The idea of visiting a clinic, just the word alone, can set off a visceral fear of being in an unfamiliar environment – cold and clinical. However, Harley Street Skin Clinic is the complete opposite – set within a warm, commodious house not far from the quiet neighbourhood of Marylebone and in close proximity to Oxford Street. The reception area of Harley Street Skin Clinic is on the first floor – in a cosy room where you can help yourself to tea, coffee, mints and biscuits.
I was looking forward to meeting Dr Aamer Khan, who founded the clinic with his wife Lesley Reynolds, and learning more about their journey as renowned experts in their field and, as a result, have made Harley Street Skin Clinic hugely successful. With over 31,000 patients on their books, I felt rather chuffed that Dr Khan could squeeze me into his busy schedule. Before our meeting, I had a brief chat with the General Manager – Paula Hall who escorted me from reception to the prestigious office of Dr Khan. I could not help but notice a comfy-looking shezlong on our way to his office, but as a true professional, I refrained from taking a selfie. After a further five-minute talk with Paula, Dr Khan entered his room with a pleasant welcome after which we commenced our interview.
The story behind the development of Harley Street Skin Clinic stemmed from Dr Khan and Lesley’s similar background. During the earlier stages of Lesley’s career, she was Managing Director for a cosmeceutical company in America. Lesley was the first person to bring cosmeceuticals into Europe. Dr Khan had a clinic in Birmingham. Nonetheless, he continued his quest for a good cosmeceutical expert to have in his clinic to help with skin rejuvenation and skin concerns such as spots, acne, ageing and pigmentation. Lesley also had a clinic for her cosmeceutical products where she treated celebrities. It was only natural for both Dr Khan and Lesley to set up a clinic together after they met, bringing together Lesley’s extensive knowledge in skin care and Dr Khan’s expertise in medicine and dermatology. Due to the growing success of their clinic, it was not long before Dr Khan and Lesley went full time in 2016. After a while, Dr Khan and Lesley developed their range of cosmeceuticals to address targeted skin care.
According to Dr Khan “…as we developed the clinic, we used cosmeceuticals but felt there wasn’t one particular range that really dealt with all the issues we needed to deal with.” They still used other skin care knowing a single range was not enough to meet the needs of everybody. To that end, Harley Street Skin Clinic expanded from one to three ranges: Clean Skin Technology – to control acne and oily skin, Stemcellutions Restorative Skincare – containing anti-ageing ingredients such as peptides and stem cells from green apples which have “medical evidence behind them and growth factors” says Dr Khan. There is also the essential 24/7 Daily Maintenance system – that everyone can use at any age and which helps to hydrate the whole face. Through the expertise and knowledge of Dr Khan and Lesley, they found other ways to preserve products that contained fewer chemicals to prevent them from causing harm or cancer, potentially. Their products start from £20 to £80.
Harley Street Skin Clinic
Harley Street Skin Clinic
The latest addition to the Harley Street Skin Clinic family is the Monroe of London range founded by Dr Khan’s son Luke and business partner Gareth who both have a background in fashion photography. Their clients include Harrods and Selfridges. As part of a new business venture, Luke and Gareth approached Dr Khan to create a skin care range for men. Dr Khan then used his knowledge to create Monroe of London which seemed to be the right time especially after the number of male clients in his practice increased by 15%. Furthermore, there has been a greater need for such products as men are more prone to spots and oily skin conditions. Through research, Dr Khan discovered a trend known as muscle dysmorphia – contemporaneous with body dysmorphia; a condition that causes men to undergo vigorous training to look a certain way. “In doing so, they would prematurely age their faces due to losing volume in their skin. Their face suffers through hard exercise…” says Dr Khan. Long distance running/cycling are contributing factors to the latter. The primary purpose of Monroe of London is to produce multi-functional products to (1) help to resurface the skin (2) reduce volume and (3) close down the pores. The cleanser doubles up as a shaving gel, the serum helps to resurface skin, and the sun block doubles up as a moisturiser (dual-purpose) – containing SPF50 and light in texture. You can purchase all Harley Street Skin products online and find Monroe of London in Harvey Nichols and Fenwicks, soon. I put some products to the test recently and found that:
Monroe’s Exfoliator & Pore Minimiser is gentle and light. It smells fresh. I have sensitive skin so I would advise those with a similar skin condition to use the product only once a week as opposed to twice. The latter is more suitable for normal skin conditions. Avoid using a large amount. I rubbed a small amount into my skin and then removed the product with lukewarm water after 15 minutes. I exfoliated daily for five days, as recommended. My skin felt smooth although a little sore on the fifth day, I think, this is due to sensitive skin.
Harley Street Skin Care Daily Cleanser smells fresh with fruit extracts. Once again, use a small amount for the face. I then applied a small amount of the Harley Street Skin Care Firming Serum to my face which is the same colour and similar texture to the Daily Cleanser. In the past, I have used more gelatinous serums rather than ones that look like cream. Lastly, I applied the Anytime Moisture Surge which you should use in the morning and evening. Nonetheless, as the entire Harley Street Skin Care Range is designed to target specific skin care needs, I would suggest to those with dehydrated/needy skin (to which I am prone) to use the Stemcellutions Restorative Skin Care Range, initially. As I have tried both ranges from Harley Street Skin Care Clinic, I will revert back to using the Restorative Miracle and Eye Serum which are more suitable for dry skin. According to Dr Khan, “skin with colour has different sweat/oil glands. In the heat – lighter skin produces more oil.” Darker skin produces more water content and less oil in warmer climates hence why my skin feels particularly dry in hotter climates and during British summer. The Stem Solutions Restorative Skincare Range, in my opinion, is more suitable for people of colour.
