In the last 12 months 7.7 million Brits have had an aesthetic treatment — or “tweakment”. Usually associated with fillers or Botox (rightly so, with the two accounting for nine out of 10 procedures in the UK’s £3.6 billion cosmetic surgery industry), the last decade has seen a mainstream embrace of injectables.
It’s also seen the rise of an over-puffed, unnatural look that has become associated with “Kylie Jenner filler packages” or Love Island contestants. In fact, multiple celebrities have been openly backtracking on their excessive filler use. “Honestly, I’m just tired of the look, and it’s just not flattering, it’s not what I look like. It totally changed my face,” said American model Blac Chyna (real name Angela White) in a video of her getting her face fillers dissolved. Earlier this year former Friends star Courteney Cox talked about how easy it is to over-do filler and not realise “you look a little off”, admitting she “messed up a lot” when it came to succumbing to the pressures to look younger.
Instead, in today’s tweakment landscape it’s all about subtle treatments that maintain a person’s unique features and personality. “They don’t want to look like they’ve had something done, but they still want to look refreshed,” says Dr Michael Moore of the Dray Clinic (drdray.co.uk).
That means no two treatments are the same. “A lot of customers will come cherry-picking a certain popular treatment, like lip or cheek filler, but we will always assess the entire face,” continues Dr Moore. “Everything has to be proportionate — if the lips are out of balance with the chin or the nose something is going to look off. To the naked eye, you might not know why, but you’ll just know something’s off,” he adds on the importance of trained practitioners approaching a person’s whole face to create balance exclusively for them.
Most importantly, it means less is more. “By using new techniques, products and technologies, we’re able to create that youthful kind of rejuvenation without injecting lots of filler, we can do it in more subtle ways,” he continues, stressing that this undetectable approach is what the clinic prides itself on.
It’s also what their exclusive, celebrity clientele who they’ve built through word-of-mouth recommendations, seek them out for — with some flying in exclusively for the clinic. Of course, discretion is a given, but a quick scroll on Instagram will give you an insight into their ultra A-list fans. “No spot to Paris is complete without a visit to the maestro @clinic.dr.dray,” wrote Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow over a photo of her visiting the clinic’s Paris outpost; she’s a loyal supporter thanks to their signature mesotherapy treatment.
Pioneered by Dr Maurice Dray, who brought it to the UK in the Nineties, mesotherapy works by injecting a cocktail of vitamins (A, B, C and E), minerals amino acids, coenzymes and hyaluronic acid into the mesoderm (aka the middle layer of your skin) via a mesogun. Think of it like microneedling, but with vitamins.
The clinic’s other signature treatment, the 10-minute facelift, uses a type of lifter hyaluronic acid that lifts the tissues in the face without creating the appearance of big cheeks or lots of volume. “It will lift the cheeks, lift the jawline, it will decrease the appearance of the smile lines or decrease the appearance of the lines around the mouth,” continues Moore, who adds that it’s helped them cement their reputation as the best-kept secret for natural, youthful rejuvenation in London.
“Products and treatments that complement skincare are at the forefront of what we promote, because your skin is the first thing you see,” says Dr Moore, who believes the biggest shift has been towards regenerative medicine that targets skin condition and health. Whether it’s Kardashian-approved Morpheus8 — a microneedling device that tightens the skin — or Profhilo — injectable hyaluronic acid used to increase hydration and stimulate the production of collagen — it’s no longer about treating superficial symptoms, but the root causes. “It’s important to educate our clients on why some of the changes are happening in the face,” says Dr Moore, “with that understanding you can really work towards more natural, long-term solutions.”
Since visiting the clinic no- one’s noticed that I’ve had anything done, but many have commented on how refreshed I look. “That’s the aim,” says Dr Moore, “refreshed but totally you.”