The venue Kaya bills itself as a ‘clinic’, rather than a spa; the decor is functional, yet more comfortable and homely than a doctor’s surgery, with squashy leather sofas and wooden flooring in the reception area.
The promise The clinic takes a scientific-based approach, with each client receiving a consultation with the dermatologist prior to treatment. I’m here to tackle my acne: after a quick look at my skin, the awesomely named Dr Jolly prescribes an ‘aqua therapy’ exfoliation for a super-deep clean, followed by a salicylic acid peel. The latter effectively strips off the very top layer of skin and unclogs the pores, which should leave my skin smoother, softer and less prone to the oily build-up that causes pimples.
Step by step My therapist, Janice, leads me into a fairly sparse treatment room with a narrow bed, on which I lie fully clothed before my neck is swathed in towels. After cleansing my face, she wheels over a strange device that looks like a portable A/C unit, attached to a thin tube: as she switches it on, it sounds not dissimilar to a lawnmower. She then glides the freezing jet of air from the tube over my face: the sensation is strangely refreshing, if a little odd.
Once my skin is squeaky-clean, she summons Dr Jolly to oversee the peel. As she applies the salicylic solution my skin starts to tingle, and Dr Jolly fans my face to ease the prickle. Thirty seconds later, Janice wipes off the solution with an icy flannel, before applying a soothing rose-scented mask. After 15 minutes, the mask is washed off and I’m done.
The results Immediately after the treatment my skin feels unbelievably clean and smooth, if a little red. I’m advised to be careful over the next few days by wearing sunscreen and avoiding overly abrasive washing. The doctor recommends up to four treatments, spaced 15 days apart.
Pros • This seems a lot more scientific than most spa facials, producing visible, tangible results. • It’s reassuring to have a qualified dermatologist present during my treatment. • Staff are helpful and informative, explaining each step thoroughly.
Cons • It’s pricier than standard spa facials, especially for a course of multiple treatments. • Kaya is definitely results-based, rather than relaxation-based – don’t expect high-end pampering.