What a beauty director wants you to know about Profhilo

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Profhilo: Injectable 'skin boosters' explainedadd Getty Images - Getty Images

Lauded as 'injectable moisturisers', a new wave of hyaluronic acid fillers – including Profhilo – have formed a group of advanced aesthetic treatments commonly known as 'skin boosters', which are currently soaring in popularity with both women and men. But, unlike typical dermal fillers, they're employed for hydration over volume, as Dr Wassim Taktouk, an aesthetic doctor specialising in such treatments, tells me.

"Injectable moisture treatments and dermal fillers are both made of hyaluronic acid," he explains referring to the water-binding molecule that can hold 10,000 times its weight in water. "It is a natural component of human skin that as we age our bodies produce less and less of," he adds. "Hyaluronic acid is made up of long chains, similar to spaghetti, and each draws and holds water. In dermal fillers, the 'spaghetti' is modified slightly and cross linked, as if 'cooked', so that it clumps together and stays put where it’s injected to create volume." With injectable skin-booster treatments, however, "the hyaluronic acid is less 'cooked', so that it spreads evenly throughout the face to draw water along the way". This means the substance hydrates the skin without volumising the face, preventing laxity and lending the complexion a healthy, fresh-looking texture.

Profhilo explained

As I experienced myself, with another cosmetic expert – Dr Sophie Shotter, after numbing the skin with a topical cream, Profhilo involves having around eight strategically placed injections administered subcutaneously in the lower part of the face. These can leave small bee sting-like swellings that can last up to 24-hours, with potential bruising (though I did not experience the latter). Reassuringly, there are no other negatives to Profhilo, which is why it appealed to me over over other injectable treatments such as wrinkle-relaxing toxins and traditional fillers.

Two sessions are required, around six weeks apart, and most people see the best results around three-to-four weeks after their second session, although I also noticed benefits after my first treatment. In my case these did include a plumping of the skin – nothing like I imagine regular fillers might do to enhance my contours, but it granted a significant fuller-yet-tighter look nonetheless – as well as a smoothing of crêpiness and a youthful 'you look well!' glow.

Results last around six months, although Dr Shotter suggests having one session every three months to 'top-up', rather than waiting six months for two. I can see how it might become addictive.

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Bridget immediately after one Profhilo treatment (left), and three weeks after (right)Bridget March - Hearst Owned

Profhilo and other skin boosters compared

Alongside Profhilo, which has become beauty's biggest buzzword in injectables this decade, many cosmetic practitioners work with Volite from Juvéderm – the makers of Botox – which is similarly exclusively formulated with hyaluronic acid. Others products in the skin-booster cohort, such as Teoxane Redensity 1, Belotero Revive and Sunekos Performa, contain additional skin-loving nutrients, promising to work on the condition of the skin.

Dr Taktouk explains that "Volite has lower levels of hyaluronic acid than Profhilo and Teoxane Redensity 1". It doesn’t contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants or amino acids and will only "moderately hydrate the skin and improve fine lines".

Profhilo, he adds, "is pure hyaluronic acid in high quantities and will bio-remodel collagen and elastin while hydrating the skin." It is 'anti-ageing' on multiple levels, but as it's not generally used on the forehead (where people can find fine lines problematic) it will not help hydrate skin there. Profhilo Body, meanwhile, works to target skin laxity below the neck.

Then there's Teoxane Redensity 1, which can be used all over the face as a full hydration treatment. "Teoxane Redensity 1 combines pure hyaluronic acid with three antioxidants, eight amino acids, two minerals and a vitamin; so it repairs the skin while hydrating it." Think of it like a more powerful version of mesotherapy. Dr Taktouk adds, "Teoxane Redensity 1 will not only hydrate the skin but will prevent premature skin ageing, helping with thinning skin whilst giving a beautiful healthy glow."

Other skin boosters that do more include Belotero Revive, which contains glycerin – another powerful humectant, and Sunekos Performa which has an amino acid complex added. The latter is a favourite of The Cosmetic Skin Clinic's Dr Johanna Ward, who says "Sunekos Performa is great because it can be used on the forehead lines, around the eyes to treat crow’s feet, and on mouth lines, whereas Profhilo isn't licensed in these areas".

Polynucleotides are another category of injectable treatments that boast similar benefits to Profhilo and its peers. "They are similar in terms of the effects," Dr Ashwin Soni, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon tells us, "but rather than just providing hydration like hyaluronic acid skin boosters, polynucleotides communicate with the cells to make them produce collagen and elastin.

Polynucleotides (such as Ameela) can also be used in areas that some skin boosters can't, such as the eyes, lips, and forehead, and are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to tear-trough filler, Dr Soni notes.

How to decide which skin-booster treatment is right for you

"As a rule, for people wanting to improve skin health, hydration, skin protection and get a 'wow' glow I would direct to Teoxane Redensity 1," Dr Taktouk says. Belotero Revive claims similar benefits, as Dr Sarah Tonks of The Lovely Clinic says, it's for "deeply hydrating the skin, without creating unwanted volume," granting the ultimate softening effect.

"Profhilo is great for those patients concerned with crepey skin that has lost its elasticity – it softens fine lines and helps plump up the skin," adds Dr Taktouk. Whereas people concerned with so-coined crow's feet and smokers lines might want to investigate Sunekos Performa. "In areas with complex requirements and limited other options – like the forehead, around the eyes and in the upper lip – it is perfect," adds Dr Ward.

Dr Taktouk feels that Teoxane Redensity 1, Profhilo, Belotero Revive and Sunekos Performa are all excellent treatments, "so it’s best you consult your doctor who will help you decide between them".

With any cosmetic procedures, it's imperative to only visit highly trained, ethical injectors. Below, see Bazaar's trusted list of the best practitioners in London (and beyond) offering various skin booster treatments.

Dr Wassim Taktouk has a menu of skin boosters at the chic and discreet Taktouk Clinic, Knightsbridge, where after a consultation he and his team will select the right treatment for you.

Dr Sophie Shotter, who is as well known for her aesthetic expertise as she is for being a voice of the industry, offers Profhilo at her Illuminate Skin Clinic in Kent and London's Harley Street, which we highly recommend.

Dr Ashwin Soni is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon as well as an aesthetic doctor, meaning his understanding of the facial anatomy is unmatched. Primarily working with Teoxane Redensity 1, you'll find him at The Soni Clinic in Knightsbridge and Ascot.

Dr Alexis Granite, who is a world-renowned expert in medical and aesthetic dermatology, offers Profhilo, Volite and Belotero Revive at Skinesis Medical at Sarah Chapman, Chelsea, and after a consultation will decipher the best option for you.

Dr Johanna Ward, also considered one of the London aesthetic scene's safest pair of hands, works with Profhilo and now Sunekos Performa at the Cosmetic Skin Clinic in Marylebone and Stoke Poges (Buckinghamshire), where other skin-boosters, including Volite, are also offered.

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