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My Year in Tweakments: what I tried in 2021

By Alice Hart-Davis
30th December 2021

From eye surgery to teeth-straightening, via RF microneedling, toxin and fillers… here’s a round-up of all the tweakments I’ve had over the past year, with a few words about each procedure. Only a few words, or this would have turned into a small book. All the details are on the original posts or videos, all of which are linked below. Here goes.

February: Endolift results

I tried the Endolift procedure in early November 2020, just before the second UK lockdown and in February I went to see Professor Ali Ghanem, who had done the procedure for me, for the ‘after’ photos. Here they are, taken with a 3-D Vectra imaging system.

3D images before and after Endolift treatment
3D images of Alice Hart-Davis before and three months after Endolift treatment

Endolift is a procedure where a tiny laser, set on the end of an optic fibre, is used inside the skin to heat, tighten up and re-model the collagen, in order to tighten the skin from the inside. I’m not sure I was the ideal candidate – there are some signs of improvement – below the eyes, around the sides of the mouth – but you have to look really closely to spot them.

Since then, I’ve been advised by other practitioners that Endolift works better for fat-busting around the lower face and jaw. I also see that several places that offer the treatment refer to it as a ‘no-downtime’ procedure. That wasn’t my experience of it – see the video below to see what I looked like by the end of it – lumpy and swollen, and with a support bandage around my face that I needed to wear for several days.

Is it one for you? Discuss this carefully with your practitioner before embarking on treatment. The cost is from £3, 500.

 

March: Surgical Upper Eye Lift and Ptosis (drooping) Correction

As the third UK lockdown ended, I had my eyes done by Dr Elizabeth Hawkes, an oculoplastic and ophthalmic surgeon at The Cadogan Clinic for:

  1. Ptosis correction, to fix the way my left eyelid drooped down over the iris
  2. Upper blepharoplasty, to take out excess skin in the upper eyelids
  3. Removal of the medial fat pads, which had dropped down to the inner corners of my eye.
I still haven’t edited together the video of the whole thing, but here’s a pic of my eyes before, and six weeks after surgery.

 

Why did I have this done?

That droopy eyelid had been like this for a long time and it hadn’t bothered me – until I found myself on camera the whole time, and it has become increasingly obvious, particularly on video, and when I’m tired.
Fixing this requires small stitches in the muscle that opens the eyelid. It’s a precise and delicate operation, obviously, and Dr Hawkes performs it together with the eminent eye surgeon Prof Richard Collin who pioneered the speciality. He has now retired and is handing his clientele and practice on to Dr Hawkes’ at the @cadoganclinic. As they both say, two pairs of eyes are better than one.

What’s the difference?

My left eyelid sits in a more balanced position than before and the heaviness is gone from the upper lids. When this pic was taken, there was still a bit of swelling to come down on the inner left eye, but this is pretty much the finished result. Am I pleased? Absolutely thrilled. There’s more about this on this Instagram post – and one day, I promise, I’ll do that video. What did it cost? Upper blepharoplasty, £4,000. Ptosis correction, £3,400. Combined operation, £6,550.

May: Lip Augmentation

I was on my way to film someone else having their lips injected by Dr Munir Somji with MaiLi, a new hyaluronic acid filler from Sinclair Pharma, when that unfortunate someone had to cry off following a positive Covid test. I had videographer Ricardo Marques with me and an hour booked with Dr Somji… so it took me all of about three seconds to volunteer myself as the patient instead. As you can see on the video below, it was very quick and the results are lovely. Price, from £500.

June: armpit toxins

I can’t claim that I have hyperhidrosis aka excessive sweating – a medical condition that necessitates this (proper, medical) treatment to temporarily disable the sweat glands – but it is just massively convenient not to sweat in your armpits, especially during the summer.

Click on the picture and you’ll find the video on my Instagram of this treatment with Dr Renee Hoenderkamp

Woman having armpit injected with toxin

Did it work? Yes, it’s brilliant. It’s quick, the effects kick in within a week and it lasts for around 9 months. The cost: £550.

June: Injectable Moisturiser

When I say ‘injectable moisturiser‘ I mean treatments like Profhilo, where a very fluid form of hyaluronic acid gel is injected into the skin to help it hold on to hydration from the inside (so it’s like wearing a super-effective moisturiser, long-term, underneath your skin, which will make your skin softer and smoother, as well as a bit tighter as it kickstarts the production of new collagen and elastin).

This was a new injectable moisture treatment from Merz Aesthetic, called Belotero Revive, which has glycerol added to the mix along with the hyaluronic acid. I had the treatment done by Dr Alexis Granite at Skinesis Medical who assessed my face and put a good deal of the product around my crow’s feet wrinkles and into the barcode lip lines – ie the areas that really needed it – as well as fanning it out across my cheeks.

Did I see results? Yes – more glow (from improved hydration) and a welcome softening of those fine lines, though six months on, it’s time for a top-up. The cost? From £350 per treatment.

July: Radiofrequency Microneedling

If you’ve heard of radiofrequency microneedling, it will probably be because you’ve heard about Morpheus8 – the brand of RF needling that Judy Murray tried in 2020. I’ve not tried that, though I did try Secret RF from Cutera in 2020, which does the same thing, delivering skin-shrinking radiofrequency energy deep into the skin through the tips of microneedles, which themselves cause a wound-healing, skin tightening response, but I only had one treatment, so didn’t see much in the way of results (with most brands of RF needling, you need three treatment sessions)

But in July I tried Profound RF which is a really intense version of RF needling, with Dr Sophie Shotter at Illuminate Skin Clinic in Kent. You only need one treatment (it IS intense, but perfectly tolerable with plenty of anaesthetic).

