“Zoom” effect stronger than Instagram? Interview in Stockholm with Dr. Rebecka Gardell, the new priestess of aesthetic treatment.
All those long hours spent doing one video call after another, seeing yourself on large screens —these unforgiving magnifying glasses that reveal every detail of your face — have exacerbated self-criticism. Circles, bags under the eyes and other signs of fatigue weigh more and more on the morale of teleworkers. Get a beauty treatment, yes, but not at any price. With her natural method and perfect gesture, Dr. Rebecka Gardell has made a name for herself during the crisis. And Covid? A boost to her activity in soft aesthetic treatment. Report from Stockholm in her clinic that is never empty.
It’s a universal problem that has become complicated for many people. Dr. Gardell’s waiting room and the diversity of patients bears witness to it: People from India, Scandinavia, France, Portugal or Egypt, and they have all made the journey to treat a part of their body that is as delicate as it is intimate. Windows to the soul, the point of contact between humans, the eye region reveals us to each other. Worse, they betray our emotions. An “ill-at-ease” look due to aesthetic anxiety often leads to ill-being. Circles under the eyes? Due to a lack of sleep and our lifestyle... Grievances in the shape of reproaches that those taken to task can no longer bear to hear. “Bluish blemishes on fair skin, brownish ones on dark skin, some people are genetically more predisposed to hollow eyes, and even at a young age. Moreover, the physiological process of aging is also accompanied by a loss of subcutaneous fat around the eye contour, which generally makes the circle look deeper. The skin around your eyes, four times thinner than the rest of the face, renders the venous network more transparent, and needs special attention,” Dr. Rebecka Gardell explains.
In her lush and plush clinic, with arty touches strewn around here and there in the form of sculptures and murals, the Swedish practitioner also points out other aggravating factors like prolonged exposure to screens and stress. A stress at its paroxysm since the emergence of the global pandemic. The problems associated with circles have never been as commented as today. Her patients are anything but hooked on aesthetic surgery. It’s often their first intervention that they wanted to be ‘soft’, and above all reversible. They see, in the aesthetic medicine promoted by Dr. Gardell, a natural alternative to their torments. In her clinic, the clients are “men and women who have high expectations regarding the quality of the results. They are midway in their careers, very committed professionally and successful They simply aspire to look good while remaining faithful to their features. For them, botox is one of the lines that they aren’t prepared to cross.”, confides the Karolinska Institute of Stockholm graduate.
A photofit picture that looks like many golden boys and executive directors… “Yes, but not only that. In my clinic, executives and self-employed professionals mingle with Afghan refugees. They all share the same motivations: to hide their circles with a perfectly-mastered natural and innovative approach”, she hastens to clarify. Her “Tear Trough Eye Fillers” technique – filling the tear troughs and dark circles under the eye – diverges from the more common procedure, which enabled her to quickly make a name for herself in the glamor business and on Instagram. Taking inspiration from the virtuosity of painters, Dr. Gardell works on the eye region line by line, to achieve the ideal perspective while paying strict respect to facial anatomy. “It can take me 30 minutes or three times as long; I’m obsessed by detail! I know exactly where to place the microcannulas to inject the hyaluronic acid, a sugar naturally produced by the body, able to volumize the hollow area. I only fill the areas where the patient is suffering from volume loss, without ever overfilling them. Otherwise, you diverge from the original facial symmetry by denaturing it.”, explains the sought-after perfectionist.
To obtain this perfect gesture, the therapist works with blunt cannulas, which she assures are much safer than sharp needles. It is primordial to avoid any risk of arterial occlusion in this extremely delicate area where a false move can have dire consequences. Here too, Dr. Rebecka Gardell is perfectly at ease with her difference, which has become a decisive argument in the minds of her patients. A guarantee of safety that has swung it for many Internet users behind their screens. “Recently, I was sitting with my daughters painting watercolors, and we had to sketch a flower with tiny petals. Suddenly, I had the impression of being at work! It’s exactly the same feeling as when I set to work on the tear troughs!”
Although completely natural, hyaluronic acid is to be handled with precaution “and reason”, the doctor insists. “The treatment may be effective with 1 or 2 ml at most. Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine the correct dose as the definitive results of filling can only be appreciated some six to eight weeks later (a slight swelling that slowly goes down is visible for a few days). That’s why I limit myself to 1 ml when I’m of the opinion that the patient’s venous system presents more challenges. It’s necessary to be a pedagogue in some cases.” A polite euphemism that reveals the sometimes distorted relationship vis-à-vis aesthetic treatment and its actual artistic canons.
We leave the white blouse and bright neons of Dr. Gardells & Partners’ clinic to now continue the discussion in the Brasserie Balzac. A nod to France and its way of life right in the heart of Stockholm. The elegant brunette addresses the business side of her clinic in full expansion.
After several years of apprenticeship and practice alongside experts, the therapist has always wanted to open her own clinic rather than to continue in collaboration. A liberty that has allowed her to hone her own method right down to the choice of instruments. In the era of Covid, Dr. Rebecka Gardell has never worked as much: “A lot of people are carrying the stigma of the pandemic; the return to the workplace and open space is both a source of excitement and frustration. My patients have the heartfelt need to treat the circles under their eyes.” Circles that have become symbols for those who have not hesitated to hop on a flight to Stockholm. Among them, a growing number of French citizens underlines the Swede, who is thinking about setting up shop in Paris: “Paris is a city that stands at a crossroads, a city of aesthetes; it’s the ideal location. I have to be present in this market.”, she thinks aloud.
In the meantime, Dr. Gardell plays down the crisis by moving this spring into a clinic three times as big to accommodate the strong demand. Other addresses will soon follow in the main regions of Sweden, as she also intends to be a prophet in her country.What about current aesthetic trends? “Between 2018 and 2021, there has been a dramatic paradigm shift. Before, botox – in all extravagance – was king! Prominent cheekbones and oversized lips are going out of fashion. Today, people want to maintain their youthful look without it being known. ‘Less is more!’, looking natural recognising yourself in the mirror is what counts. A return to essentials born out of the pandemic.” she concludes. Will aesthetic medicine undergo a revolution?