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BATTLE LINES; WITH BEAUTY TREATMENTS THE BIG GIFT THIS CHRISTMAS, WE TRY OUT THE TWO MOST POPULAR.

Byline: LYDIA WHITFIELD

GIFT vouchers for beauty treatments are the surprise hot pressie on Welsh women's wish list this year say experts.

With everyone from Hollywood beauty Catherine Zeta Jones to singer Bonnie Tyler and the woman Wales loves to hate, Anne Robinson, reportedly plumping for cosmetic enhancement, beauty therapists say they've never been in so much demand. Consultants in Wales say the two most popular line-eliminating treatments are Botox injections and Enlighten light treatment.

But do they work, how much do they cost and what would be the best for you?

Reporter LYDIA WHITFIELD enlisted the experts for her definitive guide on the so-called 'lunchtime-lifts'.

ENLIGHTEN WHAT IS IT?

A non-laser light therapy targeted to reach below the cellular level of the skin. This stimulates the body's natural process of tissue tightening, through collagen production, a natural process which becomes less efficient through ageing.

The light was first used to treat different kinds of skin cancers.

Scientists found that warming up the skin can stimulate collagen production - and made patients look younger. Enlighten is manufactured and marketed by LightSource Laboratories.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

A lamp is shone directly to the eye area for 20 minutes each side, ideally, every other day. This stimulates collagen production, which plumps out the skin, giving the effect of filling out crevasses and smoothing out areas where wrinkles or sagging shows. Collagen production visually improves side effects like water retention, swelling and redness, often connected with other anti-ageing treatments.

WHO DOES IT?

Enlighten is an in-salon treatment.

Cost: pounds 30 per treatment or pounds 250 for a 10-treatment course.

HOW LONG DO THE EFFECTS LAST?

The effects of Enlighten can last for seven to 12 months, and can be maintained by one top-up treatment every three months.

Further improvement in skin surface can be expected for up to two weeks after the tenth session.

ADVANTAGES:

Enlighten visibly improves skin smoothness, reduces line and wrinkle depth around the eyes by a maximum of 87 per cent after ten treatments, according to recent studies creating ongoing reduction in line and wrinkle depth after the course of treatment.

Enlighten has no heat emission, unlike infra-red and laser treatments. It's safe, affordable and pain-free.

The light used is less than 10 per cent of recommended amounts in Approved Safety Guidelines. Clients don't even have to remove make-up and Enlighten can be combined with other salon facial treatments.

DISADVANTAGES:

Results vary from person to person and clients are recommended a complete course to see maximum results.

THE PRACTITIONER'S VIEW Sioned Bowen Davies, 30, proprietor at Stiwdio Sioned, Cardiff:

"I've had Enlighten in the salon since June and so far it's proved to be very successful.

"Originally, treatments were offered at pounds 50 per session, but now it's been reduced to pounds 30 ? because it's been so successful. The main reason for its success in my salon is my clients' awareness that it is a non-invasive treatment.

"We're a natural salon offering all kinds of beauty and natural treatments and I feel that as Enlighten is a spectrally pure, non-laser, antiwrinkle light therapy treatment, it complements the other treatments available.

"I also offer workshops once a month allowing clients to try the treatment before committing themselves to a full course."

THE CLIENTS PAT LANE, 47, has completed a 10-session Enlighten course.

She said: "I am really pleased with the results. I had quite a few lines building up and it was expensive, but I had money put aside.

"It was very reassuring to know that Enlighten has a medical background.

I regard some of the other treatments with a bit of suspicion.

"I've finished my first course, but will probably start with the top-up treatments later in the new year. I can see myself continuing with Enlighten for the foreseeable future. Definitely."

SUSAN FRANCES, 49, from South Wales is in the middle of her first course of Enlighten.

"I was beginning to have trouble with the lines around my eyes, but really didn't want any treatment that would give too drastic a transformation.

"I saw a piece on Enlighten in Ladies First magazine, and liked the sound of it. I just felt that it sounded like just what I was after, just right for me.

"The money didn't bother me, because you can pay anything up to pounds 30 for a facial, and I've always really looked after my skin. I've always had facials anyway. I just thought, what have I got to lose?

"I'm very pleased with the results. I began the treatment on November 2 this year, and had three treatments in that first week. The results weren't startling, but it's a big enough difference for me.

"I know you can't turn the clock back, but this treatment is totally natural and I definitely feel a difference in the smoothness of my skin.

"My husband knows that I use Enlighten, but nobody else does. The results are subtle enough, that they don't have to. But anyone deliberately noting would definitely notice the difference in the lines around my eyes.

"I didn't just dismiss Botox. But from what I understood, the effects don't last long, and cost a lot to top-up.

"Enlighten is a far more natural treatment, for less money. You can't go wrong, I don't think."

BOTOX WHAT IS IT?

In bad cases of food poisoning, the botulism toxin paralyses the diaphragm, which stops patients breathing. Working on this idea in the eighties, American Dr Alan Scott injected tiny amounts of the same lethal botulism toxin into certain muscles to immobilise them and treated cross-eyes, facial tics and spasms.

