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Going South: The smoking peel

May 15th 2012 / Imogen Edwards-Jones

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Imogen Edwards-Jones is middle-aged, not middle-of-the-road. This week: how to light up and still have dewy, glowing skin

I have started smoking again. I know what you are thinking: wow. I am almost as cool as Kate Moss. I am rocking it down with the kids. Fagging it up with the groovers. Hanging out on street corners like some cut-price floozy. When I last smoked you could still light up on a plane, and now I'm dropping almost a tenner on a packet (how much?). But who cares? I am young (ish) hip and practically Jane Birkin.

It's just that now there's all the expense when I really must get a nice sensible coat and all this puffing is playing havoc with my skin. Smoking and having good skin is oxymoronic. (Smoking itself is, of course, just plain moronic). But lighting up and expecting to maintain your glowing youthful dewiness is as likely as Moss staying in with a good book. And add to that the rash of little cat’s arse wrinkles that have suddenly appeared around my mouth and I realised it was time – not to stub out my new habit – but to seek help.

So I popped into Medicetics on Connaught Street, a little place I know that specialises in advanced cosmetic treatments. The key word is advanced. This is no ordinary Botoxeria. They do laser lipo, nose jobs and it is run by a husband and wife team of qualified surgeons rather than the usual Tango-tanned needle-wielding beauticians.

I booked myself in with the lovely Tabitha, who arrived complete with rubber gloves, black karate suit and perfect skin. “I have taken up smoking again,” I announced as she inspected my skin with a magnifying glass. “Now why have you done that?” she muttered. “Boredom, mainly,” I replied. “Mmm,” she retorted, unimpressed as she moved my chin up to the light. “So do you look after your skin?”

Well, that is the sort of question, along with how much do I weigh, that always makes me lie. Of course I cleanse and moisturise. Naturally I take my make-up off before bed. But Tabitha remained unconvinced. I had open pores, dry patches and, heaven forbid, a barcode across my top lip. There was nothing for it, she announced, pinging her rubber gloves, but a glycolic acid peel. “Actually,” she suggested. “Two of them, six to eight weeks apart, should do the trick.”

On went the white terry headband. Back I flopped on to the bed and out came the NeoStrata peel. First Tabitha cleaned my face of any excess grease and then she busied herself with a small brush slathering on the acid. It tingled at first and then it felt as if I’d fallen face first into a bed of nettles but the discomfort only lasted two minutes. You can bear almost anything for two minutes. I was having a 20 per cent peel, to be followed by a 30 per cent several weeks later. The deeper the penetration obviously the longer the product stays on your face.The 70 per cent treatment is the harshest peel they do, and is a treat saved only for serious George Hamilton sun-worshipers and crocodile handbags.

Next Tabitha removed the acid and moisturised my face with an cream with an SPF of 30 to protect the shiny new skin cells from the sun. It was only about half an hour from start to finish before I emerged blinking into the street with pink, smooth cheeks soft as a baby’s backside.

Three days later I was at a shindig nursing a flute of something fizzy when a very old friend approached. “Wow,” she said, sounding a little bit irritated. “You look amazing. Your skin looks fantastic. So young. So glowy. What have you done?” I smiled. ‘Oh nothing,” I mused. “You must have done something,” she quizzed further. “Oh, I know,” I replied finally. “I’ve taken up smoking!”

Each treatment costs £95 at Medicetics, Connaught Street, W2, 020 7402 2033, medicetics.com

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