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3d face scan treatment laser dr Costas Papageorgiou
Courtesy of the writer

I had my face 3D imaged and lasered in search of symmetry

What better way to trigger existential dread than through the thorough contemplation of your own face?

I am not someone who enjoys looking at their own face. In fact, most of the time, I go out of my way to avoid looking at it. So, you might ask, and it would be a fair question, how did I end up in a clinical consulting room on the fourth floor of Harrods contemplating my face from 360 degrees as Dr Costas Papageorgiou spun a 3D-imaged version of my head this way and that? Well, for journalism. 

Dr Papageorgiou is a facial aesthetic surgeon who specialises in aesthetic procedures and minimally invasive techniques for the face. From the NYDG’s London headquarters at The Harrods Wellness Clinic, he offers skin-focused treatments ranging from eyelid lifts and jaw remodelling to laser treatments and mesotherapy, using state of the art, cutting-edge technology.

While traditionally, doctors will kick off consultations with photographs, Dr Papageorgiou likes to begin by creating a 3D scan of his clients’ faces – using, I was delighted to find out, the same 3D imaging technology as Madame Tussauds – in order to help them get a clearer sense of the face, it’s symmetry and structure, and solutions for their concerns. It helps them see the bigger picture, he says. Based on the visualisation, he will then create a treatment plan that builds on the architecture of the face and is implemented over a period of time to achieve gradual results. 

Since we here at Dazed Beauty have been 3D junkies from the start, it sounded like something we absolutely had to test out for ourselves. So, off I went to Harrods on a very rainy afternoon to try it out. After filling out my details in a chic waiting room that looked straight out of Kim and Kanye’s monastery-from-the-future home, I went in to meet with Dr Papageorgiou and start the process.  

The 3D-imaging machine is a large piece of equipment that doesn’t look out of place in a medical consulting room. It takes pictures of my face from the left side, right side, and head on, which are then used to compose a 3D digital model. The image takes about a couple minutes to finish loading and then I am left staring at my own shiny face, pores and all, complete with a small red mark on my nose from my face mask. Dr Papageorgiou then talks me through the structure of my face, honing in on different aspects before we look at symmetrical versions from the left side and the right side. It’s a somewhat harrowing experience. It turns out my face isn’t at all symmetrical and actually, based on the simulations I was now looking at, that’s maybe for the best. At least if my right side had anything to say about it. 

At this stage, clients would then discuss with Dr Papageorgiou their areas of concern and which aspects of their face they are looking to enhance or tweak. Most people, he says, are just looking for an overall improvement. When determining what changes to make, Dr Papageorgiou believes in taking the face as a whole. “We look at the face as an entity instead of focusing on one specific concern,” he says.

“Sometimes improving one area can have an impact on neighbouring areas. It works as a whole.” If a client came in concerned about their nose, for example, he wouldn’t necessarily touch the nose itself. “The nose is in relation with the background and the length of the chin,” he explains. “So, if you lengthen this or if you volumise that, improve the hollowness etc. the nose will blend better and no longer stand out. So the nose in a patient can appear improved without even touching it.”

Dr Papageorgiou then talks me through the structure of my face, honing in on different aspects before we look at symmetrical versions from the left side and the right side. It turns out my face isn’t at all symmetrical and actually, based on the simulations I was now looking at, that’s maybe for the best”

Hearing Dr Papageorgiou talk about the face is like hearing someone with perfect pitch talk about music – he just gets it. When I ask what rules he applies to the face to determine what could be done he says he just knows what looks right. It’s an innate ability to look at the whole and see what combination of subtle tweaks will make the biggest difference.

After my consultation, comes the treatment and I am left in the very capable hands of aesthetic therapist Maja Hensel. First up is the Laser Genesis, a rejuvenation process that leverages rays of powerful light energy to treat deeper layers of the skin. Studies have found that the treatment energises cells, stimulates collagen production, and helps reverse damage inflicted on the face from UV radiation. For me, it is also used particularly to treat the large pores I have around my nose and cheek area. The Laser Genesis feels (and looks!) exactly how you would imagine a laser would feel: warm and zappy. 

Next up, is the LimeLight laser to target my skin’s redness and inflammation. This “light energy rejuvenation process” works to combat skin redness, vascular imperfections, brown spots, and sun damage, improving skin tone, texture, and surface imperfections by stimulating fibroblasts to produce new collagen fibres. Before starting the treatment, Maja warns me it will feel like an elastic band snapping against my skin and that is indeed exactly what it feels like.

I am someone who can tolerate quite a high threshold of pain, except when it comes to my face. Sometimes plucking my eyebrows can cause me to well up, so the experience certainly isn’t pleasant and I have to really focus on keeping my face still but it is bearable and over quickly enough. 

Then comes the easy bit: an Oxygen Infusion containing hyaluronic acid, vitamins, peptides, and antioxidants. This is an ultra-hydrating treatment during which high pressure hyperbaric oxygen delivers the cocktail of hydrating ingredients to reduce fine lines and wrinkles while improving texture and overall radiance. After the sting of the laser, this stage is a calming relief and feels exactly like having air blown on your face from a small tube. Finally, we finish up with 20 minutes of LED light which helps repair the protective barrier of the skin’s surface, improve hydration levels, combat oxidative stress and UV damage, and stimulate skin renewal for improved texture. 

And that’s it. I’m left feeling very relaxed with a very red face, although the colour quickly fades – this is a treatment that requires no down time. I am very pleased with the results, my skin looks plumper and refreshed, the tone more even and the texture improved. These are, however, treatments that are most effective when done on multiple occasions over a period of time rather than on a one-off basis, so if you are looking for long-term effects you will have to commit to a long term plan.

The 3D model provides a great opportunity to you to really understand what your face looks like – no matter what feelings of existential dread that may dredge up – and explore your options, while the chance to see the different symmetries of your face is an interesting and fun element that you don’t often get to experience. 

 A facial-aesthetic consultation with 3D imaging and personalised treatment plan from Dr Papageorgiou costs £225 with facials beginning from £100 and treatments available from £500.