Dr Prenna Jones
From cardiologist to anti-ageing guru
Dr Frances Prenna Jones’s former colleagues used to call her “the quack”. She trained as an NHS cardiologist, and thought nothing of being woken at two in the morning to perform an emergency angioplasty, so it came as something of a surprise when she decided to turn her attentions to cosmetic dermatology instead.
“Now that my colleagues are all approaching 50, they’re changing their tune,” she says, laughing. “They’re asking me for advice.”
It was an anaesthetist friend of hers, who worked for plastic surgeons, who suggested the change.
“He said, ‘You know, I think you’d be amazing at all the cosmetic stuff because you’re geeky and science-y but also you have an aesthetic eye’,” she recalls, “And something just clicked.” But the transition was not straightforward. Seventeen years ago, when Prenna Jones decided to change careers, cosmetic dermatology was still in its infancy and she had to spend time retraining in Brazil and Australia, before setting up her own clinic in London’s Mayfair.
Today, Prenna Jones is one of the most sought-after cosmetic doctors in the UK. Her celebrity clientele includes Davina Mccall, Louise Redknapp and Millie Mackintosh – those are the ones who have gone on record: other rumoured clients are singers, actresses and more than one supermodel. Her treatments
‘People think, I don’t have to age the way my parents aged any more’
comprise mesotherapy (an anti-ageing procedure involving tiny injections into the surface of the skin), fillers (she prefers to call them “volume replacers”) and, of course, Botox.
Such procedures have, in the past, been dismissed as superficial sticking plasters for a generation obsessed by looks. But Prenna Jones insists that what she offers is “real medicine”: applying the knowledge she gleaned as a cardiologist to a different area of the body. “It’s not just about external ageing, it’s about internal ageing and the synergy between the two,” she explains. “There have been lots of studies showing that if you look better on the outside, you function better on the inside. It’s preventive medicine.”
She also notes that her grandmother, who died last year at the age of 105, had taken care of her appearance until the very end: “One of the reasons she lived so long is that she got up and did her hair, put her make-up on and went out and was cheerful and friendly,” says Prenna Jones. “I genuinely do think that.”
Indeed, research published in 2009 in the British Medical Journal found that looking young as you age directly correlates with living longer. The study examined 1,826 twins and found that the twin who looked older died earlier than their younger-looking twin. Further studies have shown that taking care of your appearance actively reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which can negatively affect the cardiovascular system.
There’s also the reassurance that Prenna Jones is a proper doctor, or – as she puts it, “if s---- happens, I know what to do, which is why I worry about people coming into this business without a medical background.”
Her top tips for skincare are surprisingly simple: she advocates following a strict cleansing routine, wearing daily SPF and putting an extra coat of Vaseline over eye cream to give an additional level of moisture. She also advises looking out for products that contain antioxidants – particularly if you live in the city. The Prenna Jones “hero” product is Formula 2006, a glass bottle filled with gingercoloured liquid, an infusion of vitamins, antioxidants and anti-ageing ingredients that work together to rejuvenate and protect the skin.
Formula 2006 is a one-stop solution and, just like Prenna Jones herself, incredibly efficient. She admits to being “regimented”. At home, her black tights are sorted in zip-lock bags according to whether they are sheer or opaque. “I’m very organised. You’re talking to a girl who walked into a cardiology outpatients’ clinic and there were 150 patients to be seen. You had to learn pretty fast to get things done.”
Prenna Jones still describes herself as “a geek” and is the only qualified doctor in the UK to have a private research and development laboratory in Dorset, where she creates her own products – the latest range,
“The Fixers”, launches this week, promising to revolutionise your skin and there is science behind it: the Fix DDSS soothing balm, for instance, is designed to soothe both the immunogenic and neurogenic inflammation which often causes sensitive skin. Ingredients including Omega 6 ceramides, hyaluronic acid and camomile, which combine to maintain the barrier lipid layer of skin.
If it all sounds baffling, then in person, Prenna Jones is an exceptional advertisement for her own skill: a petite blonde with high cheekbones and pale, almost translucent skin. She refuses to give her own age, but a few conversation clues reveal she must be in her late 40s, although she could easily pass for a 30-year-old.
She says her goal is to make a client look “fresh and the best version of yourself ” so that when someone compliments your appearance “all you have to say is ‘thank you very much’. You don’t have to explain yourself.” The age range of her patients tends to be from around 35 to 65, although her oldest is 89. “And she’s fabulous,” she grins. Prenna Jones, however, is not shy about turning clients away. Recently a long-standing patient brought in her young daughter who wanted injectables to plump up her lips. The first thing she did was to bring up a series of Instagram pictures on her phone of models and reality stars with over-inflated trout pouts.
“And I said ‘Ok, we’re not going to do that’,” Prenna Jones concludes crisply. Social media feeds full of eggshell-smooth foreheads, overinflated lips and cheekbones contoured to within an inch of absurdity are a concern. “It worries me enormously,” she admits. “Do I say no [when people ask for a similar look]? Goodness, yes. Those young girls, in 10 or 15 years, will they say: ‘Why did you do that to me?’”
This grounded attitude is surely the legacy of a no-nonsense upbringing in Wales, where both parents were GPS and where Prenna Jones later studied medicine at Cardiff University. Her parents taught her that, in order to be a good doctor, you always have to put the patient first. It’s a philosophy she’s carried into her own practice. And over the years, Prenna Jones has noticed a shift in how anti-ageing is perceived. “I think there’s less stigma associated with treatment. There’s a big turnaround in the sense that people think ‘I don’t have to age the way my parents aged any more’.”
There’s also been an upsurge in the number of men coming for treatment – Prenna Jones says over 25 per cent of her clients are male, “and because what I do is science-based, it gets results and that’s what men are interested in… People are much better informed than they were.”
She lets slip that it’s her 25-year university reunion soon. Now that she’s one of the most highly soughtafter practitioners in her field, I very much doubt any of her contemporaries will still be calling Frances Prenna Jones “the quack”.
Frances Prenna Jones’s new range, The Fixers, is available to purchase via her website: drfrancesprennajones.com
Celebrity facialist: Frances Prenna Jones, at her salon, right, applies her knowledge she gleaned as a cardiologist to cosmetic dermatology
Sought-after: clients include Louise Redknapp, above, and Davina Mccall, left