When I look in the mirror something blotchy, baggy and bleary gazes back in a rather unpleasant fashion. So it’s small wonder that electro-mesotherapy sounded so appealing. The claims for this face and body treatment make it sound like the Holy Grail of skincare: ‘anti-ageing, wrinkle reduction, collagen regeneration, skin rehydration, skin firming and toning, body sculpting and cellulite reduction.’ It also promises to get rid of dark circles and bags under the eyes. Oh, and to reduce stretch marks. Maybe it might like to sort out the recession and global warming while it’s at it.
Standard mesotherapy has been around for years – it involves injecting substances (generally skin-plumping and moisturising hyaluronic acid) into the skin. It feels pretty uncomfortable and side effects (swelling, redness, itching, bruising) aren’t uncommon. However the new mesotherapy is altogether more sophisticated. Needles are distinctly passé and electroporation is the new buzz-word. An electrical field is applied to the surface of the skin which increases permeability of the cell plasma membrane. This allows a serum painted onto the skin to be shunted into the epidermis without any need to puncture the skin. Active ingredients include a brew of peptides, fruit and vegetable extracts and the old favourite hyaluronic acid. Quite how anything that only reaches the epidermis (rather than the vital dermal layer) could really do the business puzzled me. But, with no needles and no downtime afterwards, I figured I had nothing to lose but my wrinkles (dark circles, bags etc etc).
Harvey Nichols felt like a ghost store; the fashion floors virtually empty, the festive season frocks hanging forlorn on their plump hangers. Its medi-spa however quietly hummed – even in tough economic times some things can’t be given up, and Botox is clearly one of them.
Amreet Sehra, the spa’s assistant manager and ‘medical aesthetician’ likes to use electro-mesotherapy as part of a ‘bespoke’ facial. ‘Mesotherapy is a great treatment but it can’t do everything,’ she points out. ‘So I like to combine it with other techniques.’ Funny, the literature promised the world and then a bit.
She analysed my skin with a scary 3-D and ultraviolet camera, showing up every last blemish before cleansing, peeling and lymphatically draining my face (the latter with a machine that panted like a small asthmatic train). Then the mesotherapy started. It felt rather like being caught in the corner at a party and nuzzled all over the face and neck by a man with serious stubble. Not painful but hardly an experience you’d want to linger over. But this isn’t billed as a feelgood treatment – and if the results are great, who cares if it isn’t heaven on a couch? At least you’re not having needles sunk in all over your face.
At the end of my treatment, I certainly felt relaxed (a superb head, neck and shoulder massage completed the session) but did I look rejuvenated? Amreet declared that my eyes looked ‘less tired’ and that I had ‘less wrinkles and fine lines.’ My jaw-line was also firmer, she attested. To see the best results, however, she reckoned I would need a course of six sessions.
I asked a brutally honest friend for a second opinion ‘You look sort of pink and windswept,’ she said with a frown. ‘Actually (and don’t take this the wrong way), but isn’t it about time you had a facial?’
Not quite the Holy Grail then.
Viora Infusion Electro-Mesotherapy available at Beyond MediSpa, Harvey Nichols, London; 020 7201 8595; http://beyondmedispa.com
Cost £100 (or £200 as part of the bespoke facial).
For nationwide availability call 0207 491 0150.
Electro-mesotherapy should not be used on anyone with a heart condition, who has a pacemaker or any metal pins or plates.
btw, let’s be very clear here – the woman in the picture is NOT me!