Environ facial: Does Vitamin A cream help Oral Lichen Planus?

My eye-opening experience at the Skin 3 clinic for an Environ facial

After reading 'Your Skin Factory' - a book by Dr Des Fernandes which claims to be a production manual for better skin - I was excited to try put the Environ range to the test - quite literally. Dr Des Fernandes claimed that his Vitamin A cream could help rid me of oral Lichen Planus so I couldn't wait to start my treatments. Lichen planus is a non-infectious, itchy rash that can affect many areas of the body including the mouth. Inside the mouth, the condition can make eating painful as it is a chronic inflammatory disease that can cause blisters or erosions. I made my way to the Skin 3 clinic in Swiss Cottage, where I was greeted by therapist Lizzie. After filling in a medical form, Lizzie provided me with a thorough consultation and tailoring the treatment accordingly to my needs.

Clients receive a bespoke facial set to combat every skin need from acne scars to deep wrinkles and pigmentation problems. My problem areas are above my cheek bones and on and around my chin where I get frequent breakouts so I wasn't really looking forward to removing my make-up and sticking my face inside a Visia analysis machine. After taking a couple of horrific looking snaps it was the moment of truth. The machine reveals the extent of sun damage, bacteria and deep-set wrinkles in the skin. It can also show you what you could like in five-years time if you don't look after your skin.

The Visia analysis machine showed my skin to be not as wrinkly and worn-out as I thought it was, however, the sun damage was pretty awful. Apparently, sun-damage takes 15 years to show up on your skin. I'm really not looking forward to turning 40 then! However, the damage that Lizzie showed me was from when I was five years-old. Yep, mum got an earful when I got home that evening!

After discussing my skin and its needs, I am ushered into a private treatment room downstairs. I'm surprised to be told to remove my clothes. I thought this was just a facial? However, I am also treated to a foot, arm and shoulder massage which are all thrown in for good measure. After settling in, I momentarily put my ageing concerns on hold and feel all my morning stress melt away.

After a pre-cleanser and cleansing creams, Lizzie then uses innovative pulsed currents and sound waves to penetrate my skin. This dramatically improves the collagen and elastin production (responsible for the skin's firmness) with the use of replenishing vitamin A, anti-oxidants and beta-carotene. The sound waves are high-pitched and pulsed currents create a slight stinging sensation at times, however, it is bearable. Next up was the plasticising masque. 'Are you claustrophobic?' Lizzie asked. My no answer was the signal for her to apply a thick goop of nutrient-rich skincare goodness over my entire face, including eyes and mouth. Ultrasound probes pulse a gentle, electrical current through the masque.

Once the treatment was finished, I went back upstairs to have my make-up done with a special mineral range by Jane Iredale, which would further protect my skin. Lizzie then stocked me up with Environ products and Vitamin A capsules as one of the steps to perfect skin is treating you from within. What I was most excited to use was the Vitamin A cream that Dr Des Fernandes advised me to rub 2-3 times a day into my gums and hopefully in 2 months' time my problems would be over. Lizzie hadn't met anyone with my condition and was also intrigued to see the results that Vitamin A could bring to Oral Lichen Planus. If the condition worsens then it could lead to oral cancer, not something I am willing to have or go through after watching and losing my grandmother to oral cancer. Vitamin A rich skin doesn't get skin cancer, so rubbing Vitamin A into my gums only makes sense.

My follow up treatment won't be until November now. Excited to see how I get on, I leave Skin 3 with a smile on my face- and a glowing one at that.