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2022: My year in tweakments

By Alice Hart-Davis
13th January 2023

Which procedures did I try over the past year? From the regulars to the brand new offerings, here’s the rundown.

January: results of BBL/ Halo laser

It’s always a slightly anxious moment when I go to get the results of a tweakment. What if it didn’t do the trick? How will I break the news to you lot? Actually, I was pretty confident I’d see a result with this combination treatment for improving skin texture and reducing pigmentation – because I’d seen what it had done for our lovely case study in a 2021 Tweak of the Week (video here if you want to watch that one), which is why I went back to try the treatment for myself with Dr Maryam Zamani.

My skin texture rating improved from 39% (not great) to 76% (very decent)

So, I’d had this treatment in October 2021 (video of this here) with Dr Maryam and went back a few weeks later to get the results. In brief: they were good. My texture rating improved from 39% to 76%, though the best was my UV damage score, which jumped from UV damage: 48%-91%. You can find the video here on Instagram or here on the website.

My rating for UV damage improved from an ok-ish 48% to an excellent 91%

For anyone baffled by the Visia results – this system compares your images to a database of zillions of people of your age and skin type. So where I score, e.g, 35% for pores, that means my pore-score is better than 35% of others. I.e. not that great. But after treatment, I’m measuring better than 49% of others in my precise age/ skin group. How has it done this? By strengthening the collagen in my skin, which supports/ tightens the pores that little bit.

The treatment costs from £1,000, depending on the extent of the treatment, and you should allow five days for downtime afterwards, two for the redness to subside and two or three for a bit of tightness and peeling. So as tweakments go it’s a big deal – but so are the results.

February: semi-permanent eyeliner

I was invited to try semi-permanent eyeliner with Suzanne Martin at the Lanesborough Club & Spa, which involved two sessions of having inky-black ‘everlasting liner’ tattooed into my eyelash line to strengthen the contour of the eye and makes the lashes look thicker.

Suzanne Martin etches pigment along my eyelash line

Obviously, you need someone with a really steady hand – the big excitement is that Suzanne uses an anaesthetic cream on the lash line before going in with the tattooing wand (I had this done once around 15 years ago without anaesthetic which is why I haven’t had it done since, even though the results were fab). This lasts up to five years. The result is lovely though quite subtle. The treatment costs around £2,ooo.

March to May: SkinTyte + Profhilo neck rejuvenation

This tweakment involved a completely different way of using BBL, the Broadband Light from Sciton (no I didn’t just slip in a quick Brazilian Butt Lift, that’s a different sort of BBL).

Tweak of the Week: Combining BBL with Profhilo on the neck

Rather than targeting the light at pigmentation in the skin, the BBL in SkinTyte uses a different wavelength, in the infrared range, to achieve a ‘bulk heating’ of skin, so it’s more akin to a radiofrequency treatment, which heats the skin in order to damage the collagen and stimulate new collagen etc etc, for smoother, tighter skin.

Advanced aesthetic practitioner Lee Garrett (who is based at The Cosmetic Skin Clinic) has been using BBL for many years so has had plenty of time to explore its versatility and he finds SkinTyte works particularly well if you combine five sessions of BBL light treatment with two rounds of Profhilo, so that’s what we did here, over the course of a couple of months. The light sessions can be a week or two apart; the Profhilo jabs should be a month apart, then you need to allow time for your collagen to do its thing and remodel itself.

My neck before and after BBL SkinTyte + Profhilo

As often with tweakments, I wasn’t entirely sure what change I was seeing in my own mirror but the final results were good – and as Lee pointed out to me, this is a result you can feel. Once the skin is that bit stronger and springer, it doesn’t feel half so feeble when you pinch it.  This combination treatment costs £2,500.

*Video sponsored by The Cosmetic Skin Clinic

May: Skinstorm

Up to Liverpool to film this extraordinary advanced facial with Sharon Hilditch who is well known as the creator of the Crystal Clear system. SkinStorm is all about improving the skin through a multi-layered, mechanical treatment – like an advanced facial on steroids. It includes deep vortex-style cleansing, microdermabrasion, ice-needling, ice-peeling, and high-pressure infusion of skin-boosting serums.

Tweak of the Week: SkinStorm by Crystal Clear

You can see the Tweak of the Week about the treatment here which explains all the details and how the impressive technology in the treatment manages to keep the skin calm while delivering all these stimulating steps. The cost: around £200 a session, depending on location and the extent of the treatment.

