Friday 25 July 2014

Destination Skin, Birmingham

One stormy Saturday, I headed into Birmingham city centre for a new skin experience. Destination Skin, previously of the Pavilions but now newly located on Lower Temple Street, conveniently next door to Starbucks, offers a personal approach to skincare.

The doors to this new clinic opened last Thursday and since then, the new address has helped ensure a busy first week for this Birmingham branch, which is one of 23 registered clinics in this nationwide chain that has specialised in 'non-invasive, advanced technological treatments for anti ageing, permanent hair reduction and skin concerns' for the past 10 years.

I wasn't sure what to expect from my visit; I have been to spas and had various beauty treatments when I have been able to treat myself on these occasions (you can read about my recent experiences here and here) but Destination Skin is a different concept altogether. Rather than somewhere to go on an odd occasion for relaxation and a bit of pampering, Destination Skin is all about prescribing skin solutions for specific concerns. Whether it's unwanted hair, acne, scars or ageing, this clinic aims to help find the best treatment, or course of treatments, for you.

I've watched many TV programmes about how to look good and beauty treatments for body concerns and ageing, from How to Look Good Naked to How Not to Get Old (presented by Anna Richardson, who tried cosmetic procedures, and Louise Redknapp, who stuck to natural solutions) and as it stands, at the age of 30, whilst I'm not a fan of ageing, I don't think I will ever be a fan of the needle or the knife either.

For me, there are things that I have come to accept about my appearance and for me, make up and some good lotions and potions are my weapons of choice as I battle the effects of getting older. I know that there's things that could be altered or changed as I get older but I don't feel that anything really impacts on my self-confidence enough to warrant anything more drastic. However, I appreciate that other people may feel very self-conscious about their skin tags, facial hair or scars, or perhaps want to consider more medical procedures to help them feel better about who they are, and that's completely fine, it's just not for me.

That's why I was looking forward to my Destination Skin appointment. I wanted to know how 'good' my skin is at this moment in time and to find out how I can look after it better to have the best chance of staying as youthful as possible for as long as possible. The perfect place in between beauty treatments and cosmetic procedures; that's where you find Destination Skin.

The clinic is bright and inviting. I have no idea how they will keep the floor, walls and cabinets so white but it really does make an impact when you arrive!

I filled in a customer questionnaire form so they could find out more about my skin and my specific needs and then my therapist, or practitioner as they're called at Destination Skin, Jessica, took me downstairs to one of the treatments rooms.

I decided that as this was an introductory visit, I would opt for a prescription facial. Destination Skin offer a variety of these, and describe them as follows:

"Prescription facials are introductory level treatments which may consist of cleansing, exfoliating, toning and protecting the skin using a range of cosmeceutical products.  All of these steps help to hydrate, soothe, and correct any imperfections on the skin.  Prescription facials can provide ideal preparation for advanced skin treatments such as skin peels and laser skin rejuvenation.  Personalised Prescription Facial.  An introductory facial tailored to address your specific skin concerns from acneic to dehydrated skins."

After an initial chat about my skin and areas of concern, Jessica performed a cleanse of my skin so she could see how sensitive it was and how it reacted to the products. I then had a series of different lotions, scrubs and masks applied, specifically chosen for me, and Jessica talked me through each one in turn so I knew what was being used and what it would do for my skin.

My prescription facial included the following:

  • Glycolic wash and ultra mild cleanser
  • Vitamin C crystals and Activator (ex foliation) - this was my favourite part of the treatment as it felt really effective and I liked how the crystals were first applied before the activator cream, for a two-step effect
  • B5 Enriched firming mask - Jessica used a brush to paint this on and the mask really felt like it made a difference to how taut my face felt
  • Delicate soothing serum - this was super light and absorbed straight into my skin, which Jessica said was a key sign that a product was working as if it sits on the surface, it's not penetrating deep enough to do any real good
  • SPF - at least 80% of all ageing effects on the skin can be attributed to sun exposure so ladies, cover up and use SPF EVERY DAY!

At the start of my facial, I asked Jessica how old she thought I looked, in all honesty, and she said she thought I had a skin age of 24. Well, I'll take that thank you! Before applying the SPF, I asked Jessica if I could try the skin scanner. You may have seen these on 10 Years Younger and the like, but essentially they show what your skin really looks like underneath, highlighting how much sun damage you have. It's a pretty scary sight I can tell you - I looked about 80! It also highlighted a couple of white patches which indicated lack of hydration but overall, Jessica said I didn't have a lot to worried about and on a scale of one to 10, I was only a two in terms of sun damage. Phew! Best keep slapping on the SPF...

Destination Skin use Dermaquest products and they are also available to buy from the clinic, so I have a list of what was used during my facial for future reference. I was impressed by the products I tried and will certainly look at them in more detail when my current stock of beauty products runs low.

It was an enjoyable and educational experience and I certainly left feeling like I understood my skin better. The friendly clinic team really know their stuff and there's a wide variety of treatments available, which may seem expensive at first but many are recommended as courses, they use advanced technology, techniques and products and there's regular special offers or promotions to take advantage of too. Destination Skin isn't about having a treatment on a whim, it's more about achieving real results. For me, Jessica said I have really good collagen production so the main thing is to keep looking after my skin, staying hydrated and avoiding the sun at all costs - plus collagen boosting facials will help give my skin, well, a boost!

After my prescription facial at Destination Skin, no make-up, no filter

Combined with my newly learned skincare facts and daily routine (see tomorrow's post), the proof of my facial was in the comments I received afterwards, with one colleague saying how nice my skin looked having not seen me for a week. I can see and feel a difference since making changes to how I look after my skin which makes me feel great but even better if other people are noticing too.

If you have any skincare concerns or want to find out more about the skin you live in and how you can treat it to keep it in the best possible condition you can, I recommend you visit Destination Skin. If there's a problem, there may be a solution and these are the people to help.

*Note: I was invited along to the opening of the new Birmingham clinic and my facial was complimentary, but my comments and compliments I have received since are all genuine!

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