RiverTribe Editor Linda Duberley investigates facial procedures designed to lift and enhance without going under the knife.

Few aestheticians know my face as well as Rachel Staggs.

I first saw her many years ago after I returned from Hong Kong where I had been based as a foreign correspondent. Needless to say, I had been less than vigilant and five years under the tropical sun had not helped matters much at all.

But Rachel, now owner of Rachel Staggs Aesthetics, was undeterred by the restoration job required, so when I recently decided to accelerate my skin care routine, due to a newly installed and well-lit mirror, I decided to head for her new premises at the Roko Gym based just by Chiswick Bridge.

My memory of Rachel as a firm, well-informed practitioner with a detailed knowledge of her clientele remained unchanged. Above all, a good aesthetician is a good listener. They don’t believe that one size fits all and do want to address specific issues very directly.

Back when I first met Rachel I was the mother of three young children and about to start work on the ITV current affairs programme, Tonight with Trevor McDonald. Sleep deprivation and physical exhaustion had all dealt my skin a blow. Today, the issues are different. My concerns are with dehydration and, of course, ageing.

Rachel carefully examined my skin and decided on a course of Dermatude – a mesotherapy – for my jaw line, a Nano technology procedure called A-lift with a final round of plasma treatment for my eyes. Everyone is different, she explained, so the combination of those procedures and the addition of others always varies.

My first session with the A-lift went very well. While it is not a relaxing facial it is not remotely uncomfortable and I found I could chat away quite easily. The time passed quickly and I was gratified to see that my skin appeared much smoother. But I am told the real results start showing after several visits when the procedure has instigated the necessary boost in collagen production.

Dermatude is a lot less comfortable but that is addressed with a very effective topical anaesthetic cream called No Pain. It does exactly what it says on the tin.

Dermatude was developed because research indicated that people were resistant to the idea of going under the knife or undergoing radical medical procedures, but did want to see more profound results than they saw with existing treatments. Microscopic needles, controlled digitally, make minute perforations in the skin which shifts up a gear to produce collagen and elastin to repair the skin. A gel supplement is used called Subjectables.

The sound and the sensation are disturbing but there is no downtime – the term for the period of purdah acknowledged by experienced recipients of this kind of treatment. It is so un-invasive that I went supermarket shopping in East Sheen without drawing any inquisitive stares. I even slapped on some foundation later that day. An evening of local networking lay ahead and I would rather boil my own head than venture out with a completely bare face.

 This treatment addresses deep wrinkles, dark circles, elasticity loss, acne scars, hyperpigmentation and enlarged pores. I can report a visible difference in my neck – which was the one area I wanted to address. Sun damage sustained after criss-crossing Asia with my TV crew had never really been addressed. Like so many women I am OK with protecting my face but a bit slip-dash with my neck. Finally, and ironically, a decade and a half later this skin looks better.

The next treatment on my agenda is Plasma Elite -another non-surgical lifting and tightening technique. The downtime here is five or six days – so be warned. Here, the laser hand-piece delivers a micro pulse of ‘plasmatic lightening’ to the skin which evaporates superficially and then causes the surrounding area to contract. In the main it targets eye bags and lids, age spots, skin tags and acne scarring. The results are said to be outstanding – so I may be prepared to lie low for a few days R&R. I’ll report back later.


Roko Health Club, Hartington Rd, Chiswick W4 3UH

rachelstaggaesthetics.co.uk   0208 747 5756