* this video is sponsored by SkinStorm

April: wrinkle-relaxing injections

Every few months, I book in for wrinkle-relaxing toxin injections with Dr Sophie Shotter. Where does she inject? Everywhere, from my forehead and glabella (between the brows), around the crow’s feet, in the bunny lines at the top of the nose, my masseter (jaw-clenching) muscles, then wherever else she judges needs a spot of rebalancing in the face which usually means the stringy bits of the platysma muscle that runs down my neck, my chin, the muscle that pulls the corners of my mouth down…

Having muscle-relaxing toxin injected into my chin

There’s a video of the treatment on Instagram.

Every time I have toxin, I forget to take a video of Before to compare with After – but if you study the general videos that I put out on Instagram just before, and then a couple of weeks after the treatment, you’ll get an idea of how it softens the range of expressions in my face without wiping them out. How much toxin? About 140 units, which adds up to £1,300-worth.

June: Profhilo on my chest

I was as astonished as everyone else when John Lewis announced that for 18 months it had been trialling a partnership with The Cavendish Clinic in stores around the country, and was now officially launching tweakments and advanced facials in half a dozen of its branches. The Cavendish Clinic has a great bunch of practitioners on its roster and when they asked if I’d like a round of Profhilo with Dr Dianni at the clinic in Peter Jones, it didn’t take me long to say yes.

Immediately after Profhilo injections in my decolletage

I never managed to go back for a second round of treatment which is the recommended protocol, but frankly at my age, every little helps and the neck and chest need more help than most. Profhilo treatment, from £450 a round, at The Cavendish Clinic at Peter Jones

July: Emsculpt

This is the hugely popular muscle-toning technology that works by sending high-intensity focused electro-magnetic frequencies into your muscles to make them contract much faster and more strongly than your brain and willpower could ever manage (20,000 contractions in a half-hour session. Oof).  I’ve filmed about EmSculpt before (video from 2019/2020 here, with Dr Galyna Selezneva at the Dr Rita Rakus clinic) but I’d never got round to seeing what a course of four sessions could do for my abs until Therapie clinics invited me in to do just that, and to film a Tweak of the Week about it.

Tweak of The Week: EMSCULPT® at Thérapie Clinic

And d’you know what? It was fab and my abs have never felt stronger. I work out a fair bit anyway, but this shifted them up a few gears. There isn’t a Before-and-After pic in there partly because by the time we got to the ‘after’ pics I had lost half a stone which I’d say was from deliberately eating less/ less rubbish over the course of the summer rather than from having supercharged abs.

And this treatment was the original EmSculpt, what you might call EmSculpt 1.0; what I haven’t tried properly is BTL Aesthetics’ newest incarnation – EmSculpt Neo, which, while giving your muscles those usual supramaximal contractions, delivers a dose of radiofrequency energy into the skin to tighten it and melt underlying fat. When I say I haven’t tried it properly, I snagged a 15-minute session of it on my triceps at Miss Sherina Balaratnam’s aesthetics event at Hedsor House in June, and it certainly made them pop. One for the future.

*video sponsored by Therapie Clinic

Armpit toxin

Having injections of botulinum toxin A in your armpits is a proper medically indicated treatment if you suffer with hyperhidrosis – AKA excessive sweating. I don’t, but it’s just terrific to be not-sweating all the way through the summer, so this is something I always mean to do in the spring, then forget until the weather warms up.

It’s super quick, as you can see in the video here, and Dr Sophie Shotter answers all my questions about the treatment while she nips round my armpits with her needles (plural; the newer the needle is, the sharper it is, and the more comfortable each injection is). The injections are placed more superficially than when using toxin to reduce muscle activity. You really don’t need any numbing cream for this unless your armpits are extra-sensitive.

This isn’t a cheap fix – it takes £600-worth of toxin to quell the nerve signals that tell the sweat glands to sweat but once the tox has done its work, the effects last for eight or nine months. It’s also great for treating extra-sweaty palms and feet, though these are both really painful areas in which to have multiple injections, so need a fair bit of numbing beforehand.

August: Signature Environ facial

It’s a long time since I had a facial that involved lots of fabulous hands-on massage, so, it was a real treat to snag a session with Joanne Evans and her wonderful hands – and it reminded me of something I didn’t know I’d been missing. There’s a quick Reel about it on Instagram here.

