Two Anti-Ageing Treatments That Actually Work

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Looking to turn back time – naturally? Penny McCormick has tried and tested these two treatments – one resulting in firmer skin with more defined contours, and the other which gives the effect of a natural face lift without fillers … 

Visibly younger looking skin is achievable without injectibles or aesthetic medicine believes Agnew Gajewska, who is emphatic about the benefits of using gua sha on a regular basis and alternating the traditional Chinese exercise (and jade tool) with a results-oriented Guinot treatment in one of her bespoke facials at Essentials Beauty and Skin Care Clinic (7 Baggot Street, Dublin 4). A session with Gajewska comprises skin consultation and a physiology lesson as well as a superbly delivered facial.

Did you know there are 53 facial muscles which should be used on a regular basis? Or when skin cells lack energy they reproduce more slowly and hence the first signs of ageing (and lack of elasticity) appears. This is where Guinot’s patented techniques come into their own – the method transmitting mild galvanic currents to skin cells ensuring active ingredients and serum penetrate the dermis with high frequency to stimulate circulation and oxygenation. Salon regulars will recall the former iconic “ionisation” machines which left a slightly tinny taste in the mouth. The updated machines and method, incorporating Guinot’s Hydramerie Youth and Hydradermie Lift facials, comprise anti-ageing lympathic drainage, facial muscle stimulation, oxygenation, extraction and relaxing massage, with no after taste or tingling. Yes, it is intense but skin appears firmer and the contours more defined, especially around the eye and jawline. Gajewska says she often works with brides-to-be or women ahead of special events (and photographs) to ensure they present their best profile. She recommends an initial course of three facials (Hydradermie The Star Treatment, available in eight versions according to skin type, is €75 for 85 minutes, course of three €200) as well as further maintenance. The 45-minute, €45 Hydradermie Lift Express, is perfect for a “lunchtime lift” before an evening event. Consider Gajewska as your personal trainer – she now gives group facial yoga classes and is keen that everyone incorporates a few key stretches and exercises to ensure they are working their muscles, unclenching their jaws and as a result appear more youthful. www.essentials.ie

Michelle Casey of Aqua Beauty Salon (6, The Hill, Stillorgan, Dublin) offers a one hour Sculptural Face Lifting and Buccal Massage, (€100), which gives the effect of a natural face lift without fillers. And if a therapist is an advertisement for their approach to health and beauty, then Casey is a glowing endorsement. She looks in her late 30s but is more likely a mid-lifer, being a relative veteran on the Dublin salon scene,  in business for over 20 years.

Casey tells me what to expect before we begin, explaining the two complementary techniques used – sculptural and intra-oral parts. The first includes facial manipulation and muscle sculpting through kneading the face, neck and decolletage. If you like facial massage as much as I do, then this will feel the same though with a stronger and more targeted approach – a therapist needs to know how to work the basic facial and masticatory muscles of the face and Casey is an expert. This thorough massage improves blood circulation and lymphatic drainage, activates the metabolism and restores muscle tone and elasticity. A side effect is also eliminating spasms and blockages; the treatment is also a benefit for those with chronic fatigue syndrome. Anxiety and stress is often removed or released as the face opens and begins to “breathe”.

The intra oral technique – when the therapist’s sterile gloved fingers are inserted into the mouth and moved along the gum, lips and cheeks – is particularly beneficial for reducing wrinkles and lines and improving facial contours as well as skin texture and releasing tension associated with TMJ syndrome. It feels slightly odd and as with most things, once you’ve tried it the second time will be more relaxing.

There’s no doubt it’s an intense internal and external workout but when you’re handed a mirror at the end of the session, the results speak for themselves. Lines seem to have decreased, skin appears tightened and smoother and contours more defined. Casey suggests a regular course of these Sculptural Face Lifting and Buccal massages in tandem with a customised facial. She’s just introduced Intraceuticals to her menu of treatments, the science-based skincare range founded by Australian cosmetic physician Dr Geoffrey Heber, and recommends the products for older skin types. www.aquabeauty.ie

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