The More Unusual Side of Beauty
In today’s image obsessed society we are all familiar with the array of non-surgical aesthetic procedures available to us on the high street. Botox, fillers and chemical peels are all common place in salons today and many of us dabble on a regular basis. They are quick fixes, relatively pain free and most importantly, affordable. I mean - banish wrinkles in your lunch break – what could be better than that?
But what about the more unusual health and beauty treatments?
What is it? Despite its gruesome sounding title the Vampire Facial has recently established itself as a firm favourite amongst those who can afford the hefty price tag. A-list celebs, super models and more
recently TOWIE’s golden girl Fearne McCann are amongst those who have all tried this unusual procedure which uses platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP) injecting a client’s own blood back into the face to help renew and rejuvenate the skin.
How does it work? PRP is a regenerative aesthetic treatment that naturally encourages the skin to build more collagen and elastin thereby increasing the rate at which the skin renews and rejuvenates itself. Blood is taken from the arm and spun to separate the plasma (the fluid part) from the red and white blood cells. The concentrated plasma, which is rich in platelets (the part of the blood with growth factors) is then injected back into the face using tiny acupuncture type needles to improve the texture and colour of the skin, correct pigmentation issues and boost the production of collagen in a bid to help erase lines and wrinkles and delay the ageing process.
Our verdict: At £750 the vampire facial is not for the faint hearted! Money aside, if you have a fear of needles or blood or both then this probably isn’t for you!
What is it? Cryotherapy involves exposing the skin to sub-zero temperatures in a specially designed chamber where temperatures can drop to below 80°C. It is thought that exposure to extreme cold triggers a multitude of health and beauty benefits. The treatment is said to have significant anti-ageing effects and is also being actively used in the treatment of skin conditions (such as eczema and psoriasis) weight management and pain relief.
How does it work? Clients are exposed to the sub-zero temperatures for a recommended 3 minutes per session to gain the ‘full experience’. The intense cold causes the blood vessels to constrict and collagen production is boosted. Clients are said to experience a rosy afterglow leaving skin firmer and brighter with a more youthful appearance and visibly smaller pores. Some clients even report overwhelming feelings of euphoria and clarity post treatment. Cryotherapy has also become extremely popular amongst athletes thanks to its reparative abilities as it is thought to reduce inflammatory responses and aid muscle repair.
Our verdict: Brrrrrrrrr. But if you want to try it for yourself cryotherapy is available at Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge priced at approx £95 per session.
Gold Leaf Facial
What is it? The gold leaf facial is one of the latest beauty fads of the super-rich and with Britain’s wealthiest currently spending up to £29,000 a year on decadent beauty treatments it features amongst some of the most popular with ladies of a certain age. Treatments utilising gold and other precious metals are said to result in firmer, brighter more supple skin leaving clients looking younger and banishing their wrinkles.
How does it work? The use of gold leaf dates back to Egyptian times when Cleopatra is said to have slept in a gold mask every night in the pursuit of eternal beauty. Today, layers of the highest quality gold leaf are laid onto the face and then massaged into the skin to add shine and gently moisturise whilst reducing the appearance of wrinkles leaving the skin radiant and rejuvenated.
Our verdict: With a facial costing approximately £180 and some related products up to £1000 a pot it is easy to see why this is strictly for the super-rich. However, many experts have rubbished the technique claiming that gold and other precious metals are actually unable to penetrate the skin and finding no evidence of any improvement.
What are they? Possibly one of the wackiest trends sweeping today’s world of celebrity sees well healed WAGs having their placentas turned into pills in a bid to ward off post-partum depression and accelerate post-natal healing. The idea of eating the ‘after birth’ is nothing new, however new mums are now turning to placenta encapsulation services which dehydrate and grind up the placenta turning it into capsules.
How do they work? During pregnancy the placenta is the membrane that links you to your growing fetus delivering a continuous supply of oxygen, nutrients and vitamins to your baby. As such the placenta is rich in vitamins E (helps heal damaged skin) and B6 (aids production of antibodies) as well as holding valuable stores of iron and oxytocin, thought to facilitate breast feeding and bonding.
After the birth, the placenta is freeze dried, ground up and made into pills or capsules to be taken orally. Advocates of the trend include Coleen Rooney, Cheshire Housewife Tanya Bardsley and more recently Rebekah Vardy who have all popped these pills for a nutrient hit that they believe will increase energy levels, facilitate breastfeeding and help avoid post-natal depression.
Our verdict: Steer clear! At a cost of around £200 the procedure is not exactly cheap and there is limited scientific evidence to support its claims.
Chopstick or Penyepit Facial
What is it? The South-East Asian Chopstick Facial is reputed to help decongest the skin, tighten the facial muscles, aid lymphatic drainage and improve circulation. This Malay-inspired facial combines cleansing and toning with the application of chopsticks..yes chopsticks.. and lashings of its signature coconut balm.
How does it work? Chopsticks are skilfully rolled over the face while coconut and hibiscus oil nourish the skin. The therapist uses the chopsticks (or penyepit, the Malaysian word for chopsticks) to massage the skin following the linear structure of the facial muscles. Pressure is concentrated on areas around the eye sockets, across the forehead and along the cheekbones. Next, a light mangosteen mask is applied (an Asian fruit renowned for its rejuvenating, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties) together with a relaxing scalp massage which uses pressure points and deep rotations to ease tensions.
Our verdict: At approximately £150 per treatment this facial is not cheap and probably not necessary! So we suggest putting your chopsticks (and your money) to a more traditional use. Fried rice anyone?