The art of facial tailoring

Healthy radiant skin will always be in fashion, and Cantabrians have Dr Brigid Lee to turn to for help achieving that. Metropol editor Lynda Papesch explains.

Many women, and an increasing number of men, are turning to cosmetic medicine to “refresh”
their look.

In Christchurch they turn to Dr Brigid Lee, one half of the team running the popular Skin Rejuvenation Clinic.

A cosmetic doctor, Brigid started work as a general practitioner (for more than 12 years) before deciding she wanted to specialise in cosmetic medicine. That was more than 15 years ago.

“I realised I wanted to combine my love of art and design with my medical knowledge,” she says, adding that cosmetic medicine is a true amalgamation of art and science. After completing her two-year diploma course with the New Zealand Society of Cosmetic Medicine, Brigid wanted to learn more about skin, opting for a post-graduate diploma of dermatology through Cardiff University.

Years later, she still finds cosmetic medicine a fascinating area to work in, with constantly evolving new treatments and technologies, and it becoming both more widespread and acceptable.

“Recently Bette Midler, who is looking amazing for her 77 years, acknowledged that her face has had some help, telling the world she has had some ‘tailoring done to my face’. It’s so refreshing that these Hollywood celebrities are admitting to having treatments done, rather than telling us it’s all due to face yoga and dandelion tea.”
Interestingly, says Brigid, there has been a huge increase in demand for cosmetic medicine since New Zealand’s ‘team of five million’ exited Covid-19 lockdown.

“I think it had something to do with all the zooming we were forced into doing, and seeing what we look like when we are talking and animating.

“Also it made people realise that we never know what’s around the corner, so stop thinking about it, just do it.

“We all deserve to feel happy and confident, and if a few tweaks can help with that, then why not?”

She says procedure trends, such as the foxy eyelift and Russian lip, come and go, but healthy, radiant skin will always be in fashion.

“As people notice the early signs of ageing, such as loss of skin radiance, volume loss, and sagging, they look for treatments to help. Luckily there many options available, from machines that help with skin discolouration, tissue tightening, and skin texture, to injectables that help with wrinkles, volume replacement, and collagen stimulation. “Overall, most people just want to look refreshed, and maybe a few years younger.”

Men too are turning to cosmetic procedures, Brigid says. “Men age differently to women, but a lot of the issues are the same. They get wrinkles, and lose volume as they age, so treatments for those issues are the most common.
A sharp jawline and strong chin are good masculine characteristics, and is probably our most requested procedure from our male clients.”

She is quick to point out that the great thing about cosmetic medicine is that none of it is essential (some of her clients might disagree), yet it is “wonderful for enhancing features, and reversing the signs of ageing”.
“The Kardashians have encouraged younger and younger people to give it a try, but gorgeous young people only need ‘baby tox’, and cautious use of fillers to prevent the earliest signs of ageing and enhance their natural beauty,” Brigid says.

“Once lines are still there, even when you aren’t smiling or frowning, is when it’s time to give some wrinkle treatments a go, which, depending on how strong your muscles are, and your skin type, can be from late 30s onwards, but usually mid-40s.

“Once menopause starts, ageing happens rapidly, so anything you have done prior to support your skin and face will make the ageing process gentler. However, it’s never too late to soften
deep lines and make your appearance look fresher.”

Brigid’s top skincare tips:

  1. SPF 30+ (or stronger) every day.
  2. Vitamin A/Retinoic acid is your secret weapon against ageing as it increases cell turnover, which keeps fine lines away, tightens pores and makes skin look brighter.
  3. Vitamin C/Ascorbic Acid will keep skin looking and also feeling firmer.

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