Ironing Out The Creases

7th October 2011

When it comes to ageing, arguably the most unattractive sign is that of the frown, says Mary Linehan.

Not only is it a sign of advancing years, it also makes us look, well, so bad tempered…

Botox is the number one frown-beater, and, it has to be said, probably the most effective. But not all of us are inclined to inject ourselves with poisons that paralyse the muscles and, if badly done, can freeze the face. The search for a non-invasive treatment for my frown lines, led me to the Environ® Frown Treatment.
Environ® is a South African range of results-driven salon treatments and products, created by plastic surgeon and skin specialist Dr Des Fernandez. The core AVST range is based on vitamin A, scientifically acknowledged as one of the key skin vitamins, plus the antioxidant vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene. While vitamin A has been used in cosmetic products for over 30 years or so, Environ® claims to be the first brand to incorporate it at higher levels. Vitamin A is highly active, so, in order to reduce any risk of irritation or reaction and avoid compromising the skin, you start off using Environ® products at the lowest level – one – and progress incrementally, in what they describe as a ‘step-up’ system, to five, to find the levels that work for your skin.

The Environ® brand also has other ranges, including the B-Active range for troublesome skin and their Rolls Royce offering: the Ionzyme range, that uses advanced complexes of vitamins, anti-oxidants and peptides, and includes the Focus Frown Serum which is key to this treatment. It targets muscle activity in the forehead area, reducing tension and mimimising wrinkles and fine lines.

I went to Skin Deep in Elstree, which specialises in advanced skin care technology. Facialist Lisa Coleman asked about my usual skincare routine, scrutinised my skin (slightly red, but, on the whole, not bad), and went through what I should expect. As an Environ® virgin, I would not be able to have the full Ionzyme Machine, as clients should be on at least Level 2 AVST for a couple of weeks, to make sure the skin can tolerate Vitamin A. A slight disappointment, for reasons of review, I must admit.

The Focus Frown facial begins with a thorough cleansing and toning: a rich, mineral oil-based cleanser, expertly massaged into my skin. Next came the application of the Serum. The active raw ingredient is a complex of Argireline® (known to help reduce the depth of wrinkles), Leuphasyl and Vialox, then topped up with vitamins A and C serum. Lisa concentrated the treatment on lines on the forehead and the ‘smile’ lines at the side of the eyes, avoiding the delicate skin.

The Ionzyme machine would be used at this point to enhance the delivery of the product. It also increases the penetration of the frown-inhibiting and skin-firming vitamin ingredients applied, up to forty-fold, according to Environ®.

The remainder of my treatment followed the normal pattern. Lisa applied probes to the eye and frown areas for ten minutes to transmit a low-frequency sound wave to drive the Focus Frown Serum into the skin. Then came what was undoubtedly the part that felt most strange. A mask of cool, hydrating alginate, based on mineral-rich and softening algaes, was painted on and electrodes attached which deliver a pulsed galvanic current to increase penetration of the serums. This is left on for about ten minutes, while the active ingredients easily pass through the natural barrier layer of the skin to address the processes involved in wrinkle formation. The mask then ‘rubberises’ and is peeled off.

Lisa finished by giving my skin a brilliant boost of hydration using Environ®’s Intensive Hydrating Oil Capsules and some gentle, but really relaxing massage.
I was delighted with the results, even without the additional benefit of the Ionzyme Machine. My skin was rejuvenated, softened and plumped up, and, most importantly, there was a marked improvement in my offending frown lines. I’ve followed Lisa’s advice and used the serum regularly, too, and I’ve been making a conscious effort to add in some facial exercises to try to keep the lines at bay…

The treatment takes approximately 45 minutes and costs £70 at Skin Deep. Ideally, a minimum of six sessions is recommended, at once to twice a week.

Skin Deep, 49 Lodge Avenue, Elstree, 020 8236 0429 •

Environ® Focus Frown Serum rrp £119 from Skin Deep, or call 020 8450 2020 for stockists

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