Nipping out for a spot of laser is your new age-proofing secret weapon if you want to look good but not ‘done’.
Laser rejuvenation used to mean going into hiding for weeks and saying goodbye to the top layer of your skin (the old, ablative CO2 lasers worked — very effectively, it has to be said — like paint stripper).
Now the latest lasers can achieve results faster, with minimal downtime and pinpoint precision at different depths in the skin. They are the Swiss Army knives of ageing, getting to work on pretty much any skin concern you have.
The newest BBL (BroadBand Light) Laser claims to be the most powerful form of IPL (intense pulsed light) around, delivering it at four times the speed of traditional lasers.It can zap sun damage, redness, acne scarring and improve your skin texture in just one or two sessions.
Victoria Woodhall tries Laser Lip treatment at Dr Esho Clinic in Wimbledon, London
Dr Esho performed the new BroadBand Light Laser is claimed to be the most powerful form of IPL
There are only a handful in the country at the moment — and they’re getting doctors very excited.
Lasers can lift your lashes in your lunch hour or zap your tummy fat while you snooze.I recently shed my four remaining lockdown pounds and dropped four centimetres from my midriff while dozing during a painless laser treatment at a Dr Medispa clinic in London.
If you want to look slimmer or younger without resorting to the needle, today’s lasers have plenty to offer.
‘For people averse to the idea of injecting substances into the skin, lasers offer the opportunity to reverse some of the signs of ageing in a more «natural» way,’ explains aesthetic doctor David Jack. ‘There is practically no risk of looking odd with laser treatments, unless you are unfortunate enough to get a burn, which is rare.’
Appearing odd is a particular worry when it comes to lips.No one wants to end up with a trout pout.
Enter the new laser lip lift, invented by aesthetic doctor Tijion Esho. He’s known as the ‘king of lips’ for his subtle nano-droplet method of injecting filler.
He came up with the laser lip lift as an option for people like me who want a no-needle alternative.
‘I’m always looking at how I can improve the lip augmentation technique to make it safe and get more natural results,’ he says.While he’s a master of injecting, there’s still a stigma attached to lip fillers, he says. He’s treated the faces of numerous celebrities, but none of his VIPs has talked publicly about having their lips done.
The laser lip lift has none of the negative connotations, is needle-free and promises natural results in ten minutes with no downtime or elaborate aftercare.
The laser lip lift is an option for people like Victoria Woodhall who want a no-needle alternative to lip filler
And there’s no chance of overdoing it, says Dr Esho, because any added volume will be limited to what my body will naturally produce — the laser will be stimulating my own collagen-making fibroblasts over the next six weeks or so.
Nor will it change the shape of my lips, which I’m pretty happy with anyway.My only question is, will I actually see a difference?
‘If you want to be the next Kylie Jenner [famed for her sausagey lip fillers] this treatment isn’t for you. It’s about giving natural results and rejuvenating the area, not enhancing them into a duck or trout pout,’ he reassures me.It will merely ‘improve the architecture’ of what I already have.
Dr Esho has no less than 14 lasers in his clinic, and the one being used on my lips — the Alma Laser — is his newest toy. It’s a hybrid laser that combines two forms of energy (fractional CO2 and 1,570 nm wavelengths) to deliver the holy grail of ‘maximum results, minimum downtime’.
It’s the first time a laser has been used on the lips as an anti-ageing treatment — the latest lasers are less of a blunt instrument, so are better for treating delicate areas.
Previously, the only way to tweak lips was with needles: via fillers, Botox or microneedling.Dr Esho was already using the laser to treat barcode lines around the lips. It got him thinking that maybe it would work on the lips themselves, too.
The treatment doesn’t change the shape of your lips, and Dr Esho said: ‘If you want to be the next Kylie Jenner [famed for her sausagey lip fillers] this treatment isn’t for you’
In trials, he started to see improvements, ‘not just in the surface quality of the tissue, but in the volume of the lip itself’.
