As salons re-opened up and down the country last week, pundits predicted a gold rush for surgical and non-surgical treatments, as we brushed up our lockdown looks. While the nation queued for their first draft beer in several months, swathes of us also lined up for our trusty hair salons, while oversubscribed clinics put the needle on long-awaiting botox clients. We’ve missed the nail techs, hair stylists and waxists who keep us feeling (and looking) fit, and their return to the biz has been very much welcomed.
Like many over lockdown, I became aware of my skin and its unusually sensitive predisposition, blaming it on a lack of exercise, fresh air and my mixologist approach to a nighttime routine. (Relate? Have a read of Sunday Riley’s tips for banishing lockdown skin.) I emerged somewhere in March nervously blinking, dried up and a little more red than usual.
Then in waltzed the Profhilo treatment, a seemingly mythical “injectable moisturiser” that I first heard about through a beauty industry friend. Keen to find out more, she showed me a before-and-after image of a crusty nana’s knee that, with a prick of a needle, had been transformed into a knee belonging to a pre-teen superstar. She had my attention.
For those in the know, Profhilo has been on the wishlist of beauty aficionados for the past year. Obsessives were speaking of a semi-permanent, super-hydrating fix for those battling uneven skin tones, fine lines and ageing. I did the obligatory Google search and was impressed with the results.
According to 111 Harley St.’s website – a clinic that performs the procedure and, as it happens, is heralded for being on the bleeding edge of skin tech – Profhilo is “the latest hyaluronic acid injectable advancement for skin luminosity. The glow-inducing injectable treatment hydrates and remodels the skin to improve texture, lines and laxity, with an overall effect of plumper, smoother and firmer skin.”
For many of us, hyaluronic acid is an ingredient we can’t live without and pay through the nose for, as its moisturising benefits are unmatched. It makes sense, then, that the ingredient would be more effective when injected beneath the skin’s surface.
I was sold and quickly got in touch with the clinic. I know I’m on the more experimental side of beauty, rarely flinching when it comes to having things injected, beamed, lasered, inserted and massaged into my skin. But once you understand the science behind Profhilo, it makes the decision all the more tempting.
Working with the hyaluronic acid that human bodies naturally metabolise to promote the production of natural collagen and elastin, Profhilo gives the illusion of more youthful skin without changing your facial features. It can also be used anywhere on the body, which makes it a particularly appealing and versatile solution for people suffering from dry or ageing skin in places like the neck or arms. Before long, I gladly accepted to road test the Profhilo treatment there and then.
Karishma, a practitioner at 111 Harley St., placed five generous dabs of numbing cream onto an equal number of symmetrical points on each side of my face. The 100 per cent pure hyaluronic acid is completely “biocompatible”, so it doesn’t damage the skin’s tissue. There are few reported side effects, bar potential bruising and swelling at the injection site – but more on that later.
The process is very particular. The five-point injections on either side of my face are referred to as BAPS (bio-aesthetic points) and they feel comfortable enough. I can hear the hiss of the fluid as it enters, which is a bit strange, but nothing too concerning. Once Karishma’s gone, the injection area swells, resulting in a mosquito bite-style lump.
The BAPS are selected as optimal injection sites, and the hyaluronic acid reaches both above and below the cheek areas (Profhilo isn’t usually injected into the forehead area). The solution sits just below the skin’s layer, and it continues to disperse and spread as time goes on.
Looking in the mirror, it’s like I’ve been attacked by bee stings, but the results calm down within 15 minutes. The bumps on my chin and temples remain protruded for around 24 hours, which is a little bit odd, but I forget about it after a few hours. You’re also aware of the numbing cream’s effects wearing off.
But then, like a stroke of pure magic, I’m glowing. I visit for a second session around four weeks later (admittedly hungover) and I bruise in a way that I didn’t after the first visit. The entry-site lumps hang around for a little longer this time, too, and perhaps two days pass before my skin feels totally lump-free, but it’s only detectable to the touch and not the eyes. My boyfriend continues his life in ignorant bliss.
Karishma recommends that I visit for a third session, which will happen next week. The results last for around six months, but will differ, as every treatment does, from person to person. It’s been a huge improvement, to be honest. Now, my skin always looks hydrated and my skin tone is more even. I imagine that for my friends who smoke or sunbed, this might be a really appealing treatment.
It’s undeniable from the online pictures that the older and more “crepey” the skin, the better the results. It’s not cheap, either. Prices at 111 Harley St. start from £450 a session, but I’m not in a hurry to book any facials or buy any creams… for now. Whilst I’m not sure I’d look to maintain this level of glow-up, it’s something I’d definitely consider revisiting a few years down the line, and I’ve been encouraging older friends to give it a whirl if they have skin hang-ups.
Injectable beauty is one of the most exciting areas of progress in the industry today and I’m pleased to see an alternative to filler, which can be unpredictable and sometimes devastating. So, here’s to debuting my “juicy complexion” (Karishma’s words, not mine) in the pub garden next week.
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