It was only a matter of time, really. Beyond Medispa, one of Knightsbridge’s most popular cosmetic clinics has migrated north of the border and settled comfortably on the second floor of Harvey Nichols, Edinburgh. Celebrated by Vogue, revered by Tatler and coveted by just about everyone in the know, the spa’s reputation precedes it. But, what exactly lies behind those shiny, shiny doors? And what does it mean for beauty as we know it?
A browse in the treatment catalogue, and the first thing that strikes you is the sheer number of therapies available. Some are invasive, for the purpose of correction, but others are simply for relaxation and enjoyment; who could resist the deliciously exotic sounding Deep Heat Lava Shell Massage? Or perhaps the Absolute Face and Body Ritual? These treatments are not simply a quick mani-pedi down at the local salon– they are the ultimate luxury, no matter whether you’re 18 or 80. Beauty on this level is no longer merely about looking good – it is a ceremony, a sacrament to feeling good too.
But what of the invasive therapies? Once upon a time, a word like “Botox” would conjure up terrifying images of women with permanently surprised expressions, or lips that resembled a creature half human, half fish. People laughed, “more money than sense, those celebrities”. In short, it was as much of a no-go zone as the library on a Friday night. But science cannot help but advance, and the last few years have brought new chemicals which look completely natural and help enhance already strong features.
At the recent Medispa press launch, I watched a rather beautiful young woman have five small injections into her forehead. It was surprisingly quick, and I was more than relieved at the distinct lack of blood and screaming. In fact, Cheryl beamed with delight. I was intrigued as to why she felt the need to have such invasive therapy at such a young age, and was told that she had a deep frown line, which could be easily and fairly painlessly improved before it got any worse. Treatments such as this are not performed without a consultation with the resident GP, who has every right to refuse a patient should they not require or not fully understand the procedure.
Many younger clients are less worried about lines and more concerned about skin quality; acne and its consequential scars can last far beyond adolescence and are often a source of extreme discomfort. Medispa offer a variety of solutions, with minimal recovery times and impressive results. Microdermabrasion stimulates blood flow, allowing optimum skin rejuvenation, while chemical peels remove dead skin cells, creating an even tone and improving clarity.
It would appear then, that the technology used by businesses such as Medispa helps people feel more confident in themselves, the results of which can reach much wider than merely the aesthetic. Whether it’s getting rid of scarring, eliminating a particular wrinkle, or just having an amazing massage, if it makes you feel good, it probably is. This is not changing people as people; this is enhancing and celebrating what they are lucky enough to already have.
Photographer: Megan O’Donnell