Aileen O’Reilly looks at ways to turn back the clock without going under the knife Gone are the scary old days of the full facelift complete with the omnipresent dread that telltale staple marks might ruin your freshly ironed visage.
Gone are the scary old days of the full facelift complete with the omnipresent dread that telltale staple marks might ruin your freshly ironed visage.
Such extravagances were the remit of the extremely rich and famous in Hollywood.
These days turning back the clock, while it is still expensive, has become significantly more affordable and it really is the “little things” that matter.
It’s now conservatively estimated that the full cost of surgically reversing the years (with minor surgeries including lid lifts and Botox injections) is in the region of €3,000 to €4,000 with many anti-wrinkle procedures then needing to be topped up from every six weeks to a few months.
Not surprisingly, it is estimated that by 2021 the global minimally invasive aesthetic procedures industry will be worth a cool $13.29 billion with dermal fillers, Botox treatments, skin tightening and cellulite reduction just some of the treatments promising to make us look younger during our lunch breaks.
Perhaps it’s not so surprising then to hear it is estimated that the average woman will spend close to €76,000 on her appearance in her lifetime.
So what’s the alternative?
“Most women don’t have the time or money for expensive hour-long facials or they can’t justify the expense,” says beautician Nira Makhan who works at Blow, Dublin.
There are five steps to consider if you want your skin to look its best — cleansing, toning, moisturising, exfoliation and wearing SPF, says Nira.
But if you do have 30 minutes to spare, the Seavite Express Facial at Blow costs just €25.
I tried it and emerged with glowing skin and looking a lot less frowny than when I went in and, truth be told, feeling just a little bit smug as I admired my polished skin in every available mirror.
Thanks to yoga guru Daniella Collins, anti-ageing face yoga has become hugely popular in the States and Britain.
Simona Klime, who trained under her, has now brought the rejuvenating practice to Yoga Passion Dublin.
“It’s a natural way of looking and feeling younger and healthier with an added sense of relaxation and well-being,” she says.
Simona’s Saturday class, which costs €25 (email@example.com), is a combination of facial exercises, massage, acupressure and relaxation which includes an upper and lower face workout.
The idea is that you practise the exercises every day at home.
Simona says results can be seen quickly in terms of glowing skin with significant tautening taking place between two weeks to two months.
“There are 57 muscles in the face and neck which need exercising just as your body does” she explains.
“As they become stronger through exercise they are lifted and firmed and the skin attached to the muscles is also lifted and tautened, therefore reducing lines and wrinkles.
"As the muscles are much smaller than those in the body, it takes a lot less time for them to increase in strength and tone.
“Also by regularly massaging the face using these techniques you will increase the circulation, lymph flow and remove toxins.
"This will reduce poor skin tone, puffiness and dark circles and allow the skin to look healthier and more youthful.
"The massage techniques will also increase collagen and elastin, the natural plumping agents, which will mean a firmer and healthier complexion.”
After my introduction to facial yoga with Simona my face felt massaged and admittedly tired but definitely more toned.
The secret lies in doing the exercises religiously morning and evening every day as they have a cumulative effect (and as you’re only paying for the Saturday class — the work you do the other six days is free).
Being more conscious of exercising those slack 57 muscles is no bad thing and the lifting, toning and brightening of your skin is surprisingly quick once you make a concerted effort.
You can go down the ancient and revered route of acupuncture — facial acupuncture that is — where a course of 10 to 12 treatments will leave you looking refreshed — without any scarring, bruising or necessary second mortgage to pay for it.
Cosmetic acupuncture is a non-surgical, holistic approach to what is termed ‘facial rejuvenation’.
Acupuncture, which has been around for thousands of years, is increasingly being used to treat a growing list of health problems from chronic pain to infertility.
However, apart from enhancing your overall health, it can also have dramatic effects on your physical appearance.
The Dublin Wellness Centre on South William Street offers courses in facial acupuncture which, apart from being far less expensive than surgical cosmetic procedures (€75 to €100 for first consultation and follow-up), is natural, non-invasive and safer than plastic surgery or Botox injections.
Most importantly acupuncture has no side effects, toxicity, inflammation, or recovery time.
“Everyone will see and feel an improvement after just one session,” says facial acupuncturist Amanda Nordell.
According to Amanda, this specific type of acupuncture works on improving vitality and energy and in turn, slowing down the ageing process.
It is suitable for those with deep wrinkles, fine lines, bags under the eyes, sagging, puffiness, drooping eyelids, double chin, large pores as well as dry skin or acne.”
Got a needle phobia? There’s no need to worry.
“The idea of being needled shouldn’t frighten anyone,” says Amanda. “They are only the width of a whisker and the treatments are very enjoyable and relaxing.
“With Botox treatments, women can develop alternate frown lines when certain areas of the face are frozen whereas with this treatment you can look forward to looking like a better version of yourself knowing it’s completely safe.”
I’m currently in the midst of my facial rejuvenation programme with Amanda.
For the first four weeks, I’m having what is known as a ‘stacked facial’ which is what Victoria’s Secret models have prior to their runway shows.
It’s costly at €130 but includes several different treatments — a gentle acid peel, light therapy, electro-therapy and acupuncture.
Even after the first treatment my forehead which had developed terrible frown lines over the past five years, was looking far less wrinkled.
And all without going under the knife.