Turn back the clock. Image Credit: Shutterstock

New year, new you – four words that never quite ring true. We’re all guilty of it, making resolutions to hit the gym every day (which lasts about a week), embarking on a juice cleanse but caving in after spying a tub of Ben & Jerry’s one day in.

It’s no easy task trying to make yourself look and feel healthier and younger, but if this year you really want to make a difference and turn back time, you can – and all without the scary procedures and freaky chemicals.

Recent innovations and scientific advancements mean you can look younger with treatments that don’t involve going under the knife. With little to no downtime, no tell-tale signs you’ve had anything done and almost no pain or discomfort, it sounds like a win-win.

In recent years the UAE has seen a significant expansion of wellness and healthcare facilities to cater to the needs of its residents, who being a younger, more affluent population not only have the money, but also the desire to look good.

In 2015 figures for the total healthcare market in the region are set to hit Dh44 billion, with Dh11 billion of that accounting for wellness products and services. With new clinics and spas popping up left, right and centre it’s hardly surprising.

We asked Rebecca Treston, Founder and Manager of Rebecca Treston at Euromed and one of the most sought-after medical aestheticians in the UAE, for her recommendations on how to turn back time. She says it’s all about modern-day science.

“Fifteen years ago experts said ultrasound would be the future – it’s probably the best treatment in the world,” Rebecca reveals, speaking of Ultherapy, one of her top anti-ageing treatments (also available at Cocoona Dubai, Jumeirah).

“It works on the same layer that plastic surgeons work on and is the only machine in the world like it. It doesn’t just give you lift, it tightens – and the only way you can achieve this is by working on the muscle. It’s loved by some of Hollywood’s best-known faces, including Courteney Cox, and is the only US Food and Drug Administration-approved device that offers a neck, face and brow lift, as well as being a deep line and wrinkle treatment.”

With no downtime, no cutting or peeling and no obvious signs you’ve had anything done, Ultherapy is just one example of how savvy skincare treatments are becoming.

You can have laser skin resurfacing using carbon dioxide, lift your skin using radio frequency, polish your complexion to perfection with microdermabrasion, have your face covered in needles to banish wrinkles with acupuncture, and even have electric currents sent through your skin in a bid to turn back time – all without a scalpel in sight.

One of the hottest (or rather, coolest) scientific breakthroughs in the region that’s currently taking the beauty world by storm has to be Cryotherapy – the use of extremely low temperatures to, quite literally, freeze time.

Originally used to treat various health conditions, including stress, insomnia and rheumatism, it’s now being used in the form of a facial thanks to the groundbreaking developments at UAE-based clinic, Cryo Health.

A host of celebrity followers (Demi Moore, Jennifer Aniston and Kate Moss to name a few) are flocking to freeze their faces.

Cryo Health managing partner Benny Parihar tells us, “The future of health and wellness is all about non-invasive holistic treatments such as Cryotherapy. There’s no need to go under the knife to feel and look rejuvenated; it provides an alternative to cosmetic surgery that is much safer and more natural.

“The concept is groundbreaking, and is redefining the meaning of anti-ageing treatments with the way it tightens the skin and stimulates collagen production through the simple use of sub-zero temperatures.”

Sub-zero temperatures means -170°C. As Benny explains, this new facial uses liquid nitrogen to freeze tissue at a cellular level, which disrupts the deeper layers of collagen, resulting in the production of more collagen and increased elasticity. “The temperature of our skin is normally around 36-37°C, but exposure to extreme cold with the use of Cryotherapy drops it down to 3-4°C, bringing blood and collagen to the surface to warm it up, resulting in greater circulation and plumper, smoother skin.”

So if you want to knock back the years and start the new year with a beauty bang, we’ve got the low-down on how to look better than ever with our round-up of the latest amazing anti-ageing treatments and wellness destinations, from the ultra-effective Ultherapy to a sparkling-sounding diamond peel.

Facial reviews

The treatment: Ultherapy, Cocoona, Jumeirah, Dubai

Cost: Eyebrow: Dh4,000; Upper face: Dh6,000; Lower face: Dh14,000; Neck: Dh14,000; Full face: Dh18,000

What is it? A non-invasive ‘facelift’ that works by using ultrasound to stimulate the growth of new collagen, tightening and lifting the skin for up to a year.

