Monday, 27 January 2014


27th  January
The Tiniest Trefusis has taken to having breakfast in character: we can't have porridge unless she becomes Baby Bear and I, Mummy Bear. The porridge is sometimes too hot, or too cold, but fortunately Goldilocks has yet to make an appearance, Possibly because no one's in the mood for a walk in the woods at seven am. Also, the woods proper are a bit far from West London. Occasionally, The Tiniest T likes breakfast in the character of Blue Kangaroo - this means she has to sit on my lap to eat, and I must regularly say 'I love you, Blue Kangaroo'. I do love blue kangaroo,  I love baby bear and most of all I love The Tiniest T but is it churlish of me to say that I find breakfast time a little early to get into imaginative role-play?
'Yes,' said Dr Russo when we met for lunch, doing that steepling thing with his hands that all expensive Harley Street types seem to when offering you their considered opinion, 'I think it is good'.

I think 'it' - my face, or rather, the results of his handiwork on my face - is good too. The Fraxel (Dual for those who like specifics) has given me back that much vaunted 'even skin-tone', promised but rarely delivered by upscale serums and creams. The signs of sun damage - brown spots where my freckles had joined the dots - have gone, and with them my freckles, no loss to me,  and the fine lines at the side of my mouth and between my eyebrows have disappeared. 

It's a subtle effect - British women like subtlety, I am told, unlike Russians who require perfection - but it has given me a clearer, fresher, brighter, complexion which no longer requires foundation, just concealer for the shadows under my eyes. 

Another session will yield even more pleasing results, apparently, but I need to gird my loins for this, because although the treatment is rapid and doesn't hurt in the slightest, if you're as fair as me, you look as if you've fallen asleep in the midday sun afterwards, and skin is hot, tight, red and swollen, very like sunburn, albeit without the pain. For a cosmetic procedure with this kind of effectiveness, the 'downtime' is minimal, but really, it is three days before one really wants to show one's face to strangers. However, after three days, one is simply a bit peely, and with makeup, perfectly presentable. 

Is it worth the effort? Absolutely, but do leave a week between treatment and going anywhere you might expect to be photographed. 

Anyway, so that's Fraxel - brilliant for removing the ageing effects of past sun damage, and also brilliant for acne scarring, if one is unfortunate enough to have suffered that as a teenager. 

I spent the rest of lunch quizzing him about celebrities - who has had work and who hasn't, that kind of thing. Apparently, there is absolutely no reason at all nowadays to have a facelift - it can all be done, and much better, with the non-invasive stuff. Madonna - no surgery, no matter what one reads in Grazia. Nigella, absolutely the result of an expert hand with the injectable a and nothing more, 'Though of course,' Says Dr Russo, ''She is part Italian: of course she looks marvellous.' 

(The other thing that Dr Russo is find of saying is that 80% of ageing is preventable ... It's caused by the sun so wear a very high factor sun cream every day, even in London. This is particularly important after Fraxel - there's no point going to the bother of having sun damage removed if one only let's it happen again. The other thing he told me was - with some tact - to lose weight: the choosing of the face over the bottom thing, attributed to Catherine Deneuve, is a myth. I have obediently lost 8lbs - I'll let you know if I think he's right) Dr Luca Russo, 102 Harley Street Clinic
London, W1G 7JB


George Tannenbaum said...

You know, I met Catherine Deneuve, and actually shook her hand.

My wife and I, with my younger daughter, who loved graphic novels, went to the world premiere of the animated movie "Persepolis." Deneuve was there and there was a members' reception afterward that we were invited to.

Yes. I haven't yet washed my mitt.

(There was never a more beautiful creature than she in "Umbrellas."

Rose said...

which SPF/ cream though? I really struggle to find a really high factor one that isn't for the beach. I have very pale skin and have always aged really well and suddenly I'm really not! I think it might be stress in part but it's upsetting me!! I bought La Roche Posay but the bottle broke in my bag after 2 days which was- dispiriting shall we say. I have the Shu Umera mousse but it's only factor 35. Hmm.

Helen Brocklebank said...

i think Factor 35 is fine - Clinique is about to bring out a sun block for wearing under one's foundation, but Clarins and Lancome already do one. Certainly for every day use - walking to the bus stop and so on - 30 is as much of a block as one needs.

Anonymous said...

I'd so love to blitz my blotchiness with some Fraxel, although having previously taken Roaccutane, I am too wary foloowing newsreader Kate Silverton's rather horrific experience. Helen, could you possibly recommend the strongest face serum you've ever come across along with the best foundation for very fair, 35 year old combo skin... does natural-looking coverage exist?
I love the children's stories - I wish I had a skerrick of their creativity!