Brigstock Skin and Laser Centre says "Be proud of your skin!"

It's hard to believe that one of the most advanced and high tech medical facilities in London can be found on a busy side road just off Thornton Heath pond. Time was celebs and movie stars were the only people able to afford to buy cosmetic skin improvement to treat blemishes, protect their skin form the sun's ravages and maintain their youthful look well into middle age. Nowadays all of that is accessible by almost all of us without breaking the bank. And we not only don't have to travel to Harley Street or other exotic clinics to get this, we have much better right here on our doorstep!

I was very pleased to be able to spend an afternoon at the Brigstock Skin and Laser Treatment centre on Brigstock Road and learn about what they offer and how far things have come along in the past few years. The Centre is part of a local medical group that includes Brigstock Family Practice, a GP surgery centre, and Communitas, the NHS dermatological treatment centres that see up to 70% of all intermediate dermatological referrals for a population of over 1 million people from several boroughs in and around the London area. I learned the centre is not just very high tech, but shares facilities with one of the most rigorous NHS medical practices in the country that has won awards both their NHS services and the management team who run the clinics.

Nurses and doctors see patients at both the NHS centre and the private clinic I attended. This has the advantage for patients of seeing practitioners with the best skills and procedural discipline available, but also holistic treatment as well. Nilu Vajpeyi, the GP that founded the group fourteen years ago after the death of her mother (also a local family GP) told me one's skin is reflective of the overall internal health of the body. Because doctors and nurses perform the treatment routines instead of technicians, they don't just treat the specific dermatological requirement, but can address dietary or other health issues they see when examining ones skin and provide holistic advice in addition to the skin treatment necessary.

Naturally a good percentage of their work is for hair removal, somewhat due to the fact that when a man reaches the age of 35 or so, hair begins to annoyingly sprout in unwanted places whilst often simultaneously receding from  his head. I can testify personally that the hair removal treatment works, is convenient, affordable and virtually pain-free, both to the skin, and arguably to the wallet.

The staff explain in detail exactly what they will treat, how it works, what one can expect and, afterwards, exactly how to care for the area and what results to look for. They were spot on every time. A much appreciated benefit was that I wasn't promised the moon, but rather recommended precisely the treatment that would work for me (laser removal of dark hairs) and given the choice of alternatives (electrolysis for blond or grey hairs on which the laser has no affect) which were suitable and appropriate.

The entire suite of treatments is impressive ranging from the expected, botox and fillers, to the cutting edge and high tech - algal omega-3s with anti-oxidants and pharmaceutical ingredients for sustainable and healthy wrinkle reduction. As with anything there are cost implications to the range of available treatments but Brigstock are part of a trend of democratising the best of these treatments so that more people can access them affordably; not just rich celebrities.

As an information junkie in general I also always want to have as much information on my health as possible, and Brigstock over-perform here as well. I had one of their VISIA surface and sub-surface photo-analysis sessions in which cameras look at various aspects of skin health both on and under the epidermal surface. The system is able to measure the amount of sun damage in three ways, how much and how deeply the skin is wrinkled, spotted and/or how much surface bacteria is present and more. The amount of spots and brown spots is calculated and the results are given along a spectrum from 1 to 100 with a score of 50 being the average for one's age.

This information is useful in a variety of ways from predicting the likelihood and location of acne spots forming to the possibility of certain areas developing skin cancer. Knowledge in advance is power and the VISIA analysis provides it in bucket loads. After the photo-analysis the Brigstock personnel were able to fully answer any question I had as well as to provide specific practical recommendations (don't towel dry my face) as well as recommending treatments to address specific information from the analysis; in some cases how to roll back skin damage from over the years.

Dr Nilu used the example of a person she saw for a severe acne issue. There are much, much better ways to treat acne now than even ten years ago. Photo of acne before using Obagi treatmentsTreatments that don't leave scars or pigmentation are available, but at Brigstock the rule is to treat the individual, not just symptoms. In this case the team looked at diet, lifestyle and medical issues alongside the actual skin symptoms and arranged a successful programme to address the internal health side of things. This holistic approach had a positive effect and meant the skin treatments worked better, more effectively and had a lasting effect over the long-term.

Brigstock believe in their service so much that patients who feel they haven't benefited form treatment enjoy a results guarantee. Photo of face without acne after using Obagi treatmentsThey try to hire the best people and the results show it as their clinicians are award-winning including the Laing & Busisson award for management excellence. Just weeks ago they were also awarded the Government Opportunities Award for the best patient service in the entire health-care service. 

There's no one better to look after your skin health and it's right on our doorstep just down the road. To put it into their words, “Go on, be proud of your skin!” Brigstock can help you do just that.

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