I’m really happy to be experimental with non-surgical procedures: if I truly want to know if something works I’m happy to give it a go, and not too vain to view it as a risk – you just don’t know if you’ll like the results of fillers or Botox until you’ve taken the plunge. I’ll cite the time that I had my top lip Botox’d and lost my ability to sip – very tricky for someone who loves a cup of tea as much as me – but I had to know if it would work (it didn’t)! Even for me though, I had something done yesterday that is far more radical than I’ve ever had before.
Basically Juvederm 4 (Hyaluronic acid) is the thickest of facial fillers, suitable for larger areas or deep wrinkling that need un-wrinkling. I always have Botox or fillers at the same place – The Courthouse Clinic in Wimpole Street – but don’t always have the same person. So, this time I met Dr Robin Stones, who is known for his skill and technique in facial contouring. So, what is contouring? It’s the procedure of adding filler into the face in more than one place to give an overall plumping and lifting effect where collagen has depleted to such a point that the face begins to hollow slightly. This can happen at any age after 40 or so, depending on how kind genetics has been to you. I’ve started to notice that my skin is less firm around my mouth and jaw and also my cheeks had begun to flatten a bit. It’s all a completely normal part of the ageing process, but on a personal level I didn’t like the way I’d started to look a bit ‘tired’ all the time.
Contouring is not pain-free…because Robin was dumping two syringes full of Juvederm into each cheek, it has to be done extremely slowly in order to get an even effect. It’s done in four or five places along the cheek bone and although there is a bit of pain killer in the filler formula, the intial dive with the needle is not nice. And, I would have to say I would never have this procedure done at a place I didn’t know or trust – there is just too much at stake if you – like me – want to keep everything looking natural and not ‘done’. So, the practioner needs a great degree of artistry and skill in order to put back facial contours that will look correct on your face and not like you’ve tucked a couple of hamsters into each cheek. Robin is absolutely meticulous – so patient, happy to admit he isn’t a multi-tasker (i.e. he doesn’t talk and fill at the same time!), and did a lot of stepping back, looking, tweaking and adding before he was happy that they are completely even. It’s really a very clever skill to have because unless you have good aesthetic taste, your patient can end up looking far too plumped and filled. It’s difficult to get something that is quite radical to just seamlessly merge into the face.
So, today, my face feels a little bit warm on my cheeks – they feel quite tender as well, but there hasn’t been any bruising (a known side effect). What’s truly amazing about Contouring is that you walk in looking a little flat and an hour or so later, you look naturally plumped and a darn site better. My cheeks feel odd – I can feel the filler in them – it isn’t soft like flesh, it’s a harder consitency than that – but they just look so much better. I haven’t been Wildensteined – in fact, friends later that evening at dinner, didn’t really notice any difference initially – which is exactly how it should be – but when I pointed out what I’d had done they were equally gob-smacked. Do I look younger? I can’t say that I do especially, but I’ve certainly lost that rather tired look..my face looks more lively, fresher and well, contoured. I’d easily recommend this treatment – but with the proviso that you thoroughly research the practitioner’s skill and past examples. It’s difficult for me to recommend anyone other than Dr Robin Stones at Court House Clinics because I haven’t had it done anywhere else, but all I can say is that it was done with skill, precision and care and the result was astonishingly good. It’s a very expensive treatment, costing from £500 but it apparently lasts at least 9 months.