The Restorative Miracle Serum leaves my skin feeling more hydrated than The Firming Serum and Anytime Moisture Surge from the 24/7 Daily Maintenance Regime. If you have dry/sensitive skin, the former range is ideal, in my opinion. Furthermore, its oil content appears higher in texture due to keeping my skin very moist. Nonetheless, the water content will still hydrate and evaporate to keep the skin cool – serving a dual purpose. “In colder climates the water content/production in darker skin drops and the oil content increases which causes more blockages/ache,” says Dr Khan. For this reason, I would recommend the Clean Skin Technology Range for darker skin tones, especially during the winter or if you suffer from acne in general, and the 24/7 Daily Maintenance for lighter skin tones.
Besides offering a range of innovative skin care, Harley Street Skin Clinic may have discovered the “most significant advancement of this century” says Dr Khan. He revealed that “over the last ten years there has been a gradual move away from full-on surgery and that people want a non-surgical alternative to facial rejuvenation.” Over the last 3-4 years, Harley Street Skin Clinic launched The Five Point Instant Face Lift otherwise known as the Wide Awake Face (WAF) Lift. The ultimate goal of The Five Point Instant Face Lift is, so clients achieve a natural fresher look which involves placing stitches or sutures at five points on the face including below and at the top of the ear, at the corner of the mouth and on the cheek by the nose and at the apple.
Sutures were first introduced in the late 90s in American and Russia. Initially, companies tried them out and found they worked pretty well. However, the sutures were non-dissolvable. Through further research, companies found you could get a good result in getting a lift using threads which were dissolvable. “You could go back and tighten them if you wanted to,” says Dr Khan. Complications began to arise when companies in America, who manufactured the sutures, wanted to market them. Such companies trained many doctors/surgeons with a four-hour training session after which they were given a certificate for supposedly passing a certain level of competency. Ouch!! What do you think happened next? You guessed, correctly – patients were experiencing side effects and lots of problems. “What was initially certified by the FDA fell into disrepute, but it was not the sutures that fell into disrepute but rather how they were marketed/how the actual service was rolled out,” says Dr Khan. He came across sutures in 2006.
In 2012-2013 dissolvable sutures were introduced. Harley Street Skin Clinic identify the right treatment for their patients by assessing them first so, during the early stages, they would not carry out the procedure on elderly patients. It then takes approximately 15 minutes to one hour to insert the sutures under local anaesthesia. The patient will experience a little swelling over the next couple of weeks, but it does not cause much scarring and less aggressive than surgical procedures. The demand for non-surgical treatments increased due to the rise of experienced doctors. Harley Street Skin Clinic adopt a multi-playing approach to The Five-Point Face Lift in that they go to different levels such as lifting the skin, soft tissues and tightening muscles depending on the client’s requirements. They also recommend an internal health approach covering diet, nutrition and exercise. The Five Point Face Lift starts from £1500. The benefits include stimulating collagen production which rejuvenates the skin. As a result, the skin looks brighter, lighter, repairs sun damage and pigmentation changes.
Through Harley Street Skin Clinic’s continued success, Dr Khan and Lesley have given back in more ways than one helping thousands of men and women -including soldiers in Afghanistan who have suffered from scarring and facial disfigurement. Their new charity Back on Track helps British troops as they return home from war with serious injuries. Dr Khan and Lesley are both from a military background. In fact, Lesley’s father was in the airforce, and Dr Khan’s grandfather was also in the military. It was a 19-year old soldier – Mark Allen who inspired Dr Khan and Lesley’s Journey into philanthropy. Mark joined the Army in Afghanistan at the tender age of 18. Unfortunately, a fellow troop stepped into a landmine when they were both out in the field. Mark lost both legs as a result. He also suffered severe scars and burns to the face.
Dr Khan and Lesley treated Mark – improved his skin having realised there must be more they can do to help these soldiers, including Mark and his friend, by helping them to continue with normal life in the best way possible after facing such physical, mental and emotional trauma. For example, Mark found himself bottom shuffling into the shower. What is more, it was challenging for him to return to the sports he loved as an action man. According to Dr Khan “ We are in a field where we are doing reconstructive work, cosmetic improvements. The NHS does as much as it can to help. Patients are rehabilitated physically and then discharged into the community. What they find psychologically difficult is getting back into life as they have lost their ability to be young men and women as they saw themselves”
Back on Track provided Mark with the right facilities such as a wet room so as “to preserve dignity” and organised cart-racing as a form of fundraising so Mark and his friend could partake in activities to help them feel useful. Back on Track was founded in 2012-2013 and specifically designed to raise money. The aim is to raise £200,000 by April 2018. Through various fundraising activities such as racing, a marathon, a summer tea party and winter ball, the charity is already a quarter way to achieving their target. Anyone can make a donation by visiting the Back On Track Just Giving page.
“Back on Track is about the people we are trying to help. It is a journey, a lifelong hand-holding exercise” says Dr Khan, “for young injured troops who we want to see have a full and long life.” Ultimately the aim is to get such troops back into a normal way of life via fitness and apprenticeships.
Written by @StyleIconNat