You’ll have to forgive me if I am a little vague, or hazy, about my trip to Dr Michael Prager’s Harley Street Clinic to sample his new fangled super-feted Illuminator Facial, which incidentally is supposed to leave your face so baby-bum smacked-arse perfect, that everyone thinks you’ve just stepped out of an ashram, where you’ve done nothing but bathe in virgin’s milk and chomp on quinoa.
And let me also promise you that the whole vague haze thing has nothing to do with a terrible case of early onset, or indeed the aftermath of a sixteen-shot party with competitive pole dancing. No. This was shock. Pure and simple. A terrible, terrible sit down with a stiff gin shock.
You see, I arrived at the clinic quite jolly, I seem to remember, and ready to have my mild peel, electric pulses and hydrating mask. But just before I stepped in to the inner sanctum and lay down for an hour, the assistant (sadly not the knicker-droppingly handsome Dr Prager himself) suggested that I pop my face in to some contraption and have my skin analysed. Just like that. So I placed my chin on the little white stand, duly closed my eyes for the required three flashes and then thought nothing of it. Idiot.
I then proceed through the peel, the electric pulses and the fabulously hydrating mask, gel and moisturiser combo. All of which was painless, unctuous and effective, and resulted in the said smacked arse face that makes you look like you’ve had a pleasant jog around the block and showered in Evian.
On the way out the assistant (whose name I must have blocked) suggested that we take a quick look at my skin analysis results. Now I know I smoke more than a lab-testing beagle and I drink more wine than Gerard Depardieu about to board a plane, but I’m a member of the Glossy Posse. I have had more peels, plumps and needle pricks in my face than any tissue-eating supermodel. I’ve got good skin. It’s not great but it’s slathered in products and occasionally tox-ed still – what more is a lady supposed to do?
The results pinged on the screen. The assistant apologised as she went to answer the phone. I squinted slightly. Spots 3% - Not bad. I’m only three per cent acne. It’s a good score. I move down: Wrinkles 83% - ah, well, that’s not good. It’s the smoking and the sun-bathing but my Texture is 4% and my UV Spots are 7% and my Brown Spots are 9% and my Red Areas are 8% so I am clearly one of those very lucky smug cows who can smoke, drink, lie in the sun and get away it. Except for a few wrinkles. But wrinkles shminkles. I can easy fill those. A few lines of collagen here and a vial of Botox there. Bingo! Clever, brilliant, fabulous me!
The assistant hangs up the phone.
“It’s all ok, bar the wrinkles,” I laugh confidently as she looks up.
“Really?” she replies.
“Well, 83 per cent!”
“83 per cent is good,” she says coming over.
“That means that out of the hundred 46-year-old faces they analysed you are in the top 83 per cent.”
“No,” she continues, leaning in to read my data. “The higher... the…” She stops.
“…The better?” I finish.
“Yes,” she coughs.
“So when it says Spots three per cent. Only two per cent of 46 year old women in the whole country have WORSE spots than I have?’
“Only three per cent have worse Texture?”
“And what’s this last thing? Porphyrins?”
“So I’m five per cent bacteria! Or rather I’m 95 per cent bacteria! Only four per cent of women in the whole country have more bacteria on their face than me?”
“Do you wash your face?” she asks tentatively. “Or should I say what do you wash it in?”
“Whatever is to hand,” I say.
“Ah,” she nods.
Yes, ah indeed. Ah. Ah. Ha. So to all you chain-smoking Keith Richards types out there. DO go to Dr Prager’s for the facial because it is super and does work and your skin does look lovely for weeks afterwards. But DON'T, for God’s sake, absent mindedly pop your face in to that awful white machine on the left. Take it from me, there are some things one doesn't need illuminating!
P.S. the assistant’s name was Cheri and she was very nice indeed!