A handful of phrases have entered our vernacular lately, which not even the top etymologists could have predicted. Zoom face , maskne and Covid face have all become common parlance thanks to the sudden appearance of the pandemic in our lives. Of course, there are far greater things to worry about as a result of Covid-19, but one of the, ahem, unprecedented outcomes is that people are taking their skincare much more seriously. According to one skin report , Google searches for ‘aesthetic treatments’ and ‘tweakments’ have soared by 50 per cent in the past year.
“It’s not just a question of looking ‘more refreshed’, which always used to be the key request”, says Alice Hart-Davis author and founder of The Tweakments Guide . “What people want now is how to look really good.”.
The pandemic has made tweakments even more popular Hart-Davis writes. “Rather than staying in that hesitant, shall-I-shan’t-I mindset, often for years, people are now taking a big leap forward and just booking themselves in for treatment.”
Two years staring at ourselves on a screen (Zoom is officially exhausting, say neuroscientists ) coupled with the stress of a pandemic does little for how perky we look. In fact, it's a perfect recipe for wanting to explore tweakment options. As we move into 2022, the experts are predicting that looking fresher and tighter will be the order of the day.
"2022 is set to bring about the year of the glow," says Dr Helen Whyte Aesthetic Doctor at the Aesthetic Treatment Rooms, defining it as "the natural radiance that shines from your beautiful skin".
We’ve rounded up the subtle (and safe) treatments that can help you look like the most fresh-faced version of yourself if you want to.
Lips are getting more subtle
Fillers are deflating
This year pillowy, pouty lips finally fell out of fashion; celebrities such as Molly Mae and Kylie Jenner announced that they had decided to have the filler that they’d been pumping into their lips for years’ dissolved, with Molly Mae declaring it ‘the best thing’ she’s ever done. While the trend for classic lip filler is disintegrating, the desire for lip defining treatments is going nowhere.
According to the review platform Yelp, the two lip procedures that we will be seeing everywhere (even on Love Island stars) are lip flips and lip blushing. They may sound like new MAC colourways but searches for them have risen by over 100 per cent in the past few months.
What is the lip flip?
A lip flip is less extreme than it sounds. The aim is still to create larger, plumper lips but it’s believed to give a more natural-looking boost than traditional filler. Lip flipping involves a doctor, or another licensed provider, injecting a wrinkle relaxer such as Botox into the upper lip muscle to force it to relax, this then encourages the top of the lip to literally ‘flip’ which makes upper lips look fuller without actually adding anything. The results aren’t dramatic but even if you don’t love it the toxin injected usually lasts around three to four months so it’s not a permanent procedure by any means.
One thing to note is that lip flippers have reported losing full control of their top lip i.e drinking out of a straw can result in some dribbling! Prices range from £80 to £200 depending on where you are in the UK and because the procedure is still relatively new not all aesthetic practitioners are qualified. Check out The Save Face website to find a qualified aesthetician local to you.
What is lip blushing?
Lip blushing sounds cute and it kind of is. While it’s definitely a far cry from the tattooed eyebrows and eyeliner of the '80s and '90s, essentially lip blushing is the next generation of semi-permanent makeup. It gently fills and defines lips with a subtle wash of colour - think of it as wearing a really good lip balm, all of the time.
Because lips are filled in with water-based ink, they can appear more symmetrical post-lip-blushing and fans also say that it can give the illusion of fuller lips. Typically lasting for two or three years (although tattoo artists recommend a colour refresh every six months), prices start at £295 at the UK Aesthetics Clinic .
Try the laser lip lift
Another alternative to lip fillers is the new Laser Lip Lift, created by Dr Esho, a collagen-stimulating procedure that rejuvenates lips via a hybrid laser called the Alma laser. The initial result is very subtle but over a course of six treatments (£950) lips are slowly given a boost. It's painless, takes ten minutes and there's no downtime but as Dr Esho says "if you want to be the next Kylie Jenner this treatment isn't for you".
Bright eyes without getting eight hours sleep
After two years of mask-wearing, our eyes are more of a focus than ever before. Because the skin around the eye area is so thin, treating this part of the face is notoriously tricky. Eye creams can help for dark circles but never shift them entirely. However, there are a couple of new treatments that aestheticians are getting excited about.
