The spa: Simply Skin in Satwa’s Al Ghazal Mall is small but scrupulously clean and clinical. Beauty buffs who really know about skincare often come here for facials.
The promise: An extreme facial consists of photo rejuvenation laser treatment, a bi-polar radio frequency and an infrared light (called ReFirme) to zap fine lines, undo sun damage and close cavernous pores.
I admit I’m sceptical: with only a cursory relationship (at best) with moisturisers and sun block, I’ve long since surrendered myself to the fact that liver spots and lines will be my friends for life.
Step by step: During my consultation, Bozena, a cosmetologist from Poland, politely tells me that my collagen fibres need a good kick into shape, and my fine lines could do with some drastic action. The fun begins when she applies a thick layer of cold gel, then the photo-rejuvenation laser (a metal probe) begins to zap my problem spots. It’s not pleasant, but it’s bearable: it’s rather like having lots of individual flash bulbs going off under my skin. I wear protective eyewear, and she warns me the sensation will feel particularly strange when it hits my crow’s feet because the skin is thinner. After a short break, during which my skin tingles pleasantly, the ReFirme treatment begins. Another probe, which generates heat within the dermal layer to tighten muscles and stimulate collagen production, sends little electric shock pulses into my face. This time it’s more bearable, although occasionally there’s a painful burning sensation. Once the extreme bit is over, Bozena cleans off the gel and adds soothing toners and moisturisers, finishing up with a facial, neck and shoulder massage. The whole session takes an hour and a half.
• This is the best rejuvenation treatment you can get short of going under the knife or resorting to fillers and Botox.
• It’s less invasive than a chemical peel, with far fewer unpleasant after-effects.
• It cleared up my surface wrinkles, liver spots and freckles, stimulated the collagen fibres and muscles and firmed the skin from within.
• Effects last for up to six months.
• The laser and the radio-frequency infrared probes caused a rather strange sensation.
• Freckles and liver spots react to the treatment, becoming darker immediately afterwards. This can last for up to a week, giving you a slightly grubby look. But they do fade to virtually nothing afterwards.
Immediately afterwards my skin looks smoother, but a little red and patchy in places. By day three I have the dirty look, with prominent freckles taking on a dark brown colour on the apples of my cheeks. But people don’t seem to notice and are starting to comment on my skin, saying I look ‘fresh and dewy’. Six days later, my liver spots have almost disappeared and my skin looks younger. My frown creases and the lines by my mouth have shown a marked improvement.
The Extreme Facial costs Dhs2,000; a combination of photo rejuvenation and ReFirme without the pampering is Dhs1,850. Simply Skin, Al Ghazal Mall, Satwa (04 345 6960).