A heated discussion broke out recently while enjoying a mid-week dinner at the West London home of a good friend.
Is it all right to book in for a few regular facial procedures in order to look fresher and younger or should we just take the decision to grow old gracefully.
I am not talking major cosmetic surgery. I am talking about the range of so-called evidence-based facials that fall under the heading of Aesthetics.
The debate raged on over the gingered rhubarb but I held my own in the face of some very eloquent arguments from two people whose intelligence I much admire – one man and one woman. They believed the investment was better placed elsewhere and that this kind of skincare was superficial.
My case is this – if you maintain every other valuable item in your life why would you not maintain your face. All these new, sophisticated procedures achieve one critical outcome. They instigate collagen production in the face which is needed for younger-looking, firmer skin. There are no incisions, no anaesthetics and very little recovery time.
Of course, there is some financial outlay – but frankly I would rather cut back somewhere else in order to make a couple of trips per year to a reputable therapist. I can’t think of one good reason why – all else being equal – you would not undertake a few treatments. The question is not why, but which one?
There are a couple of people I turn to for guidance in this matter and one of them is Dr Philip Connell at the Peach Tree Clinic in Barnes. Dr Philip is a plastic surgeon who has worked in the aesthetic sector for many years. He talks sense and achieves what we all want. A rational discussion with an outcome that does not make you look like you should be joining the cast of a chaotic TV soap.
When I spoke to him recently he recommended a treatment using the Swiss made Viscoderm Hydrobooster. This is a series of minute injections on each side of your face designed to fill lines but also to prompt collagen production. This is not a painting by numbers procedure and does require someone like Dr Philip, with an artist eye and a very steady hand, who understands the dynamics of the facial musculature.
Dr Philip told me this was more painful than Botox. He knows that despite several years as a TV correspondent in challenging conflict zones, my pain threshold is very low. I have given birth to three children, one of whom was ten pounds and in the posterior positon as I went into labour, but I find this kind of discomfort really off putting. So when I say that a trip to the dental hygienist is far worse, you can believe me that this is a very do-able treatment.
All of the above it good. But what really impressed me was that the next morning the difference was so visible I felt compelled to call the Peach Tree Clinic and tell the owner, Gill Sabine of my surprise. In all of the treatments I have tested out – this is head and shoulders above the others. There is a special post-procedural cream to apply but apart from that no down-time. I was at my first meeting of the day within an hour of leaving.
Of course, we can all agree that beauty is but skin deep. It is true that character counts for more. A sense of humour is – for me – the most attractive quality in a person – and the ability to withstand life’s misfortunes with resilience and good grace is a top priority.
But don’t we all want to look our best if it is possible? The key to this debate is to have a pragmatic outlook undiluted by irrelevant and irrational considerations. So my advice is to book in. You won’t be sorry.