The beauty industry is eternally dreaming up new ways to replicate the effects of cosmetic surgery procedures, without actually necessitating a scalpel or an anaesthetic.
We took a deep look at a few of the newer beauty innovations, which don't require invasive surgery, to see what's been developed in the last 12 months or so.
The Phi Principle
Drawing on the mathematical principles of Phi (otherwise known as The Golden Ratio - a precise distancing of the features of an object, making it 'beautiful'), a new sort of (non-surgical) facelift has been developed.
Achieving Phi is said to be the key to divine proportion and has been used to great effect throughout history in art and architecture.
At the Phi Clinic, Dr Patel applies the Phi formula to the Instagram age and uses it as the foundation of his 'face lift,' a procedure that uses non-surgical techniques to lift and rejuvenate the face.
Specific areas of the face are injected with Juvederm dermal filler to produce natural looking 'lift' that requires no invasive surgery and no downtime. The results of this innovation has been overwhelmingly positive, earning PHI CLINIC a platitude of awards including 'Best Clinic Of The Year'
Widely used among athletes to relieve pain and accelerate recovery time, cryotherapy has, in recent years, been adopted by the wellness industry for its numerous cosmetic benefits, which include weight loss (it is claimed you can burn up to 600 calories in one 3 minute session) and the treatment of conditions like insomnia, psoriasis and eczema.
Celebrity fans that swear by it include Cristiano Ronaldo, Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Alba and Daniel Craig.
So what is it exactly and how does it work?
Whole Body Cyrotherapy (WBC) essentially involves standing in a very cold tank for 2-4 minutes. And by 'very cold', we mean sub-zero, minus -90c cold. Cold that should be unthinkable but, due to the fact that it is created by electrical technology and not affected by environmental factors like wind chill, is completely manageable and bizarrely really rather exhilarating to experience.
It works by stimulating the blood vessels: they constrict in extreme temperatures and once back to room temperature the blood rushes to the surface of your skin resulting in a rosy glow. The extreme cold also stimulates collagen synthesis and reduces inflammation on the cellular level. And the weight loss? That works by tricking your body into thinking it's in crisis - put simply, the body burns energy and by extension calories, just to survive.
Prices start at £90 for one 3 minute full body session and I visited the UK's first gas-free CRYO chamber (traditional chambers use liquid nitrogen) which is exclusive to Harvey Nichols and brought to you by Dr Yannis Alexandrides founder of 111 Harley St.
The clinic have also just introduced a face and body serum to the market and, having tried them both, I can report that they really are very effective at mimicking the the 'rosy glow' effect I had when I used the chamber.
Cryotherapy: very cool indeed
111CRYO 4th Floor Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge
I first heard about Mesotherapy through a friend of mine who is 50-years-old, but doesn't look a day over 30.
When I asked for the name of her doctor, I expected her to reel off a list of various surgeries - facelift, thread-lift, botox and so on, but instead she came back with just one non- surgical, lunch time procedure: Mesotherapy.
At that point, I vowed to find out more about this relatively new innovation in injectables.
Mesotherapy involves the injection of a specially prepared mixture of vitamins, amino acids and medications, placed just millimetres under the skin and works by plumping and deeply hydrating the tissue, in turn softening surface lines caused by dehydrated skin.
The actual preparation injected into the mesoderm (or surface layer of the skin) during Mesotherapy depends on the problem being treated.
In general, the substances used can include: a local anaesthetic, and products that may reduce inflammation and treat veins, muscle relaxants, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, plant extracts, hormones, and hormone blockers; to name but a few.
The results are subtle but effective; this treatment isn't designed for the removal of any scarring or sun spots, the intention is to brighten and firm your skin so that it is the best version of its regular self. One treatment will ensure that you look like you've slept for a week and lived on a diet of green vegetables - who wouldn't want to cheat that?
The clinic at 111 Harley S, 111SKIN have recently taken the innovation further by introducing the Meso Infusion Micro Masks - the first of its kind in Europe - as an at home alternative to clinical MesoTherapy.
For Mesotherapy click here.
For Meso Infusion Micro Masks, click here.
The Dentist Gallery
The Dentist Gallery is a first-of-its-kind private dental practice with a totally unique concept - the waiting room is also an art gallery, plus reflexology, massages and sound therapy are offered as part of your treatment plan.