 

This isn’t a tweakment but it’s at the gentle end of advanced facials, which is a great place to start if you’re new to the world of aesthetics and not sure where to dip a toe first. So you get cleansing, extractions, massage and a very fine mask – but using products and technology that amp it up considerably, for better results.

*part of a paid partnership with iiaa.

Optilight

I popped in to see Dr Rachna Murthy and Dr Jonathan Roos (fab oculoplastic surgeons who operate together as Face Restoration, at The Lanserhof in Dover Street) for a catch-up… but they took a quick look at me and pointed out that what really needed treating was the blepharitis (inflammation along my eyelids) and dry eye disease, and they had just the machine for that. So, a few minutes later, I found myself having a lightning-quick session of Optilight.

Dr Rachna Murthy treating my eyes with Optilight IPL

It’s an intense pulsed light (IPL) device that is FDA approved for the management of dry eye disease and it involves just a few quick flashes of light along the eyelids on each eye. You don’t need to wear intra-ocular shields (the type of metal or plastic contact lenses that need to be inserted before you have laser treatment near the eyes) and the little zaps of IPL don’t need numbing cream, so the whole thing takes less than 10 minutes.

You don’t see a result after one session and what I haven’t done is go back for the following three sessions that comprise a full treatment cycle (they cost £400 each), but it’s top of my list for 2023. There’s a brief Reel on the TTG Instagram outlining the treatment (here).

HydraFacial

I was asked by HydraFacial to create some content-with-a-difference about their wildly popular advanced facial and its ‘hydradermabrasion’ technology and the multi-step system that cleanses, extracts and hydrates the skin… so I took the Tweakments Team along so that we could all try it out en masse and compare notes (Georgia escaped, as she’d been lasered the week before).  How did we all like it? Here’s the video.

Tweak of the Week: HydraFacial

*video sponsored by HydraFacial

Fillers

A year after my last filler treatment (which was with Dr Raj Acquilla, November 2021), I booked in for fillers with Dr Sophie Shotter. If you’d like to watch the treatment, it’s on my Instagram, here. 

Dr Shotter shows me where I need treatment

And if you’ve read my recent article about having an MRI scan of my face  (done in November 2021) which showed how much filler was still in my face after a nearly four-year gap, and you’re wondering why I was having more filler,  well, my face goes on ageing and various aspects of it benefit from being propped up with a carefully considered amount of filler, from time to time.

Sofwave

This is one of the year’s hottest new tweakments and I couldn’t wait to try it out. It’s an energy-based treatment that uses a new type of ultrasound technology – but not HIFU – to lift and tighten the skin in a single session. The full Tweak of the Week video of the treatment, explained by Dr Sophie Shotter and carried out by nurse practitioner Verity Nowlan is here – and, spoiler, yes I saw positive results!

Tweak of the Week: Sofwave

 

*Video sponsored by Sofwave

December: HarmonyCa

Part II of fillers with Dr Sophie Shotter involved injections of HarmonyCa – the new hybrid injectable filler from Allergan which combines a hyaluronic acid gel (which adds immediate lift and soft volume) with calcium hydroxyapatite, and ingredient known to stimulate collagen production in the skin, which kicks in over time, giving a combined result that should last for a couple of years.

In the video with ‘normal’ HA dermal fillers (November, above), Dr Shotter shows where my face is going hollow – at the sides of the cheeks – and this is an area where HarmonyCa works particularly well. Dr Shotter has been using HarmonyCa for around 18 months, so I said ‘Yes please go right ahead,’ and am now waiting to see how the result develops. I’ll show you what happens in a few months’ time.

 

*As you can see from the asterisks above, many of these videos are sponsored. They’re all great treatments and I hope you all know me well enough by now to know that I only work with brands and clinics that I really rate, in order to show you what their treatments can do.

The Tweakments Guide Takeaway

I know that, after reading this article, you may feel that I dash about having treatments here and there, almost casually or at random. I promise you, I don't - there's a good deal of thought and planning behind (almost) everything I try. If you are considering any tweakments, I can't emphasise enough that the first step is to find a great practitioner and have a thorough consultation with them about why you are wanting to have procedures in the first place, and what they think might help you achieve your aesthetic aims. A x

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