Tried and tested: Out, damned spots, out, I say

A special facial to get rid of age spots.

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WHAT I TRIED The IPL (intense pulsed light) photo facial to get rid of age spots on my face.

WHAT I WANTED I've always had freckles and generally liked them. What I can't remember is when they went from "cute" to "the enemy". But those markings that used to make me feel young had started making me feel old, and I wanted them gone. I also had tiny surface blood vessels on my face that looked like red dots.

WHAT HAPPENED After a cleansing and exfoliation, I posed with my eyes closed and my face inside a Visia facial analysis machine that looked a little like a giant Fabergé egg without the lovely prize inside.

The EuroMed Clinic's laser specialist, Rebecca Treston, focused on the left side of my face, snapping close-ups. A photograph showed hundreds of tiny blue circles and dots on it -evidence of those spots that had turned on me.

We went into a treatment room, where I lay down on a table and she applied a cool, ultrasound-type gel to my face that serves as a "conductor" for the IPL, a quick, non-surgical pulse of light that targets melanin in the skin's pigmentation and haemoglobin in the tiny blood vessels. The treatment was utterly bearable, taking about 10 minutes and about 50 shots of the laser, each one feeling no worse than a hot prick of a pin. Rebecca then applied a relaxing facial mask before she sent me on my way with strict instructions to wear sunblock. My skin looked fine.

THE VERDICT Rebecca said the brown spots would have disappeared or lightened considerably within two weeks, and she was right - I noticed a big difference in about five days. The tiny red marks on my cheeks and around my nose had evaporated, too.

I loved looking at my unspotted face. Weeks later, however, two new spots have cropped up, prompting me to suspect that the endeavour is going to be similar to a game of increasingly difficult Whack-A-Mole. But that is my fault for failing to wear enough or even any sunscreen for so many years. And Rebecca did say that ideally I should do two to three treatments two weeks apart - with the odd refresher now and then. I did only the one but am still feeling the positive impact.

Ann Marie McQueen

Dh800-1,500 per session; two to three treatments recommended. EuroMed Clinic, Jumeirah Beach Road, Villa 611, Dubai, 04 394 5422,