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Is the low-key laser the future for anti-ageing?

I am lying down with plastic caps on my eyes to protect them from a searing light. There’s a burning sensation in my forehead and I can smell singed hair. I reassure myself that my enthusiastic therapist, Gabriella, works with this facial laser several times a day, and that women (and men) are queueing up for her services. So I lie there submissively as she works tiny, burny, but bearable circle movements over my face.

The treatment I am having is Laser Genesis, a powerful but gentle laser that promises to reduce fine lines and instantly spark up my complexion. It’s the go-to treatment offered by top New York and Hollywood clinics because the results are instant and it doesn’t leave you with an angry red, blotchy face afterwards. It works by applying tiny yet intense bursts of heat to the deep layer of skin where the regenerating cells live. The heat causes them to fire up and release collagen and elastin — the stuff we need for youthful-looking skin. “This treatment helps to shrink pore size and reduces fine lines by plumping up the skin,” Gabriella explains. “All the cosmetic doctors in America I know do laser on themselves every week, and their skin is like silk.” Skin like silk. Now that is what I am after. Since I’ve hit my mid-forties my skin has become depressingly sallow and saggy at the edges. Until recently I rarely bothered with make-up, preferring to look wonderfully low-maintenance and natural. Now when I don’t put on make-up I just look knackered. So, for the first time in my life, I had been feeling tempted to invest in a little “intervention” — but what? Botox is the obvious choice, and I have friends who have been dabbling for years. Yet, no matter what they say about “good Botox” being impossible to notice, can’t you always spot that slight waxy look to the forehead?

After Gabriella has carefully worked the laser over my face I am to lie under more bright lights. This time Dermalux, the brand name for LED phototherapy, which is a system of lights — red, blue and yellow — that, Gabriella tells me, are clinically proven to have skin-rejuvenating properties. Who knew? It feels like lying on a beach in bright sunshine. Ten minutes later we are finished, and I rush to the bathroom mirror. Well, I don’t look 30 again, but yes, my skin certainly does look a little
plumped, and my complexion is noticeably perkier.

I look as if I have had a month of early nights and have been drinking several litres of water a day. Over the next few days I get several unprompted comments that I look “rested”. And I realise that, at my age, that is exactly what I am aiming for. I don’t want a face smoothed and frozen by Botox. I want to carry on looking natural and low-maintenance (just with a bit of extra help). Express Laser Genesis, £95, plus £25 for Dermalux LED

By Bridget Harrison

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