Hollywood comes to the West Country
Have you heard about Fire & Ice? No, it’s not a Torvill & Dean Christmas special but a super fast and super effective facial treatment beloved by Gwyneth Paltrow, Halle Berry and a whole red carpet full of other Hollywood A-listers.
And I did have it too, just the other week at S-Thetics, a renowned Beconsfield aesthetic clinic that’s recently launched a branch in leafy Queen’s Square in Bristol (that’s the one with lots of Georgian houses a stone throw away from the cool harbourside area with all its galleries and cafes). It’s in an elegant building, with high ceilings, gleaming polished parquet flooring, shuttered sash windows – the place is rather swish.
The woman behind S-Thetics is Miss Sherina Balaratnam, a former NHS surgeon with seven years’ experience in reconstructive burn surgery and skin cancer reconstruction, who’s spent the last eight specialising in skin health and the latest non-invasive medical aesthetics treatments.
First I had a consultation with Sherina (who’s lovely), to discuss any particular skin concerns, before she handed me over to medical aesthetician Lisa (fresh in from a New York aesthetic clinic) for the most high-tech skin analysis ever: a state-of-the-art 3D skin imaging system called Visia. All I had to do was put my chin on the little rest while a camera took a couple of photos of each side of my face, imaging not just the surface of the skin but the layers below.
The data was fed into a computer and within a few seconds, lots of different images of my face popped up onto the monitor. Each one focuses on a different aspect of your skin, some of which can’t be seen by the naked eye, like the amount of sun damage, pigmentation, your skin’s texture and the depth of your wrinkles (eek).
The computer compared each aspect of my skin with the skin of over a hundred thousand women of the same age. Apparently I’m doing quite well on the wrinkle front (they’re the bright green lines you can see on the Muddy visage on the screen below). The computer says that over 80 per cent of women my age have more wrinkles than me *gloat*. It gave me some less delightful news about my skin’s bacteria levels. Let’s just say that my minimal ‘Enry Cooper splash it all over with cold water cleansing routine isn’t really working.
All of this info goes to create an in-depth complexion profile which helps the therapist know how to treat you and provides a baseline to compare your skin before and after treatments. Which leads neatly onto the Fire & Ice itself, a two-stage facial consisting of an intense resurfacing (exfoliation) masque followed by a rejuvenating masque, using luxury, clinically proven iS Clinical products. It’s a treatment which lies in the sweet spot between a spa facial and one of those peels where you can’t leave the house for days afterwards.
After cleansing, Lisa puts on the ‘fire’ * girds loins *. This is made up of glycolic acid, citric acid, lactic acid, malic acid, retinol, vitamin B3, retinol and potent antioxidants, including green tea extracts. It can’t stay on longer than five minutes but my face felt fine, a bit tingly and warm, although it hotted up as Lisa whisked the masque off and neutralised my skin before putting on the ‘ice’. This is a blend of hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, Japanese green tea extracts, liquorice extracts, rosemary extracts and grape seed extracts which sounds almost good enough to eat (but please don’t). Any tingling and heat quickly faded away and it smelled good. Afterwards Lisa cleansed my skin, put on some serum and some sunscreen. The whole thing takes about half an hour, so no wonder some people call it the lunchtime facial.
OK, what about the results? Here’s are a couple of before and (a few minutes) after the treatment pix. My skin felt smoother and softer, and apart from the fact that I still need some urgent work to provide me with some lips, I was really impressed with the result – look, it’s even cracked a smile. And I got a compliment from my highly critical almost-a-teenage daughter (don’t ask, it’s just a stage).
I left clutching some iS Clinical cleanser, serum and sunscreen, promising to use all three every day and to go back in six weeks’ time to see the result. So watch this space.
You can book in for a complimentary 15-minute Visia consultation with medical aesthetician Lisa followed by the Fire & Ice facial treatment (£125). If you’d like a medical aesethetic consultation with Miss Sherina Balaratnam to discuss your skin concerns, which includes a 15-minute Visia session and 30 minutes’ facial assessment and treatment planning, a fully-refundable £75 deposit will secure your appointment.
S-Thetics, 58 Queen’s Square, Bristol, BS1 4LF. Tel. 0117 910 2409. sthetics.co.uk