First up, Nucleofill. This new injectable is similar to Profhilo in that it helps to improve skin quality but instead of inserting hyaluronic acid into the skin, Nucelofill is made up of a combination of proteins which, when injected, encourages your own cells to produce collagen and elastin - the stuff responsible for making complexions look healthy and radiant. Dr Sophie Shotter at Illuminate Skin Clinic in Kent is hailing Nucleofill as 'the treatment of 2022' as it's so versatile and can be used all over the face and neck including to rejuvenate the eye area.
Dermatologist Dr Alexis Granite says that many of her clients are opting for Nucleofill instead of dermal filler around the eye area because it’s gentler but still gives an instant fresher face result. “I love to use it on clients who want to minimise dark circles,” she says. Prices at Skinesis start from £700 for the first treatment with additional treatments, £450.
Injectable concealer could be the key to saying ‘I just woke up like this' without a word of a lie. It's something that the Natali Kelly Clinic in London claims we'll be saying once we've tried bespoke injectable concealer (prices start at £500). If Willy Wonka swapped chocolate for cosmetics this is what he’d come up with. The signature treatment injects tiny amounts of hyaluronic acid dermal filler around the eye area to hydrate dry eyes which reportedly helps to brighten dark circles. Imagine never having to wear concealer again…
Bank your hair, your fat and your collagen to future proof your look
Remember when we thought Walt Disney had opted to be cryogenically preserved after death (a rumour, as it turns out) in case science was one day able to bring him back to life? Well, the idea isn’t so far off from becoming a reality. OK, so we are not saying that immortality is coming to a clinic near you but there are new treatments on the market which allow you to ‘bank’ everything from fat and skin cells to your hair - just in case you need to use them later. After all, we're already doing this with our eggs and embryos.
“By storing our own body tissue we are able to use it to be both regenerative (i.e for hair growth or collagen renewal) or cosmetic, to restore lost volume in our faces”, says Esther Fieldgrass, founder of the EF Medispa clinics in London, who has just started offering fat banking.
Of all the body tissues fat is the one to bank because it's the richest source of adult stem cells, says Fieldgrass. At EF Future Health, the more medical arm of London aesthetics clinic EF Medispa, liposuction is used to extract fat from areas where you won’t miss it, your thighs for example. It’s then sent to a ‘fat bank’ where it is frozen and stored until you decide you want to turn your fat into filler or use the stem cells for whatever future use science comes up with. Fat as filler is a tried-and-tested, although not a common treatment for those who prefer a more 'natural' injectable but now it's the banking aspect is new. You even get to choose the consistency of this bespoke fat filler - maybe you want it more viscous in the forehead, or firmer for the cheeks. Although with prices starting at £10,000, you need a lot of money in the bank before you can start cosmetic banking.
At the Farjo hair institute patients have the opportunity to ‘bank’ their hair follicles for future use, in case they experience thinning hair later down the line and want to rejuvenate it. It's a whole new take on the hair transplant, which is no longer the preserve of balding footballers - women are having them too. This year former supermodel Yasmin Le Bon admitted she'd had a hair transplant after suffering menopausal hair loss.
“At present, we can only harvest the donor's hairs and cryopreserve them in a tissue bank,” says Dr Bessam Farjo, Hair Restoration Surgeon (Walt Disney would be into it) but he predicts that by the end of 2022 the full hair cloning service will be available. Now is the time to bank with beauty.
'Power PRP' is the new vampire facial
PRP, or platelet-rich plasma injections shot into the public consciousness a few years ago when celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and supermodel Bar Refaeli posted pictures of their faces bathed in their own blood plasma. The concept behind the so-called 'Vampire Facial' was that blood was taken and spun in a centrifuge to separate the red blood cells from the plasma, which was rich in skin-boosting growth factors. The plasma was then needled into your face either via injection or microneedling, allowing it to penetrate deeper than ordinary skincare.