A post procedure relaxation room that uses bespoke immersive colour experience (mycocoon) is also on offer, as is the very latest in dental innovation.
An online booking system makes booking appointments quick and easy and all patients receive a USB stick with their dental records, images, scans and videos explaining the treatments they are going to have.
It's a practice unlike any other and the objective is to relieve many of the fears usually associated with the dentist by relaxing, rebalancing and re-energising you through a full body sensory experience.
Find out more about The Dentist Gallery here.
The 24 Hour Boob Job
Ok, so we are obviously lovers of all boobs - seriously, every boob in every shape, size, dimension, age and all that jazz. Boobs are great, okay?
But that doesn't mean that some of us have never secretly wanted to bigger boobs, but been too scared of the permanent commitment.
Ever bought the perfect LBD for that perfect event only to lament the fact that the only accessory really fitting of it is a good sized chest? Yes? Well step forward Norman Rowe, a New York based plastic surgeon, playing fairy godmother to Cinderellas everywhere ...for one night only.
In about 20 minutes you can go from flat chested to cleavage proud with his InstaBreast technique - the effects of which last for only 24 hours.
The method is remarkably simple, he designates a site on the edge of each nipple and after the area is anesthetized, injects about a half litre of saline solution into the patient's breast tissue. The saline is gradually absorbed into the bloodstream, with the full effect lasting around 24 hours.
Saline solution is considered perfectly safe, it's the same stuff you would get in an IV if you were dehydrated. Breathing new life into the 'try before you buy' adage, the majority of Rowe's patients undergo the procedure as a precursor to permanent augmentation - it provides a reality that computer imaging just can't mimic.
Of course it's not without its drawbacks: injection of any form is susceptible to infection and there is a risk of permanent stretch marks if you continually opt for the procedure over a period of time. However, as innovations in cosmetics go, this is one of the most sophisticated. Coming to a London clinic near you soon
CoolSculpting was first approved by the FDA in 2010, but recently gained attention when it was rebranded as as a non-invasive alternative to liposuction. This year it's the hot ticket on the cosmetic circuit, but how does it actually work?
Put simply, CoolSculpting adopts cryolipolysis technology to freeze unwanted fatty deposits beneath the skin which are then processed and flushed out naturally by the body.
The application is through rounded paddles which suction your skin and fat like a vacuum - all you have to do is sit back and try to ignore the mild discomfort. There is no pain, no downtime and no scarring, earning Coolsculpting the moniker of the 'lunchtime lipo.'
Ideal for those who carry small pockets of stubborn fat and who are looking for an effective alternative to liposuction, it is not a substitute for healthy diet and exercise, not is it suitable for those who are obese or have dense pockets of fat. Results are noticeable but subtle which means this procedure is used most effectively for body contouring rather than significant fat loss.
If you are considering surgery...
At Elle we don't advocate cosmetic surgery of any kind, but we do see that it's an industry on the rise. Last year, a record number of more than 51,000 Britons underwent cosmetic surgery according the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. Of that number, 46,526 were women.
Breast enlargements topped the list of most popular procedures, closely followed by eyelid surgery and neck lifts. Liposuction saw the biggest year-on-year increase, with a 20 per cent rise compared to 2015.
If you are considering surgery then it's is of paramount importance that you research your clinic and your doctor thoroughly and look at those that have excellent ethical, consultation and aftercare procedures.
The relationship you develop with your doctor should be as highly regarded as the aesthetic outcome and watch out for red flags such as £250 consultation fees and any practice that doesn't introduce you to your operating surgeon in the first appointment.
MyAesthetics is a clinic that has been credited with some of the best aftercare and consultation procedures in the country. Created by a collective of the very best surgeons in the UK, a life-time aftercare policy and unlimited visits to your doctor are offered as standard. The clinic originated in breast surgery but has now introduced further world class surgeons and areas of practice including rhinoplasty, liposuction and fat transfer.
Trust. Care. Attention to Detail: these are the principles that should guide any of your decisions regarding cosmetic procedure. Happily it's those very same words that lie at the very heart of the MyAesthetics ethos.
For more information, click here.