Back in April 2019, before Covid was even a whisper and all we had to worry about were fine lines and skin hydration, a fabulous new aesthetic salon appeared on Thame High Street.
ERA Skin & Laser Clinic was launched by the mayor in a charming, higgledy-piggledy beamed building behind Andrew Murray estate agents and the queues started forming for what was clearly a slick, well thought-through offering – the USP then, as now, prioritised face and body rejuvenation using treatments stimulating the body’s collagen and elastin production, rather than encouraging clients to head straight for the needle (though don’t worry if you’re a Botox babe, they do that too).
Covid has been tough on most small businesses but one thing you can say for the beauty industry after 18 months of UK women wearing sweatpants and no make up and looking like theyve – we’re all up for a bit of zsushing! And so here I am, set to try the signature Era treatment, the HIFU – High Intensity Focused Ultrasound to you, sister – and a painless and non-invasive way to reduce wrinkles and sharpen up that jawline.
Don’t expect gold buddhas, dark rooms and fluffy cushions here, Era is just the way I like my aesthetic clinics – minimalist, professional, with natural light and luxuriously large rooms (no perching on the side of the bed for a consultation here), and dispensing an aura that says ‘Relax lady, we’re going to fix you’. Owner Emma Rothery worked in the medical industry for over 10 years, most recently for one of the top aesthetic pharmaceutical companies., and brings a pleasing fascination to new technologies and clever shiny machines that keeps Era relevant.
OK, warning! It’s all about the results here. You are not rocking up at Era to fall asleep during an aromatherapy massage or spend a lost hour in the floatation tank. You’re here to turn back the years and look fantastic.
It’s true you can have a traditional massage, facial and mani-pedi here, but most people book in for hydrafacials, facial rejuvenation, laser hair removal, body-sculpting and Cryolipo, a non-surgical fat freezing process, plus fillers and injectables if that’s your bag (Dr Gita Arora trained at Bart’s and the London University of medicine and dentistry, with a post graduate diploma in dermatology from Queen Mary University).
Also, it’s worth noting that Era champions the latest treatments to help with more ‘medical’ issues likes of excessive sweating, incontinence and skin dehydration at the back of the hands.
I had the non-surgical face & neck lift, known as HIFU (high intensity focused ultrasound) – basically a non-invasive facelift that fires concentrated ultrasound waves deep into the skin to stimulate collagen and elastin production and is particularly successful in reducing double chins. Results are clearly visible after 3 months and can last between 12-18 months on a single treatment.
The treatment itself takes between 30-90 minutes depending if you’re going for the whole shebang of whole face and neck or just a specific area, and feels like someone is ever so lightly brushing pins over your face. I found it an unusual sensation, not painful but in all honesty not particularly thrilling either (though let’s be honest, it’s way less horrific than having a proper facelift). Some clients’ skin can get a little red afterwards for 24 hours or so, but I’m thinking that must be quite unusual – the skin on my face is always super-sensitive but I had no reaction at all.
I only had my treatment a few weeks back so I don’t have a before and after to show you, but the clinic have sent pics for two recent case studies so you can see the kind of results you can expect – the improvement around the chin is amazing for a 30 minute treatment, dont you think?
After the initial three months you can have another session if you’re feeling the love, but there’s often no need. If you fancy trying it out, Era is offering an exclusive FREE 20 minute rejuvenating Dermalux® LED light treatment (usually £75) to Muddy readers who book a Full Face and Neck HIFU treatment before the end of next month (Oct 21).
OUT & ABOUT
If you’re making the effort to come to Thame for Era, hang around a while! Though Muddy favourite FROM is closing its doors after 10 years (*sob*), there are still some great places to shop here – Pretty Like Pictures for accessible, very cool art; Black Goo for a coffee and cake in a stylish, buzzy space; The Book House for Muddy-Award-winning books (children’s fiction is particularly strong); Mint Velvet for style basics and Muse for cooler fare; What’s Cooking if you can’t be bothered to hit the stove when you get home; and The Thatch for a bite to eat while you’re in town.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Those putting results above relaxation. This is an aesthetic clinic through and through and it does it well, with properly trained medical pros and an understanding of what age 40+ customers are looking for. HIFU in particular is ideal for those who want results fast but without invasive or risky procedures.
Not for: There are almost no non-invasive aesthetic treatments that I’ve tried that are not a tiny bit uncomfortable. If you’re not prepared for this, you’re in the wrong place!
££: HIFU treatment starts from £395 for the lower face, rising to £895 for full face and neck.