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Beauty

They'll get you under your skin

Carole Elgueta visits a top skin care clinic in the heart of the Berkshire countryside

Carole Elgueta

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Carole Elgueta

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You might not expect to find a high-end skin care clinic in the heart of bucolic Berkshire, offering the sort of exclusive treatments that any self-respecting London clinic would envy. But that’s exactly what Theresa Fleetwood of Andresa Aesthetics has managed to pull off at her clinic at Wasing, near Aldermaston. Just before Christmas, Andresa moved from Hampstead Norreys into new and larger premises to cater for its expanding business.

Now housed in a former farm building, complete with ancient rafters and beautifully and tastefully refurbished throughout, there’s state-of-the-art equipment and treatment rooms to deal with everything from teenage acne to thread vein removal. The team at Andresa now also provide an expanded range of beauty and relaxation treatments, such as Medi Pedis for feet, hand and nail care and bespoke facials.

However, the core of their business is still skin health, says Theresa. “It’s all about understanding the individual on every level,” she says. “We look at people holisticially – their nutrition and lifestyle. The skin presents itself as it does for different reasons – health and genetics. We look at the whole picture. Everything we recommend or prescribe is geared up totally for that individual. “At Andresa, it’s not just about selling treatments.

We give people the treatment they need. The skin care products we recommend are prescribed specifically for them, what they personally need to bring their skin back to its best and functioning. “After all, this is the largest organ of the body, so it needs rather more than just a cream to fix it. If you can get people into the right frame of mind about their diet and lifestyle, it makes all the difference. Some of our clients report feeling healthier generally by taking our advice for their skin changes, because it affects the whole body.”

Theresa, who hails from Fylde on the Lancashire coast where she went to college, now has some 20 years of experience in the skincare industry behind her, from lecturing to developing skincare products. “But my desire and passion had always been to open my own skin health clinic, which is what we set up in Hampstead Norreys five years ago,” she says. I started with a concept – a vision and a plan – and really it’s grown from there.”

The clinic is one of only two in the country (the other one is in London) offering the latest laser acne skin clear treatment, which channels deep into the skin to destroy the bacteria upsetting it and prompt it to make new collagen and improve the healing process – decongesting it, as Theresa puts it, from inside out, as well as improving the surface. Theresa’s youngest clients are 12, often brought by their parents when they start to show signs of skin problems. “Youngsters generally don’t take advice from their parents that well,” says Theresa.

“But when they see me in my white coat, they start to take notice.” Theresa then puts them on skin care plans and demonstrates what they should be doing. “We talk about skin care routines and, for the girls, make-up. But we don’t just send them off after that; we have email contact to follow through for extra advice or any queries. It’s not just a question of taking the products and off you go.”

One of the most popular treatments at the clinic is the laser facelift. “This has gone down a storm,”says Theresa. She explains that it works by using a laser beam to bypass the epidermis and create micro-channels deeper in the skin’s layers to create a healing response which prompts new collagen to form. This then lifts and tightens the skin and smooths wrinkles on the face, neck and décolletage. Although clients might want a boost in a year or two, she says that the skin does not fall back to where it was before “because we’ve given people new collagen.

At the same time, the laser can clean up the accumulation of debris, like blotches, that have formed on the skin over time. It really can take 10 to 15 years off someone,” she adds. As an“injection-free clinic” they don’t do Botox or similar procedures, but will refer people if they want to go down that route. “I do recommend that people use it to tweak and refine,rather than as their main tool for anti-ageing,” warns Theresa, “or else they can end up looking as they have come out of the same gene pool.”

Or, even the same pool, others might add unkindly, after a media full of celebrity “trout pout” horror stories. There’s no danger of that at Andresa, though, where “personal service is also fundamental.” The team comprises three practitioners and four reception staff, who are there to “make people feel relaxed and enjoy the time out of their busy schedules. “It’s about the whole experience,” concludes Theresa. “We want people feel looked after when they come here.”

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