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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 November, 2004, 00:26 GMT
Doctors' therapy 'slows ageing'
Skin around eye before treatment
The treatment works by tightening the skin
Two doctors believe they have the cure for wrinkles - infra-red light therapy.

Eye surgeon Jim Haslam and GP Dr Gordon Dougal based the treatment on a cold sore therapy they developed in 2001.

During tests on skin around the eyes, 95% of the 40 volunteers said the hand-held machine, called Restorelite, made a difference.

The therapy, which the doctors said can take up to 10 years off a person's age, works by stimulating elastin - the part of the skin that gives it tightness.

As well as testing the treatment on the volunteers, the doctors spent 30,000 researching Restorelite at Sunderland University.

Skin around eye after treatment
Doctors behind the therapy say it can take 10 years off a person's age

Dr Haslam, from Darlington Memorial Hospital, said: "Like so many medical discoveries the beneficial effect of this was a chance finding.

"The results have been amazing. Not one of our volunteers was willing to give the treatment back.

"Our experiments have focused on the skin of the eyelids and the immediate vicinity of the eyes, but there is no reason why skin in other areas should not be treated and improved."

But Dr Haslam warned that people who thought the machine, which costs 110, could completely get rid of their crow's feet had to be realistic.

'Easy to use'

"The technology is so new that we do not know whether or not the effects are cumulative when treatment is continued beyond two months - common sense dictates that at some point treatment must be finite."

Dr Dougal, who works in Peterlee, east Durham, said: "One of the attractions is that it is really easy to use.

"People can just sit there watching television and put the device against their skin for 15 to 30 minutes a day - depending on how many wrinkles they have.

"I have been using it for quite a few years now after bags started developing under my eyes.

"I am 48 now and the bags have not come on yet."

Elly Brenchley, spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation (BSF), said: "This is an interesting development, as increasing the levels of collagen in the skin could improve wrinkle appearance. "

But she said more research was needed: "The BSF looks forward to the results of properly controlled clinical trials with interest."

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