AT 50, my mother, peachy skinned and lovely to the end of her days, nevertheless looked like the granny she was. Now of roughly the same vintage, I hope I don’t. And I’m not the only one.


‘I went to a 50th birthday bash the other night,’ a colleague told me, ‘and it was extraordinary, from the Botoxed brows to the Beckham breasts. No one looked a day over 40.’ Hot topic of the night was the ‘work’ the female – and some of the male – guests had had done. No one held back. And they weren’t just talking cosmetic surgery. The facelift may be Britain’s third-most-popular procedure – behind breast augmentation and eyelid surgery – but non-surgical treatments designed to hold back the years are becoming equally popular.

Some see them as a kind of halfway house between routine beauty care and the scalpel. TV programmes such as Nip/Tuck and Ten Years Younger have brought cosmetic surgery to the fore and Sunday Times journalist Kate Spicer is the latest to thirst for a more youthful look. In Super Botox Me (Channel 4, Sunday, 10pm) she takes herself off to New York on a treatment odyssey with the aim of improving her wrinkly brow, sagging mouth and dark under-eye areas without actually resorting to surgery. The results? Not remotely like Joan Rivers, more a subtle improvement.

And that’s what many women are aiming for, said the Aesthetic Skin Clinic’s Dr John Curran. The former L’Aumone and St Sampson’s GP has built up a hugely successful practice that sees 3-4,000 people every year. It offers anything from non-surgical treatments and minor surgery to

breast augmentation and full facelifts, though the latter are not currently performed in Guernsey because of operating-theatre restrictions. But John hopes that will change in time. ‘We send away £250,000 of business every year – that’s £57,000- worth of fees which would go directly to the hospital,’ he said. John also runs a big clinic in Jersey and two in Belfast, travelling regularly between them.

Eight years on, he has never been busier. ‘After a few months it was obvious people wanted it. I’ve always practised dermatology and have practised cosmetic procedures since 1993 and I wanted to introduce those and laser treatments to the island,’ he explained.

John is president of the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors, which represents 400 cosmetic and plastic surgeons, dermatologists and cosmetic doctors in the UK and Ireland, including big names such as Professor Nic Lowe, who works out of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and has been voted America’s best dermatologist.

‘I have taken this from being much on the fringe to being a recognised part of medicine,’ said. He presides over a strong academic group with links to University of Leicester and has taken a lead role in the UK and the academic side.

He looks upon the South Esplanade clinic as a medical practice rather than a business and he and his which includes three surgeons, cosmetic doctors and five nurses, bound by medical codes of conduct.

Major treatments make up about fifth of his work. Non-surgical procedures include skin resurfacing and rejuvenation, the elimination red ‘spider’ veins, laser hair removal, pigmentation treatment and The latter is the most popular, making up around 30% of the clinic’s work. John is excited the successful results he’s had injectable breast enhancement, alternative to implants which performed in Guernsey and lasts around two years.

While some of these treatments are carried out purely their feel-good effects, help people who may have struggled for years. It’s a case of horses courses, John tells me. ‘For the woman with red veins her legs who wears long skirts beach, the “miracle” treatment would be sclerotherapy. For someone with acne scarring, the laser treatment, Fraxel, can produce fantastic results. For the woman who frowns a lot, it’s Botox.’

Why the explosion of interest in cosmetic surgery?

‘It’s because doctors are doing it better all the time,’ said John. ‘We now have a whole new breed of cosmetic surgeons who do only that.

They’re better trained and techniques are improving all the time.’ He added that just by getting together with colleagues worldwide, collective knowledge is improving and practitioners are getting better results.

‘In cosmetic dermatology, the things that are driving the market most are new procedures being available and technology being more and more clever.

‘That’s attracting a whole new generation of people who don’t want to have surgical procedures but prefer to have minor interventions which make a significant difference.’ And that difference is what brings him the most satisfaction. ‘I am very proud of what we’ve achieved,’ he said, talking of his work with the BACD as well as that with his patients.

‘There is probably more satisfaction out of this than anything else I’ve done. It’s a very practical discipline. And you really do get results.