Alice Hart-Davis face profile before and after Profound RF microneedling
Alice Hart-Davis before and three months after Profound Radiofrequency microneedling treatment with Dr Sophie Shotter

Again, I haven’t found time to put the video for this procedure together to show you the detail (or the price, which is £3,500) but in brief – the recovery period is significant – swelling and possibly a bit of bruising for five days, then you need to wait three months to see the result. But goodness, look what it has done for my jawline!

September: Wrinkle-Relaxing Toxin

By September, it struck me that it was a year since I’d had any wrinkle-relaxing injections (eg toxins or one of the other brands of botulinum toxin A). So I asked Dr Sophie Shotter to give me the works, and this video shows what she did and where.

Did it do the trick? You bet. After 140-odd units of toxin (cost, nearly £1,400) all around my face and jaw, I’m looking a whole lot fresher and more relaxed, and less power in my jaw muscles means less jaw-clenching overnight, and a less stiff neck, which is brilliant. Here’s a video of what my face looked like two weeks after treatment.

October: Pigment Busting Laser and Broadband Light

When I saw the results of the treatment shown in the video here – done by Dr Maryam Zamani using Sciton’s BBL Hero broadband light and Halo fractional laser in combination, I was so impressed that I went to try it for myself in October.

Broadband light (aka BBL) is like a more effective form of Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), and great for zapping pigment marks and thread veins. Halo is a combined ablative and fractional laser (which means it can both burn away particular troublespots, and make micro-columns of damage in the skin)  that resurfaces the skin, smoothing wrinkles and acne scars and improving radiance.

The results here are outstandingly good. My results were great as well (again, sorry, I haven’t posted the video of those yet) but here’s a post about my BBL/Hero treatment. Yes, I’m shockingly red at the end, but it calmed right down within 48 hours.  The cost – from about £1,000, depending on the extent of the treatment. Factor in five days downtime, in case you end up more red/ swollen than I did.

November: Dermal Fillers

It’s been a long time since I had a faceful of dermal fillers – three and a half years, in fact, though I’ve had fat-transfer in my cheeks/ chin/ nose since then, which has helped hold up my face a good deal. I had some idea of what I thought my face needed (explained in this post) but left it to Dr Raj Acquilla to do whatever he thought best (well, you would, wouldn’t you? He’s one of the best-known and most highly rated injectors on the planet). Here are the before-and-immediately-after pics.

Woman's face before and after dermal filler treatment

Raj used 7.2ml of various Belotero fillers with about 16 injection points on each side of my face. Where did it go? In my temples, forehead, cheeks, chin, jaw, lips (yes, the MaiLi is still in there, but every practitioner wants to add their own touches, nose-to-mouth lines, edges of the philtrum…) and aren’t the results fab? Again, I haven’t put together my video for this yet but you can see what my face looks like in motion on this post here. The cost? £2,500.

If you can’t wait for my video, Raj was filming the treatment for his Summit platform (for practitioners, but anyone can subscribe) where you can see every detail of what he did and why.

Autumn 2020-Autumn 2021: Invisalign

Any of you who follow me on Instagram will have seen how I’ve been progressing with this, with Dr Uchenna Okoye. Now, after much pernickety fiddling after the main course of treatment (from both her and me, and I can say that because she’s a friend) we have the final result. These pics are grainy/ obviously not the official ones but they show how the treatment has:

Alice Hart-Davis's teeth before and after Invisalign treatment

straightened my teeth which were beginning to collapse inwards, reduced the gap at the front without eliminating it and widened the top arch so when I smile you can see four teeth in that top arch rather than three and a bit. Which is very very nice, non? I’m really thrilled I had it done. The cost: around £5,000.

October/December: the Body Ballancer

I’ve known this extraordinary compression therapy device from seeing it used in clinics and spas – and was intrigued to find that since the start of the pandemic, people have been buying them for home use (despite the price tag of £7,800 inc VAT). The Body Ballancer may look like a giant sleeping bag fashioned into a pair of giant, inflatable trousers but it is a serious piece of medical equipment with serious benefits for our lymphatic (and general) health.

Plus, having had it at home on trial for a couple of months, I can vouch that it reduces fluid retention like nothing else, vastly improves the appearance of cellulite, makes you sleep like a baby and delivers a mean sports massage, too. So I’ve added it to the shop on the website, in case any of you run a clinic or spa, or want one for yourself at home.

November/December: Profhilo Body

Big news – there’s now a body version of Profhilo, the super-popular injectable moisture treatment. Dr Preema Vig is one of the first to have it and here’s a video of her treating my arms. And before you say it, yes I think my arms are great already so was a tad outraged when she pointed out the slack skin on my inner upper arms but… her attention to detail is what keeps her patients happy and I have to say that two rounds of treatment (which costs from £850) has made a remarkable difference in tightening up the skin. I won’t be stopping the push-ups and tricep dips, but every little helps, doesn’t it?

 

And that’s it!

Some of these were sponsored videos; I hope you know me well enough to know that I do my best to report on procedures as I find them, whether or not I’m paid to try them.

Where I haven’t got round to creating proper videos, apologies, I have every hope of getting them done in the next few months.

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