
We begin with AccentXL, a non-invasive radio-frequency procedure often used for the treatment of cellulite. When applied to face, it heats the dermis to kick-start increased production of collagen to firm the skin. The smooth laser-head goes round in little circles all over my face, emitting a light heat, for about 15 minutes. It is warm, but pain-free.
In the past I have not bothered much about my neck, but I have now been made aware of platysmal bands, the muscular bands that run down from the chin, which can become over-pronounced. Nurse Jamie intimates that mine are becoming visible, which makes me look heavier around the face. I can’t believe that I haven’t spotted this stringy-neck syndrome before. Well, it was only a matter of time before I started worrying about my neck, I suppose.
Treatment for it is known as the Nefertiti Neck Lift – “after the Egyptian queen’s swan-like, elegant neck,” explains Nurse Jamie – and involves injecting Botox into the muscles to lengthen the bands. The needle makes a little prick in each of my bands, I feel nothing bar that, and it’s all done in a few minutes. She promises that my swan-like neck will emerge in a couple of days.
Next are the Baby Drop Fillers under my eyes. “I can see you have little hollows that I imagine can discolour when you are tired or travelling,” says Nurse Jamie. “I’m going to fix it with a little bit of hyaluronic acid-based filler called Juvéderm for the most natural-looking outcome. It takes double the time of a normal injection [20 minutes] but the bruise-free results are worth it.” Although I don’t have any numbing cream on, it still only feels like tiny, virtually pain-free pin pricks.
We finish with the Q-Switch Laser, a non-ablative skin-resurfacing fractional laser that is especially good at treating age and brown spots, and also redness in the skin – which, she says, I have a lot of. This laser, she explains, “delivers a controlled, pixelated wound at the optimum depth without harming the overlying epidermis.” And it has no downtime. Excellent. Each laser-energy pulse is emitted at one billionth of a second – it feels like a dozen hot pincer pricks for a moment.
The entire experience is painless and actually rather fun, like Nurse Jamie's character. “I want my clients to feel like I am the confidante to whom they can tell anything,” she says. “Being in my room is like being in Vegas – what happens here, stays here.” Amen to that.
The bottom line:
On arrival at the Beauty Park Spa, it felt like I had stumbled onto a film set with a knockout blonde as a leading lady. But she is not just a pretty face. The immediate results? A slight lift and plumpness to my face, and I’m less tired looking, with a dewy glow – and a light flush that I am told will subside in the next hour.
A few weeks on and the results are getting better and better. “Small changes make a big impact” is what she counselled, and boy, did she deliver – my dark eye bags have lightened, my skin tone is more even, my neck looks sleeker and smoother and my face seems skinnier as a result.
I am certainly going to keep up the platysmal band pinching for the foreseeable future, and to improve skin tone even more, I’ll think about taking her up on the suggestion of one to two more visits to target brown spots.
Spa Junkie pays for all her own travel, therapies and accommodation.