The experience: Too squeamish for Botox, I wanted to tackle my crow’s feet, the lines on my forehead and hooded eyes in a painless, non-invasive way. Step forward ultherapy, which is said to have amazing results by using ultrasound to bypass the skin, fat and tissue of the face to reach the same muscle that is heated and ‘moulded’ in a traditional facelift and initiate the body’s natural repair process. New collagen then grows, which lifts and smooths the skin. So far so fabulous.

“‘What’s the catch?” I asked myself, heading into the state-of-the-art treatment centre to be treated by plastic surgeon Dr Sanjay Parashar. Apart from the price – an eye-watering Dh18,000 for a full face – it’s also not necessarily pain-free (I was advised to take a strong painkiller an hour beforehand), and can only work on muscle, so any hopes of fixing my double chin are out. “You have good skin – it’s thick and relatively unlined,” Dr Sanjay says. He then points out my hooded eyes and lines, and begins marking up my face with pen. “We can lift your brow, eradicate lines and give you a better shape,” he smiles.

Markings complete – to ensure symmetry – I’m asked to lie down on a bed and Dr Sanjay applies gel to my forehead. “This might hurt but we’ll start gently,” he says and ‘zaps’ my forehead. It feels like an elastic band is being pinged on my skin and doesn’t hurt. “That’s the gentlest setting,” he says, going down the side of my face, focusing on my wrinkles. After the first cycle he sets the machine to a stronger setting. It feels hot this time, yet still isn’t unpleasant.

He then sets it at the maximum so that the ultrasound will go down to the Smas muscle at 4.5mm – the same one treated in a facelift. “You might want this,” Dr Sanjay’s assistant says, handing me some kind of a stress ball. “You can press if it hurts and it will vibrate to distract you from the pain.” Scared, 
I grab it, but the final zaps still don’t hurt – it’s like being flicked, and afterwards the area feels warm. Twenty minutes later, the treatment is done. “It will take up to three months to see the final results,” Dr Sanjay says, making an appointment to see me in two months. I check my reflection and am relieved to see there is no swelling or any marks.

The results: My forehead feels like I have brain freeze – like after eating ice cream very fast – for a few days, but instantly I can see that all the lines around my eyes have gone! My cheeks are sharper and people notice, asking what I’ve done. “Blusher,” I lie. I can feel something happening deep inside my skin – like my forehead is actually pulling up the muscles and skin at the temples to lift my eyes. Over the next few weeks my skin is smoother, looks plumper and younger, and I don’t have any lines. It’s my new anti-ageing secret.

To book: Call 04 394 1090 or 04 3884 589 or visit www.cocoona.ae.

The treatment: Clearlift, Dermalase Clinic, Jumeirah, Dubai

Cost: Dh1,500 per a 40-minute session – a package of four sessions for Dh4,000

What is it? A Q-switched laser works on the deepest layer of the skin to minimise pores, eradicate wrinkles and plump and smooth skin.

The experience: Since moving to Dubai just over three years ago I have upped my days at the beach, so my skin is sun-dried, parched and wrinkled. My once plump facial skin looks dull and there are deep lines around my eyes and furrows on my forehead. I don’t want to go for Botox yet and think fillers are too invasive, so I decided to try out the latest in laser fractional resurfacing, which is done using a Q-switched laser. It all sounds very complicated, and a little scary, but I’m reassured it’s just like having a chemical peel, but less painful and with little or no downtime.

My therapist says I’m the perfect patient – because my skin is so sun-aged! I’m ushered into a room and asked to lie down. I am covered, my eyes protected and then the therapist begins lasering my face. It is like being in a tanning booth, with the laser machine targeting every wrinkle and defect. My therapist explains that short but powerful bursts of laser light are passing through into the deepest layers of my skin to stimulate collagen and elastin. It isn’t painful but is uncomfortable as the laser heats up the skin. The therapist goes over my entire face and neck – it even works on ears! – and 40 minutes later I am done.

