03 April 2007

Alice Hart-Davis samples a high-tech treatment to clear up a recurring skin problem

Evening Standard 'Feelgood Factor'

Alice Hart-Davis samples a high-tech treatment to clear up a recurring skin problem What is it? Aesthera PPx (photo-pneumatic therapy) is a new process that combines vacuum suction and treatment with light to tackle a wide range of skin conditions in a much shorter time than other light treatments (such as intense pulsed light or laser). It provides a range of effective treatments for skin conditions such as rosacea and acne. It can also be used for hair removal; to tackle pigmentation - it can be used on brown age spots as well as broken capillaries; and to improve the look of ageing skin on the backs of hands and the d�colletage. Any science to it? The premise is that if skin is stretched, light passes through it more easily. And if light goes through the skin to the dermis (where it works to remove unwanted hair, destroy acne bacteria in the skin or remove pigmentation) then you don't need to use so much, and if you don't need to send such a big pulse of light through the skin, it won't hurt so much (so there is no need for anaesthetic). It can be done five times' faster than other light treatments - which means treating a hairy back could take 20 minutes, rather than 2 hours. The skin is stretched using a device which "vacuums up" the skin, distorting it enough to let the light through more easily. All very clever, and borne out by clinical studies. Reassuringly for potential clients, it also has approval from America's Food and Drug Administration What's it like? I tried the treatment to minimise the breakouts of spots which plague me from time to time (it destroys the bacteria in the skin that encourage spots). As the vacuum suction head works across the face, it feels peculiar but by no means uncomfortable. This is a big plus since light treatments usually hurt; intense pulsed light (or IPL) is like being flicked with an elastic band, while laser treatment is more akin to being stabbed with a small knife. Aesthera PPx is also amazingly quick. It takes around seven minutes to treat the average face and you look perfectly normal, if a little pink, afterwards, so you really could have it done in your lunch hour. A one-off treatment kept spots at bay for a few days. I would need to follow up with other sessions to see greater results.

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