RiverTribe Editor, Linda Duberley, takes a trip to Rachel Staggs Aesthetics to test out the best in front-line skin care.

  OK, I freely admit that the new skin care zone is unchartered territory for me but I have been determined to get my head around the latest procedures which, while stopping short of anything too invasive, are described by the professionals as being results-driven techniques.

Don’t get me wrong. I am the first to sign up for the relaxing benefits of a frankincense facial or a really good Japanese lymphatic face massage but I have got to an age where I want to at least attempt to hold back the tide of time.

In the last edition, I described three new procedures all designed to stimulate collagen production or redistribute fat. My therapist Rachel Staggs has helpfully done a summary. See opposite page.

Although I was a little sceptical at first, I can report back people that people have been asking me where I have been on holiday, when the truth is even a short break is a long way distant. A fellow guest at the Richmond Museum Garden Party even enquired if I had been on a diet. Only one fuelled by rum and raisin ice-cream at nearby Danielli’s Gelateria, I replied. The truth is that friends and colleagues can see my face has more definition and a better tone than it has shown for several years. I am delighted.

At this point Rachel persuaded me to step up to some advanced level Plasma treatment around my eyes, the area of my face so far untreated by anything more technical than sliced cucumbers.

I was warned I needed seven days downtime to allow my face to recover. This was an important consideration because a plasma treatment uses a micro probe and the guide marks need to subside. I found a window in my diary between some media training I am regularly asked to conduct at the London Business School and the James Taylor/Paul Simon Concert at Hyde Park. I was nervous but coaching global executives needs complete focus so there was no time to racket up my anxiety on the day before. In early July, I took the plunge.

Day One. On Rachel’s advice, I take Ibuprofen capsule two hours before the treatment. Immediately before we begin, Rachel applies two different layers of anaesthetic gel and then begins the procedure which involves using a micro-probe to make small holes in the skin. The skin then tightens as it heals. This technique addresses all sorts of issues but it is most effective at dealing with lines, sagging skin and under-eye bags. Lines around my eyes are far more noticeable now that the rest of my skin has improved. It’s a bit like the Forth Road Bridge – my face may now be constantly under repair. Much to my amazement the whole thing is pain free. The only disconcerting part is the slight burning smell and the fact that I looked like a Mohican warrior with two red, oblong patches under each eye.  


Day Two. After an early night with plenty of camomile tea, I pack an overnight bag and head to my friend’s cottage on the Suffolk coast. The wi-fi is good so working is easy and I will be un-interrupted. The red patches are clearly evident. I am warned not to get the area wet and to apply absolutely nothing. Another early night. This is not just the redness of an advanced facial.

Day Three. The black dots where the micro-probe went are more evident because the redness had subsided. It is possible I look even more bizarre but I feel a lot better. I go out for a couple of long sea walks and let the sea air get to my red patches. The seagulls are over ambitious with my sandwich – but I lift my sunglasses and glare at them. Very effective.

Day Four. Most of the redness and swelling have gone down. The black dots are healing over. Rachel phones to check progress and reminds me not to get the area wet. She is obsessively diligent with her clients.

Day Five. Only slight swelling and half-healed black dots remain. I dig out a pair of rose-tinted sunglasses and head to the Hyde Park Concert. Removing them on the tube journey home provokes few glances. Fellow passengers all slightly tipsy….very advantageous.

Day Six/Seven. Now safe to re-emerge to a world of networking and meetings. I can see that the lines have gone but need any residual swelling to do the same.  All-in-all there are no problems. But be warned; you do need the downtime. There is no way you can persuade anyone the following week that you overdid the sun-bathing.

Day 21. Still slight swelling but no lines. An unqualified remarkable success.