Ask any women what her top beauty worry is and you can guarantee ageing is on the top of her list.
Like most women hitting their Thirties I would get the odd facial and splurge on a fancy cream but it was only when I became ill last year that I saw a deterioration in my skin (cue speed dialling a facialist).
As I got better I proceeded to try a variation of treatments- peels, microdermabrasion and seaweed were the cuisine of the day! Much to my annoyance I couldn't see improvement, even after purchasing all the 'luxury' creams. So I decided to scratch below the surface- literally.
I started with a Visia scan, a skin analysis program, which looks at problems under the dermis. I attended a medical consultation with Dr Rita Rakus who examined my pores, redness, texture, sun damage and wrinkles. I wanted to bury my head in my bag when it appeared that 75% of my skin was sun damaged! She recommended I try Thermage, a radio frequency laser that stimulates natural collagen on a deeper level.
A favourite with celebrities such as Demi Moore and Gwyneth Paltrow it is a more natural approach without the invasive method of fillers or Botox. But would it work on me? I eagerly agreed as I clutched my scan sheet (with a slight air of desperation). Here are my top ten specifics on how Thermage works...
1. Thermage reproduces collagen. A little like an oven, it cooks the deeper dermis of the skin to stimulate existing collagen growth (and best of all promotes more). Tired looking skin can result not just from being ill but exposure to sun, diet, stress and pollution.
2. It has a more natural look. As we get older there are a couple of options, the plumped up pillow pout or the wind tunnel face. Neither sounds completely painless and it was definitely something I wanted to avoid! Thankfully the done look is out and au natural is taking centre stage. Rather than adding anything in Thermage takes your real collagen and works with it.
3. There's no downtime. Although the procedure heated my skin up (I won't lie it feels like an elastic band twanging away and I had to keep pretending I was on a hot beach to avoid wincing) the pink shade soon disappears within around an hour. No needles or scars mean a normal beauty routine can be resumed after.
4. It's a one-treatment procedure. I was frightened incase I would need quarterly top up's but Thermage lasts up to six years depending on natural aging. Collagen production works six months after so results are spaced out- patience is definitely needed!
5. Celebrities adore it! Rita explained with new technologies women 50 plus are able to sustain good skin and is reportedly Amanda Holden's preferred doctor. Kim Cattrall, Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow have also cited the treatment in interviews as their secret to staying refreshed.
6. It can be used in other areas of the body. Cellulite can be tackled as well as any other bulges or dimples (hello bikini season).
7. Some people call Thermage 'the non-surgical facelift' yet it can also be used as a preventative measure. Some women in their thirties are starting Thermage as it keeps the collagen active for longer and works in the similar way hair follicles do- once their dead they can't be rebuilt.
8. Thermage is safe and tested. Over one million procedures have been performed since its arrival. A recent study on 570 patients showed 92% had an increase of collagen within the first six months (and all patients had an increase over time).
9. The confidence factor. My skin looked dull and after being ill, I was feeling quite the same. Skin, like hair can't be hid away when we're not feeling our best. Thankfully Thermage isn't a one size fits all- eyes, cheeks, forehead and chin can be tackled so I couldn't resist but opt for the full monty. Depending on how sensitive my skin felt the machine was gradually turned up for maximum impact.
10. Thermage is a combining treatment. By skin reproducing collagen, it is always good to support it with SPF rich creams, such as Obagi and Dr Levy as well as healthy eating and exercise. I am now particularly passionate about SPF and after two months I have seen the texture improve in my skin. I'm excited to see how the next six months pans out and as Lucille Ball says, 'the secret to staying young is to live well, eat slowly and lie about your age!'