Dr Jean Carruthers was one of the first opthalmologists to use it in 1982, and in 1987, her patient commented on how smooth the skin around her eye had become since treatment. With her dermatologist husband, Dr Carruthers developed Botox as an anti-ageing treatment for facial lines.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

A series of needles as fine as acupuncture needles, are injected into the junction of the skin.

The toxin (Botox) is then absorbed and binds to motor nerve terminals in the muscle to prevent the release of a chemical known as acetylcholine, which causes muscle contractions.

This is turn causes a reversible paralysis, effectively relaxing the muscles that contribute to facial line expressions.

It usually takes three to five days to work, depending on each person.

WHO DOES IT?

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

About pounds 200 per area per treatment. At Cardiff's Cellite Clinic, treatment costs pounds 180 for one area and pounds 35 for each additional area.

About four months. The body breaks it down over time and the muscle returns to normal. Repeat injections last longer and after three treatments, effects can last for a year.

ADVANTAGES:

The treatment is painless, and the only side effect some people experience is a crunching sensation, as the needle separates the skin and muscle fibres. This can be mildly unpleasant rather than painful. The worst you can expect is possible bruising or swelling.

It takes about 3,000 units, injected intravenously, (not into the muscles) to potentially kill a person and the dose used on the face is only between 15 and 60 units. If it did get into the bloodstream by mistake, the solution would be so diluted as to have no effect.

DISADVANTAGES:

The treatment's not permanent and has to be repeated. Complications can arise when Botox gets into the eyelid when you use it on the forehead, and that makes the eyelid droop.

This is only short-term and eyedrops help. It can't improve wrinkles from ageing, because they aren't controlled by facial muscle contractions.

THE CLIENTS CHRISTINE JENNY ROBERTS, 63.

"I became interested in Botox as I began getting older, and felt I needed some sort of lift. The treatment worked out so very well for me. I think Botox is absolutely wonderful.

"Dr Harry is absolutely excellent. I don't go to him just for Botox, I have other treatments at his clinic too.

"I was going to a clinic in Bath, but wasn't particularly happy with it, so I searched around. I wish I'd invested in Botox ten years ago really.

"All my friends think I look fantastic. A few days ago, I was walking to the shops and a complete stranger came up to me and said I looked absolutely gorgeous. I'm always meeting new people.

"I had no pain at all with the treatment. There was nothing. The cost wasn't a drawback for me, because I'd much rather spend some money on Botox or whatever and cut back on other things.

"I really like fashion and would say to any lady to cut back on spending on other things. If you buy four jackets a year, cut back to three and invest in Botox.

"I think the face is so important. It says so much about you, and of course people get their first impressions of you from your face. I do some modelling work for make-overs with a major make-up brand since having the treatment.

"The time comes at different times for everyone. I think every lady will know when the time is right to have a helping hand.

"I've been having the treatment for nine months now. I'm 63 and was told last week I look about 48. It's absolutely marvellous."

THE PRACTITIONER'S VIEW Dr Harryono Judodiharjo, a Cosmetic Dermatologist and Medical Director at Cardiff's Cellite Clinic, has been offering Botox for 18 months.

"Botox has been used since the eighties and people who have had it since then, are still continuing to use it now.

"We use Botox mainly on the upper face to treat wrinkles, but we can use it for oversweating problems, on the palms or armpits and to treat migraine.

"That works in the same way. We knock out nerves that are over-stimulated and produce perspiration. Botox knocks out nerves for six to eight months usually.

"The youngest patients I've had here have been in their twenties. It's better to start young, because you are preventing the development of the wrinkles.

"You start with no wrinkles and then get what we call dynamic wrinkles ? that only appear when you're smiling or making facial expressions.

"If we catch them, we can soften the wrinkles and then they don't progress further. If we don't treat it at that stage, they go on to the next stage, which are static lines.

"These will be worsened by the beginning of movement, but even when there is no movement, you can still see the lines.

"If you know what you're doing, there's no danger with Botox. We don't inject pregnant women, haemophiliacs or people who are allergic to Botox, which is extremely rare.

"The problem with Enlighten is that the treatment area is only very small, usually by the side of the eyes. I think personally, Botox results are more impressive than Enlighten.

"Very few people just want lines treated in one part of the face. Most people want it everywhere but it's still a new treatment."

THE VERDICT INDEPENDENT cosmetic consultant Wendy Lewis, who advises clients on the best doctors and procedures in Britain and America gives her verdict on the wrinkle-erasing crazes.

She said: "It's worth noting that, of all the cosmetic procedures, both surgical and medical, that doctors and dermatologists use, Botox is the one anti-ageing procedure that most doctors use themselves and on their partners." Lewis, who is also the author of 'The Lowdown on Facelifts and Other Wrinkle Remedies' added:

"Enlighten is a very promising treatment. Botox is different entirely, but the two complement each other brilliantly.

"The best choice would be a combination of the two. Botox prevents new lines, and Enlighten diminishes existing lines."

CAPTION(S):

INJECTIONS: Botox PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT:A non-laser treatment to stimulate below cellular level
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 23, 2001
Words:1967
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