I was, apparently, on the verge of being offered a review sample of the Phillips RéAura but the offer did not materialise. I thought it would have been a great opportunity for Phillips to have their new baby reviewed by someone with a skin type that was different from their usual white Caucasian. I have longstanding issues with my skin, you see. Oily skin in my teens caused acne which wasn’t cured by antibiotics, and no-one warned me that Indian skin scars very easily and takes forever to heal properly. Oily skin does have a huge benefit, to be discovered later though, as I tell my offspring: it ages better and is less prone to wrinkles than white skin. This is, of course, scant consolation when one has a pizza face at 13, but still.
So my anti-ageing issue is not wrinkles. Yes, I do have a couple of frown lines, but they don’t disturb me as much as the hyper-pigmentation caused by the reaction of solar UV and thirty-year old acne scars. It’s not too noticeable during the winter, but a hint of spring sunshine seems to set off a darkening reaction of which I, at least, am very aware. So-called brightening creams don’t help and I don’t want to bleach my face thank you very much. But could anything actually be done about it? I’ve heard about Harley Street Fraxel treatments, but they cost thousands of pounds and apparently yield mixed results. Phillips say that they have worked with the developers of Fraxel and incorporated this technology into the RéAura. I wanted to try the RéAura both for myself and also for the other non-white women who might have this problem and are keen to try and do something about it.
Phillips are annoyingly vague about the impact of their machine on different types of skin. I can only assume this is because the machine is not sufficiently tested on non-white skin types. To be clear, my face is usually a Bobbi Brown Warm Natural shade, darkening to Honey in summer. And many non-white people know that they must be very wary of lasers, as witnessed by incidences of burns and pigmentation from laser hair removal devices. There is virtually no information available on the possible impact of the rejuvenating laser on non-white skins and, let’s face it, who is going to fork out £800, yes that’s right, £800 on a device that might exacerbate their problem? Who?
The answer is me. No, I can’t afford it, but I was considering saving up for Fraxel and this is way cheaper, and the pigmentation on my forehead especially really upsets me in the summer. As we of a more dusky appearance can testify, there is a very small window in the year for laser work: any hint of a tan can muck up the settings on a hair removal laser and cause burning. So if we’re going to do anything at all with lasers, it seems sensible to do it before the sun gets serious. If the RéAura really is as good as people trialling it are saying, there’s no time to wait until they’ve finished their 8 week trials. And if I can review the machine honestly and independently to help other Asian women with similar problems, then that is my random act of kindness, I think.
Now, I have done the odd review where I’ve been sent things for free, but not very often because I won’t compromise on the truth. I don’t see the point. My integrity is important to me and the truth is precious. That I have actually parted with £800 and that no-one can lean on me to give a positive review surely benefits the truth. So here it is:
So, Phillips PR were clueless when I offered them the chance to have their product reviewed by a representative of a major potential market. I’m not bitter. I then went on their website for an online chat about whether the RéAura is suitable for Asian skin. Not much joy there. Two specialists from the skincare team referred me to a specialist team at SpaceNK, currently the exclusive UK retailers of the RéAura, who were more helpful. I decided to go along to one of their stores to try the equipment before I decided whether or not to buy it.
Thus I found myself last Saturday afternoon in the SpaceNK store in Bluewater, assisted by the lovely Sarah, the store manager, who was able to answer all of my questions and explained very fully how to use the RéAura. She was brilliant, actually, and took plenty of time with all of the questions I had prepared. I was dead impressed. Sarah explained that the RéAura is not affected by the melanin pigment in skin and should therefore be perfectly suitable for use by non-white people at any time. She took me through a questionnaire to check whether the RéAura would be suitable for me. I was glad, though, that I could try it out on my hand before I decided to buy. There is a forum on the Phillips website but this is not visible to potential customers, and only available once one has registered one’s RéAura machine, hardly very helpful in my view, given the dearth of information about the product.
Anyway, I bought the machine over the phone last Monday and it arrived within 24 hours. Three hours’ charging and it was ready to use. Phillips recommend two sessions per week for eight weeks and treating only one zone (face, chest, neck, hands etc) per eight week programme.
1st session 23rd February 2012. Midnight.
The machine is used with a small amount of laser performance gel that comes with it and can be used in many different zones around the body. One has to apply a pea-sized amount of gel (Marrowfat or petit-pois?) to each treatment zone. The laser head is applied to one zone at a time in long, sweeping strokes. This might not always be possible if, like me, you have a narrow forehead. You just keep stroking until the unit tells you with a distinctive sound that the zone you’re working on has had enough of a dose of laser beams or whatever they are, up to 10 minutes at the first session. When I tried the machine on my hand in SpaceNK, on the demo setting, it felt like a handful of pins being dragged across. I have to say that when I tried it on my face, albeit with a slightly higher setting, it was more uncomfortable than that. But we women are used to going through pain for eventual gain. I have had laser hair removal and electrolysis, which was far, far more painful than the RéAura’s prickly sensation.
Afterwards, to be honest, my face did feel quite sore, as if I had been slightly sunburnt, and removing the residual gel with cold water was welcome and refreshing. I used the rehydrating aftercare cream that came in the package to finish the treatment. I was warned that my face would be reddened, this is why it is recommended that it is used at night. In the event, though, it was fine, if a little sore and this soreness did last until about lunchtime the following day.
Space NK’s Sarah also explained about the little spots of brown pigmentation coming to the surface of the skin that, she told me, are easily washed away. I must say that I was most dubious about this as it seemed like kiddie science to me. Little specks of pigmentation liberated and coming to the surface indeed! There are now, however, tiny brown spots all over my face. You might be able to make these out in the picture below. They are not washable micro-puddles of pigment, however. They are teeny tiny scabs. I hope that, as with laser hair removal, these will just disperse in the next couple of days. They are easily covered with make-up at any rate. I only hope they will not exacerbate the considerable amount of pigmentation already on my face. We shall just have to wait and see. So that’s my first post on the RéAura. Watch this space for updates!
Further I have been led to believe that my skin will be come dry, flaky, granular or a combination of these three over the course of of the eight week treatment programme. We shall just have to wait and see. In the meantime I should add that I’m using a SPF 15 with my moisturiser, just in case!
**Self-evident really that this is in no way a sponsored post**