Now though it’s 2022 and it’s time for a new class of injectables. Enter 'super PRP', an ultra-concentrated version of the original PRP - five to eight times as strong according to aesthetic practitioner Kristin Heider Persson at EF Future Health in Kensington, where we tried it. The clinic dispenses super PRP in combination with microneedling. Called Futurology, it stimulates collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid production in the skin - all necessary for age-proofing and rejuvenation and said to work wonders also on acne scarring. While it's new to the aesthetics' world, super PRP technology has been used medically for wound healing.
What makes Futurology different from the original PRP injections is that it uses a new type of centrifuge which spits out any ‘platelet poor’ plasma so you only get injected with the very best bits, although you'll need to give up to 120ml of blood (as opposed to the standard 10mls for normal PRP) to make this turbo charged elixir.
The privilege of injecting yourself with your own power plasma doesn’t come cheap, with prices for Futurology starting at £1,995 but they do throw in a bottle of any spare PRP (yours, obviously) made into a cream which you can take home and keep in the fridge to use post-treatment, or to scare away any unwanted visitors.
Smart lasers for face and body improving solutions without the downtime
Used to treat skin conditions including pigmentation, rosacea and acne, laser resurfacing typically requires a minimum of a few days downtime, and it's tricky to get results on darker skin types. Now though, a new gentle form of laser is available which can be used on all skin tones with next to no downtime. What is this magic laser you ask? It’s called BBL, broadband light, and according to cosmetic surgeon Dr Benji Dhillon who uses it on clients at the newly-opened The Clinic Holland Park it is a ‘very safe and effective way of treating all three [of the previously mentioned] skin conditions”. Prices for a full face of BBL Laser start at £1,100 or £900 for three sessions.
When it comes to body treatments, lasers are upping their game too. The Emerald Laser claims to zap fat as you lie down. With alternatives to fat freezing treatments surging, thanks to Linda Evangelista’s infamous experience with Coolsculpting, the Emerald Laser is becoming a popular option. The gadget uses electromagnetic energy to make tiny temporary holes in your fat cells, the fat is emulsified and then leaks out.
The fat cell then shrinks to a healthy size and starts to function more efficiently. Any leaked fat is removed by the lymph and processed by the liver. The makers of the laser claim that patients lose an average of six inches (15.2cm) over a course of six to ten treatments. Cosmetic surgeon Dr Munir Somji has one of the first Emerald Lasers in the UK at his DrMedispa clinic in Knightsbridge, where it costs £300 per session and £2500 for a course of ten.
Micro-coring to stave off a facelift
If 2021 was all about Morpheus8 radiofrequency microneedling then 2022 will be all about micro-coring. Come again? “It’s like coring an apple but for your skin,” says Dr Alexis Granite. Sounds pretty intense, but the experts are touting this micro mechanism as being a bit of a game-changer for tightening the skin.
It involves microneedles punching minuscule holes in your face. The holes, which are less than half a millimetre in diameter, then pull together, effectively reducing the surface area of your face and providing a tightening effect. Using an energy-free, small-gauge needling device the procedure takes around 25 minutes in a qualified aesthetician’s chair and is performed using lots of numbing cream.
The downtime is around three days of redness. The procedure is recommended for those wanting to tighten up lax skin or for those who want to look younger but wouldn't consider a facelift. It's currently only available in Australia but British derms are expecting it to hit UK shores later in the year. Watch this space.
Surgery-free body sculpting
Searches have risen by 350 per cent for radiofrequency skin tightening, according to Google as people continue to want to sculpt body areas comfortably and without downtime. Dr Galyna Selezneva at the Rita Rakus Clinic is the woman we go to when we want to know all the latest treatments that support and celebrate our bodies. She tells us: "Finally aesthetic medicine is not only about beautification. We are talking functionality and multitasking," she says. When it comes to the newest body contouring devices it’s all about performing a few procedures at the same time. She recommends Emsculpt Neo , a non-invasive procedure that aims to melt fat and tighten tummy muscles at the same time, using high-intensity electromagnetic energy combined with radiofrequency.
But her hottest treatment for 2022 is the Ultimate Core Fix package . "This includes Emsculpt Neo to treat the abdomen muscle and Emsella Chair for pelvic floor strength". The pelvic floor, she points out is a continuation of our core muscles. "Strong and toned muscles are essential for posture, back pain, possible urinary concerns. And as a perk, you get amazing ab definition!" Book a free consultation at the Rita Rakus Clinic who will then recommend a course of treatment for you, usually three to four sessions.