Granted, some of the volume I’ll get will be temporary swelling from the procedure.‘But we found that, with cumulative sessions, people were improving their volume and they felt their lips looked fuller,’ he adds.
Ideally, I’d keep coming six times a year — this is a slow and steady way to hold back the years — but I should see an immediate improvement in some of the common signs of lip ageing: barcode lines, lip wrinkles and a damaged skin barrier that makes your lips dry and less plump.
My lips should also look smoother and my lipstick will sit better.
I sit back in the chair and am a little nervous when he tells me that the Alma is so powerful it can cut the skin. (It is used to remove growths, too.) He tested it on a wooden spatula, he says, and it burst into flames.
However, he adds, the machine is ‘idiot proof’ thanks to pre-set functions that have been researched and deemed as being safe for your skin type (including if you have darker skin or a tan).I’m still trusting him to press the right buttons though!
We put on our dark glasses as he shines the probe on my lips, first going over the surface and then around the border. It feels hot and prickly and a little uncomfortable, but it is over in five minutes.
Ideally, you should get the treatment six times a year, as a slow and steady way to hold back the years
In the mirror, I can see tiny white dots on my lips, where the fractional CO2 energy has made micro-channels.These radiate the energy to the surrounding area. (It blasts tiny ‘fractions’ of the skin, not the whole surface, hence the name.)
Interspersed between these points are dots of the 1,570 nm wavelength non-ablative energy, which bypasses the surface and works in the deeper layers where my collagen is made.
It’s a far cry from the old days of laser, when people had to be sedated or even have a general anaesthetic, Dr Esho tells me.
Next, he slathers my lips in his healing lip serum called Coat, which contains moisturising oils such as squalane.
Then he reaches for a different head on the machine called the ‘impact stampede’.This will sound like an alien in my head, he says, but not to worry, the tinny noises are just ultrasound energy pushing the serum into my lip holes.
After ten minutes, I’m all done, and I’m surprised to see an immediate natural-looking fullness.There’s no redness or angry needle wounds. I’m to avoid make-up for 24 hours and apply the serum regularly — handily it makes a good lip gloss.
I can go out the next evening with nicely plumped lips, thank you very much. If I’d had filler, I’d be walking out not just with swollen lips, but puncture marks, an ice pack every hour for the rest of the day, 48 hours of downtime (including no wine!) and a bill for up to £600.
Alison said: ‘After ten minutes, I’m all done, and I’m surprised to see an immediate natural-looking fullness.There’s no redness or angry needle wounds. I’m to avoid make-up for 24 hours and apply the serum regularly — handily it makes a good lip gloss’
At home, I can see a slight difference but my family can’t — mind you, they barely notice when I’ve had a haircut.I can feel the Braille-like dots on my lips the next day, too, but they are not visible. There’s no peeling and I still look like me — and quite frankly, filled lips on a mature face that hasn’t been plumped elsewhere would look ridiculous.
While the lip lift is quick, almost painless and controllable, it can’t address all of the signs of lip ageing.My top lip hangs lower than it did when I was 20 and you can now only see my bottom teeth.
As a cosmetic dentist once told me, a top-toothed smile was a sign of youth. Fillers could make a minor improvement, but if it bothered me that much I’d need a surgical lip lift, where an incision is made under my nose and excess skin is removed, says Dr Esho.
The laser lip lift can’t address asymmetry, either.If your lips suddenly grow wonky in middle age, Dr Esho would likely send you to the dentist to see if a tooth had shifted or your underlying bone structure had changed.
Was it worth it? Two days later, the minor swelling has subsided, my lips are smooth again and my lipstick sits well.My daughter says my top lip looks plumper and I agree. Now I have to wait to see whether the five treatments over the coming year will give me back the volume I once had, but it’s a promising start.
If you’re like me and want to rejuvenate your lips naturally without looking scary, the laser lip lift is a new and easy option that will keep you looking like you and press pause on lip ageing.
The laser lip lift costs £950 for a course of six treatments (eshoclinic.co.uk)