Since opening his eponymous practice five years ago in Melbourne, James Vivian has become the skincare guy to visit. And although James Vivian Dermal Therapies has become known for its A-list clientele, Vivian says he’s never courted celebrity.
“Our clients are very distinguished members of the community – entrepreneurs and philanthropists and men and women with a lot of integrity, which is also how we run our practice,” he says. “We much prefer a very discreet service, and we welcome anyone.”
For the past five years, Vivian has been travelling to Sydney every six weeks to service clients, which is why he’s decided to open a practice in Double Bay, in the city’s east.
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“A lot of skin clinics will go for a very clinical look and feel, whereas we want someone to walk in and feel like they’ve come home. There are only a few people through at the same time, and there are big, generous treatment rooms.”
The Sydney clinic offers treatments, from skin tightening to laser genesis skin therapy – for this Vivian uses light energy to heat the upper dermal portion of the skin to stimulate collagen growth – and his most popular facial: the signature dermal therapy treatment. It includes laser and light therapies, chemical peeling treatments and topically applied “active ingredients”, which Vivian says brightens, plumps and hydrates the skin. Each treatment begins with a complimentary 45-minute consultation.
“We’re not the only people doing what we do, but we try to do things very differently,” he says. “We offer very personalised skincare to our clients that uses trialled and tested therapies that extend beyond cosmetics. It’s a holistic approach. People come in with so many different issues – pigmentation, age management – and we try to have all bases covered.”
When asked how he earned the nickname “the face whisperer”, Vivian demurs with characteristic humility. “That was from years ago. I think it’s cute,” he says, laughing. “I think what it really implies is that I don’t consider every skin that’s in front of me as the same as the one that came before. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Even if you work with the same person for years and years, you can never get complacent. You’re always just working with the skin in front of you.”