So this weekend I checked out some of the latest anti-ageing treatments at the Bel Âge Anti-Ageing Health and Beauty Show at Olympia, London and, whilst I happened across a few ‘too-far’ faces, I also came away with some more knowledge on how best to care for ageing skin using a range of different techniques (not all of them surgical you’ll be pleased to hear).

The show offers the very latest in cosmetic procedures, beauty treatments and skincare products with insider tips from some of the industry’s most innovative and well-regarded anti-ageing professionals. Whilst I still find the term ‘anti-ageing’ has very negative connotations, the show did its level best to provide a broad range of options with everything from embracing those advancing years with more natural methods, to pumping your face full of fillers so you resemble Meryl Streep’s double in Death Becomes Her, and even vaginal rejuvenation :-0

So, with long suffering husband (Mr Zodle) in tow, which given the amount of cycling events I’ve attended with him over the years, I felt was only fair, I set out to establish what’s hot and what’s not in the world of ‘intelligent ageing’…

There were a total of 38 speakers over the 2 days, ranging from eminent Harley Street Doctors, to Facial Yoga experts; lawyers assisting clients who’ve been ‘injured’ in cosmetic procedures conducted overseas, to lifestyle guru’s specialising in peri- and post-menopausal well-being; and everything in between! I even witnessed a PDO non invasive thread lift (they call it the Cinderella facelift, don’t ask me why…) being performed on a slightly creasey cheeked forty-something, LIVE on stage!

What’s hot right now?

Non-Surgical Blepharoplasty

I recently wrote about an amazing ‘advanced facial‘ I had with advanced facialist Emma Bennett. Emma was at the show with Dr Sherif Wakil of Dr SW Clinics who specialises in non-surgical aesthetic medicine, including wrinkle reducing injections to ‘Vampire treatments’ (!), ‘soft surgery’ treatments :-0 and, the all important vaginal rejuvenation! Don’t worry, no one was game enough to have one of those performed on stage but, he was offering the Non-Surgical Blepharoplasty treatment which works by creating a series of minute dots on the skin, which triggers an instant contraction and tightening of skin fibres to create a lifting, remodelling and rejuvenating effect. “Non-Surgical Blepharoplasty uses plasma, the fourth state of matter, to achieve this. The principle involves the ionisation of gases contained in the air to create a small electrical ‘arc’, which can be used to treat specific areas of concern without damaging the surrounding areas or applying any unwanted heat to them.” Non-Surgical Blepharoplasty is much less invasive than laser or diathermy and indeed, punters were queuing up round the block to have their crows feet and hooded lids zapped by the good Dr! I watched a treatment in quiet amazement and as the smell of burning flesh reached my nostrils, the wrinkles really did disappear before my very eyes! This treatment leaves you with what looks like a mass of tiny brown freckles around the treated area, which are in fact tiny scabs that form and will gradually fall away over the next few days. Whilst the immediate effect was impressive, I have no idea what these patients will look like a few days/weeks down the line, but there appears to be some very positive chatter on how effective this non-invasive, rejuvenating treatment really is.

LED Light Therapy

I’ve written about the wonders of light therapy a few times now – I absolutely love it and would certainly recommend a trip to The Light Salon for a quick (and very well priced) blast of the good stuff if you haven’t experienced it before, then you’ll know what I’m going on about 🙂 However, if you’d rather absorb those beams in the comfort of your own home there were a number of exhibitors spruiking the virtues of home-use light therapy devices. Whilst I certainly think there is a place for some of the better devices, there will be a limit to their strength for use in the home environment. I think they are best used as maintenance after an ‘in-salon’ light treatment, as I’m not sure how efficacious they really are when used in isolation.

PDO Thread Lift 

As I mentioned earlier, a very brave (or was she just thinking of the money she’d save) volunteer offered herself up to Dr Aamer Khan of the Harley Street Clinic in order to undergo a thread lift on stage. She was 42 and concerned about sagging around her mouth/jawline – I couldn’t see it myself – she should have looked at my saggy chops and then told me she still had a problem :-0  Anyway, after both an anaesthetic cream and injections were applied she was ready for what’s been hailed as the non-surgical alternative to a mini facelift. This 60 minute procedure positions itself somewhere between plastic surgery and non-invasive treatments such as laser and radio frequency and, can tighten droopy jowls, cheeks, brows and even the neck, with results that are subtle and it’s claimed, last for up to two years. The threads are inserted through a tiny needle hole in the cheek at a depth of between 3-5mm, which is not visible after the procedure. The threads have ‘cones’ attached and when the threads are exited from the skin at the appropriate position they can be pulled to gently lift the sagging skin back into place. The material used eventually biodegrades and is absorbed back into the body, hence the expiration date. However, they are currently the fastest growing treatment alternative to invasive surgery but are also used in the treatment of frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, ligament repair and fibro-myalgia. The volunteer had one side of her face ‘threaded’ first and was asked to sit up so the ‘audience’ (I can’t imaj anything worse than having this done in front of hundreds of onlookers!) could compare both sides. I have to say, there was a very subtle difference, but the poor beauty’s face was so puffy and paralysed from the anaesthetic, one would have to see the results in a week or two in order to gauge it’s efficacy. This treatment isn’t for everyone and it’s also rather pricey but, if you fancy a subtle lift without surgery, this might just be right up your alley!

Anything else?

There were many other treatments being trotted out at the show, from the standard fillers and botox, to radio frequency, CoolSculpting® fat removal and permanent makeup; some of which I wouldn’t touch with a 50ft bargepole and others where I’d be curious to see the results. There were also a good number of natural and organic exhibitors in terms of skincare products, which was refreshing to see and demonstrates that the science behind brands such as Antipodes®, Monroe of London, The Organic Pharmacy and Sönd is now advanced enough to compete with some of the more pharmaceutical grade brands and, are also gentler on both the skin and pocket.

Did Mr Zodle have a nice day?

Hhhmmm I suspect he may have preferred to watch some paint dry elsewhere but he did his best to appear interested and had his own take on the whole shebang; feeling it was all a little tragic as he observed countless women being sucked into a world where the promise of eternal youth tempts you to part with your hard earned cash and very often, only leaves you looking more like Meryl and Goldie, than your 20 year old former self 🙁 However, we did happen across Monroe of London, the only exhibitor of men’s skincare at the show and Mr Zodle, very willingly I might add, will be testing the range over the next few weeks – watch out for his review in the not too distant…

Was it worth it?

It was certainly an interesting day out but there was a real mixed bag of exhibitors (some of whom I felt shouldn’t have been there at all), which I thought made it lack focus. I also think the organisers, who very kindly provided me with a press pass, could have advertised the event more widely, as it wasn’t as busy as I thought it would be either. Finally, next year it would be nice to see a little less emphasis on trying to turn back the hands of time and more focus on embracing those advancing years and the ageless beauty it represents. Now, I’m off to put some sticky tape behind my ears, see if I can’t achieve my very own Cinderella facelift…