What my skin really looks like after the summer holidays (Disclaimer: it's terrifying)

Beauty

Want to know what your skin really looks like after the summer holidays. In short, terrifying – but help is at hand. Read on for Charlotte’s review of Visia Skin Analysis…

What happened?

Skin & Sanctuary is a charming salon in Hackney. A discreet black door takes you into the airy, pretty reception room, before I find myself in a treatment room having a consultation. It starts as most consultations do: with a facialist looking at my skin and commenting that yes, it looks OK, though there’s a bit of sun damage.

Then it gets really scary, because Skin & Sanctuary has a whizzy high tech machine called Visia, which does a skin analysis. You take off any make up and look into the machine, which flashes a bright light three times. The results then appear instantly on a screen.

It’s very much a snapshot of your skin on the particular day – meaning, things can change and be worked on. Visia assesses parameters including spots, cleanliness, wrinkles and UV spots, and shows you a photo of your skin deep beneath the surface, showing just how far down a skin issue goes. The damage isn’t yet visible to the human eye, but it’s there lurking. I will say I gasped out loud when I saw my pics – they’re utterly horrifying.

My results

Wrinkles 26%
Texture 59%
Pores 28%
UV spots 8%
Brown spots 1%
Red areas 3%

For the first three factors, apparently, the higher the better. It compares your face to the average for your age – so my texture is in the top 59th percentile, which makes it clean and bouncy, whereas my number of wrinkles and visible pores puts me in the bottom 26th and 28th. “If it’s, say, 60 per cent, your skin health would come in at number 60 out of 100,” Sonia at Skin & Sanctuary tells me.

UV spots and brown spots are my main issues – horrifyingly, those percentages put me in the bottom eight and one per cent for my age group. I am a sunbather and I am ashamed.

Why bother?

The good news is once you know what the real problem is – which the naked eye really can’t detect – you can tailor make a skin regime that works entirely for you and what is happening beneath the surface of your skin. If your skin was particularly dirty you could figure out a good regime involving, say, double cleansing, or if acne was an issue, you could talk to a dermatologist about causes and treatments. My key problems are pigmentation and sun damage.

I start with a Hydrafacial, which adds lots of moisture into the face, targeting dehydration. Vicki also uses a red light and a green light for me, which is good for pigmentation. it also involves a deep cleanse of the pores, using the Hydrafacial machine and manually – at the end, you can see water has turned from clear to dirty, which is fascinating and gross at the same time. It ends with Vitamin C application, to protect against the elements.

Vicki then sits me down and talks me through the treatment options best suited for my post summer skin: intense peels, she says, and a real commitment to SPF and staying out the sun. I’ve always been scared of peels, but having seen beneath the surface, I’m seriously tempted.

Visia Skin Analysis is a must for anyone who wants to know more about their skin, and come up with a plan of action.

By Charlotte

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