Beauty

Don’t want bo­tox be­cause of the tox­ins? Or li­po­suc­tion be­cause of the nee­dles? Then cryo tech­nol­ogy may be the pro­ce­dure for you, Grace Ti­mothy re­ports

Friday - - Society Living Leisure -

Is cry­otech­nol­ogy the new beauty breakthrough that will fi­nally ban­ish Bo­tox?

Kate Moss re­cently re­vealed she starts ev­ery day by stick­ing her face in a wash­basin filled with iced wa­ter. And she may well be on to some­thing, be­cause ev­ery­where from Hol­ly­wood to Har­ley Street is cre­at­ing its own cold snap this year, us­ing sub-zero tem­per­a­tures to elim­i­nate fat, wrin­kles and, quite pos­si­bly, the need for nee­dles. But can these new freez­ing tech­nolo­gies re­ally stop time, as Bo­tox claims to, or re­shape your body, in the way that li­po­suc­tion does?

For the face

Ni­cole Kid­man says she has quit for good. Ju­lia Roberts won’t touch the stuff. Cindy Craw­ford went cold turkey years ago. Whether it’s the Os­car-im­ped­ing lack of ex­pres­sion, the pain, or the in­flux of tox­ins, Bo­tox has lost a few fans. En­ter Iovera – or fro­tox, as it’s af­fec­tion­ately known – the non-in­va­sive way to dis­able the wrin­kle-form­ing mus­cles.

De­vel­oped by Myoscience, a Cal­i­for­nia-based med­i­cal tech­nol­ogy group, Iovera uses fo­cused cold ther­apy to tem­po­rar­ily freeze the nerves in the fore­head. A small, hand­held de­vice called a cry­oprobe chan­nels liq­uid ni­tro­gen through a sealed nee­dle to the fa­cial nerves at the tem­ples. At the tip, it changes into gas in up to eight 30-se­cond bursts, tem­po­rar­ily still­ing the nerve. In a clin­i­cal trial of 133 peo­ple, con­ducted by Myoscience, 96 per cent of sub­jects saw an im­prove­ment in the ap­pear­ance of dy­namic lines – those that ap­pear as you make fa­cial expressions.

In Amer­ica, where fro­tox is more com­monly used for pain man­age­ment, the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion hasn’t as yet ap­proved its use as a wrin­kle treat­ment, and no Dubai-based clin­ics are ad­ver­tis­ing their use of Iovera ei­ther as a cos­metic sub­stance or as a way to treat pain, but in Bri­tain they have two Mr Freezes on hand. Dr Vin­cen­tWong, a cos­metic doc­tor, launched the ser­vice in April at La Mai­son de l’Esthé­tique (there’s al­ready a three-week wait­ing list), while Dr Yan­nis Alexan­drides of­fi­cially launched in June.

The ap­peal is clear: no tox­ins. And un­like Bo­tox, which can take up to a week to take effect, the im­pact of fro­tox is in­stant. “It doesn’t give you that frozen look you of­ten get with Bo­tox, ei­ther,” saysWong. “And it can pre­vent deeper lines form­ing, so has a younger fan base – some as young as 25.”

Fro­tox isn’t without its lim­i­ta­tions, though. “It only treats the fore­head and be­tween the brows right now,” the Amer­i­can plas­tic surgery ad­vis­erWendy Lewis cau­tions. “And it only usu­ally lasts be­tween 90 and 120 days, so not as long as Bo­tox.”

The “no nee­dles, no pain” clause is also up for de­bate, as lo­cal anaes­thetic is first in­jected, and some ex­pe­ri­ence the “brain freeze” that ice cream can trig­ger, as well as sen­si­tive gums. Fi­nally, there’s the cost – from £300 (Dh1,700) for the fore­head alone, com­pared with £240 for Bo­tox across two ar­eas – and it is ex­pected to rise later in the year as de­mand in­creases.

Some ar­gue against a fro­tox fu­ture. “It has a place in con­tem­po­rary age-main­te­nance treat­ment for pa­tients who are re­sis­tant or hy­per­sen­si­tive to Bo­tox,” says cos­metic doc­tor Dr Jean-Louis Se­bagh. “But for the time be­ing, it doesn’t of­fer the same de­gree of fi­nesse.”

Wong, who also of­fers Bo­tox at his clinic, con­curs. “Only about 20 per cent of my Iovera pa­tients are for­mer Bo­tox users – it’s a unique treat­ment with a very dif­fer­ent mech­a­nism of ac­tion. I don’t think it will re­place Bo­tox.”

Then there’s the 4 per cent of pa­tients who have re­ported dis­ap­point­ing re­sults. Wong is on the case, though, with a new tech­nique. Rather than lo­cat­ing the nerve with a Tens ma­chine (the suc­cess of which de­pends on the doc­tor’s

skill and cur­va­ture of the pa­tient’s tem­ples), he adds ex­tra shots of cold along each tem­ple, tar­get­ing ev­ery sin­gle branch of the nerve. He also uses a top­i­cal numb­ing cream; un­like anaes­thetic, it won’t tem­po­rar­ily freeze the fore­head or thicken the treat­ment area, which can ham­per the ef­fects of Iovera.

For the body

Mean­while, an­other cold ther­apy that’s grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity and is avail­able in Dubai is fat-bust­ing cry­olipol­y­sis, a sys­tem that freezes and kills fat cells. A gel mem­brane is ap­plied to the area, and a de­vice with a cup-shaped or ob­long head sucks the roll of fat up into a vac­uum, cool­ing it to low tem­per­a­tures for an hour. Fat cells freeze at a higher tem­per­a­ture than the sur­round­ing tis­sue, so it prom­ises not to al­ter other cells. The dead fat cells are in­gested by white blood cells and ex­creted nat­u­rally. Clin­i­cal tri­als have shown a 20 to 30 per cent re­duc­tion in fat af­ter just one treat­ment, and the only known side ef­fects – bruis­ing, tin­gling, swelling and numb­ness – are rare. Most pa­tients re­turn to nor­mal ac­tiv­i­ties straight af­ter­wards.

Not ev­ery fat fighter will be a can­di­date – known as “the fat treat­ment for thin peo­ple”, you have to be fairly slim to ben­e­fit, ad­mits Jill Zan­der, an aes­theti­cian who runs a skin re­ju­ve­na­tion clinic in the UK. “Ide­ally, you’ll have a BMI be­tween 18 and 28, with lo­calised fat de­posits such as the muf­fin top, love han­dles or back.” It’s prov­ing es­pe­cially pop­u­lar with women strug­gling to get rid of resid­ual baby weight.

How­ever, as with fro­tox, it’s not for ev­ery­one who might have pre­vi­ously signed up for more es­tab­lished pro­ce­dures. As well as be­ing the re­quired shape, you have to have the bank bal­ance to suit. Treat­ments cost from Dh3,000 for a sin­gle treat­ment on a small area. While there’s no down­time, it’s by no means in­stant, ei­ther – re­sults be­come ap­par­ent be­tween two and six months af­ter treat­ment. Fi­nally, you can’t ex­pect to wave good­bye to the wob­ble al­to­gether, as it won’t firm up skin.

For now, even Dr Alex Karidis, a cry­olipol­y­sis pro and a cos­metic doc­tor, ad­mits sur­gi­cal lipoplasty pro­ce­dures – in­clud­ing li­po­suc­tion – are still the gold stan­dard for spot-fat re­duc­tion.

When you’re the one sit­ting in the wait­ing room, how­ever, the pain­less, non-in­va­sive op­tion might win out.

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