Acne solutions without the medication
Acne is the biggest skincare concern in the UK, according to the NHS, 95 per cent of people are affected by acne between ages 11 to 30. And the problem is ongoing since one in five people suffer from acne scars. GPs have reported that they see 3.5 million people each year looking to 'fix' their acne saying that people want quick results, as well as long term fixes and are seeking alternatives to medication such as Roaccutane and topical creams which can have adverse side effects.
Dr Marwa Ali, Advanced Aesthetic Doctor, The Wellness Clinic, Harrods is heralding The Lumenis Stellar M22 as the skincare innovation to watch thanks to its ability to tackle myriad skin conditions, including acne and acne scars. The machine uses gentle Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) to zap the bacteria, pigmentation and redness - the short pulses of IPL can penetrate deeper into the skin than topical treatments to really address the source of the acne. A consultation with Dr Ali starts at £195 for 30 minutes.
Low key fillers
Subtle tweaks are the modern way to ageing better. Although Profhilo is reigning king of the injectable glow, there's a new kid on the block. "Revive, from Belotero is giving Profhilo a run for its money", says Alice Hart-Davis. "It's a very fluid, injectable form of hyaluronic acid which sits on the inside of the skin like an injectable moisturiser," she says. "It hangs onto water – enough to hydrate the skin, but not enough to add volume, so it’s a skin-conditioner, not a filler." It works by creating new collagen and elastin which can soften fine lines and make your skin firmer, bouncier and more glowy. The difference between it and Profhilo seems to be that, "it seems to improve skin brightness and even tone down pigmentation" says Hart-Davis.
A session of Belotero with Dr Alexis Granite at The Skinesis Medical in London starts at £500.
Yes, even your vagina can't escape aestheticans desire to 'freshen' up every part of you, although it's being increasingly recognised that modern tweakment tech can help offer solutions for debilitating conditions such as incontinecence. "Using laser internally can tighten up the vagina which helps to reduce stress incontinence (a huge problem for so many women) by taking pressure off the bladder," says Hart-Davis.
She notes that some companies which make laser or radiofrequency machines often have a probe-type device designed for internal use, as well as helping with incontinence zapping the membranes can also help to improve vaginal dryness, a problem experienced by many menopausal women. "Get it done by someone who really knows their way around your parts – preferably a gynaecologist or a doctor with a special interest in intimate health," says Hart-Davis.
Botulinum toxin A injections - not just for worry lines
A new study published this month claims that anti-wrinkle injections such as Botox can wipe away worry as well as wrinkles. Researchers at the University of California San Diego have found that botulinum toxin A, the stuff traditionally used to treat wrinkles, migraines and sweating could help reduce symptoms of anxiety by up to 72 per cent and not just when it's injected in the forehead. The study was carried out with patients being injected in the face, limbs and neck. Are we will all going to be getting wrinkle relaxing injections to rid ourselves of worry, and worry lines?
"It’s really interesting to read that botulinum toxin A may help reduce anxiety," comments Hart-Davis. "There have been a number of studies over the years suggesting the toxin may help with depression, but anxiety is a newer area that merits further study. As a prescription medicine, botulinum toxin A has many medical uses such as treating hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) , migraine and urinary incontinence – its uses range far more widely than cosmetic treatment for wrinkles!"
It's long been observed that not being able to frown for several months after having wrinkle relaxers can create a positive feedback loop for your mood. “The proposed theory is that if you look at your reflection and you’re always looking stressed or worried (due to frown lines) then that will feedback to the brain and make the person perpetually anxious,” notes Dr Harryono Judodihardjo, dermatologist and aesthetics expert at Belgravia Dermatology .
This theory is known as ‘facial feedback’. “This will then break the feedback of the brain giving a positive feeling that all is well,” he says.
It’s important to note that the new studies on anxiety are only preliminary, says Dr Judodihardjo. “If you’re anxious, the first port of call is the GP. Botulinum toxin is an adjunct to the anxiety treatment but not a replacement.”