My skin is slightly red but calms down over the next few days. I have a follow-up session every two weeks and by the third session colleagues are commenting on how much younger I look!

The results: The large pores on my nose have gone, my skin looks radiant, my wrinkles are less visible and there’s no scarring or pain. My rough-looking skin is now soft and smooth. I definitely look a decade younger – this is a quick way of turning back the clock. It’s much cheaper than a lot of other treatments too!

To book: Call 04 349 7880 or visit www.dermaclinicdubai.com.

The treatment: Pristine Diamond Peel Microdermabrasion, Rebecca Treston at Euromed Clinic, Dubai

Cost: Dh800 for 45 minutes

What is it? A deep exfoliating treatment that gives your complexion a smoother surface and promotes the growth of healthy new cells, also improving skin texture by polishing the topmost layer and then vacuuming away dead skin cells.

The experience: As I entered the Rebecca Treston clinic I was greeted by therapist Marissa, who with her warm smile showed me to my treatment room and went on to explain what the procedure entails. Offering a non-invasive full-scope exfoliation, it promises instant results as it whisks away dead cells from the surface to give you softer skin and a refreshed complexion.

It all sounded a bit too good to be true for just one treatment. Marissa started by cleansing my face before using the Pristine Diamond tip machine. I was expecting it to be a little uncomfortable, but I hardly felt a thing. The only way I can describe it is it was like a hoover going across my skin – sucking up dead cells. Each diamond tip is designed with a specific coarseness grade and tip size to allow different areas of the face to be worked on with varied intensity.

Marissa changed the tip to a smaller one to work on the nose and delicate eye area, really getting into every nook and cranny. It was a nice sensation, as I felt my face getting buffed clean.

This was followed by Viora Infusion Mesotherapy – a gentle exfoliation that allows skin to absorb vitamins and minerals from the hydrating serum that is then massaged in. A mask was then poured on my face and left to set for about 10 minutes before it was peeled off. Marissa finished by massaging my face with a light moisturiser.

The results: When Marissa handed me the mirror, I gasped. Gone was the tired, dry skin – in its place 
was a refreshed, bright complexion. 
I looked at least five years younger! It’s a miracle worker and gets a 10/10 from me for instant results. Amazing!

To book: Call 04 394 5422 or visit www.euromedclinicdubai.com.

The treatment: Age Support Facial, The Spa, The Address, Dubai Marina

Cost: Dh720 for 80 minutes

What is it? It’s an intensive structure repair facial targeting ageing problems at the skin’s cellular level.

The experience: Inside the haven of The Spa at the Address, my therapist Nyoman explains that she will check my face for obvious problems – such as large pores, wrinkles, pigmentation, dehydration – and tailor the products to my needs. My skin is sensitive, she says, and so uses the well-renowned Spanish brand Natura Bissé’s sensitive range. This facial isn’t just about using the right beauty products though – she will also be using key amino acids, and A, E and C vitamins to penetrate into my skin and reactivate the cells’ function to reverse the anti-ageing process.

All this targeted nourishment, along with her lifting massage, will leave my skin radiant, and looking and feeling firmer, she promised. She began by cleansing my face, using a ceutical toner before applying a glycol peel. 
It contains sugarcane and tingles as it sets to work, sloughing off all the dead skin. My hands, arms, shoulders, neck and scalp are all massaged while the peel is working, and I’m instantly relaxed, all the stresses of the working week melting away.

After removing the peel, a toner was used and then an Essential Shock Intense concentrate applied to give my skin some deep-down nourishment, followed by Essential Shock Cream while Nyoman massaged my face. She lifted, pushed, pinched and smoothed, manipulating my skin with her hands so that she was literally lifting it into shape, like giving it a good anti-ageing workout.

Afterwards, she applied a mask, even over my eyes, and massaged my legs while it worked. At the end of 80 blissful minutes, the mask is removed, and I’m ready to go.

The results: My skin is luminous, super-smooth and firm. It’s incredible to think this has been achieved with massage and the right creams and vitamins. I went out that night and received a lot of compliments about my glowing skin. I’ve already booked an Age Support massage for next month!

To book: Call 04 436 7424 or email spa.dubaimarina@theaddress.com.