Since 2006, the International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine (IAPAM) has been providing a platform for licensed practitioners of aesthetic treatments to learn about the aesthetic medicine industry. It has provided guidance and training, along with industry blogs and reports on the latest aesthetic trends, to help aesthetic professionals excel in their jobs. These aesthetic practitioners greatly depend on critical information provided to them and it helps them focus on getting well-trained in the procedures that are likely to experience rising trends.
As people age, their needs and requirements change. Hence, many older procedures are being replaced by newer ones. For example, there has been a continuous rise in the popularity of non-invasive procedures. There are new treatments in the market, such as Kybella®, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), radio-frequency and laser-assisted technology. These are slowly replacing longer and riskier surgical procedures.
Non-invasive procedures have been rapidly gaining popularity over time (Parker B. J., 2014). These are procedures that require little to no direct incisions or grafts on the body. There are several reasons behind their rising popularity. The first one is that they are less painful than invasive procedures. Secondly, they are less likely to cause immediate damage or risky side effects after the procedure. Invasive procedures are often considered to have a higher chance of not meeting patient expectations. Third, invasive procedures take a relatively long time to carry out. Lastly, patients need a longer period of rest and it takes them longer to recover from surgical procedures.
Non-invasive procedures are the opposite. One can undergo non-invasive procedures and experience little to no downtime. Also, they have proven themselves to be more reliable in terms of safety and results and success rates. Therefore, patients now prefer procedures that are more convenient for them. Physicians also benefit from non-invasive procedures as it puts them under far less pressure than their invasive counterparts. So far, both physicians and patients have given positive reviews for non-invasive techniques for aesthetics.
There is also a rise in the popularity of dermal fillers, Botox® injections and laser treatments. Reality TV stars, including the Kardashian family have very much contributed to setting trends in aesthetic treatments. According to a small-scale survey, 82% physicians revealed that celebrity influence was a major reason why younger people – “millennials” – opted for aesthetic procedures in the first place (Hilton, 2016). Another study showed that the main factor behind this was that younger people identify with celebrities and are thus prone to follow in their footsteps (Wen, 2017).
The overall theme of non-invasive procedures is leaning towards fat removal and vaginal rejuvenation.
Top Trends in Aesthetic Medicine in 2018
Aesthetic Trends#1 Vaginal Rejuvenation
This is a treatment that has been growing exponentially in terms of popularity. In the past, even talking about such a thing was taboo. It was also not marketed much either. Now, however, vaginal rejuvenation is expected to continue to trend as it has become a more convenient procedure and prominent in media. The procedure was promoted by TV shows such as The Doctors. Many physicians have already added it to the list of services they provide.
Dr. Stevens, a plastic surgeon from California, claimed that modern non-invasive laser enhancements in vaginal rejuvenation is “the female Viagra” (Mann, 2017). He went on to say that non-invasive treatment options, which essentially tighten the vaginal muscles and improve lubrication through laser treatments, “involves only one short treatment with no downtime.” This makes it clear why it is going to continue to trend.
In the past, vaginoplasty was the main and only option for vaginal rejuvenation, which is a very painful, lengthy, and complicated procedure and requires a long recovery period. With the new non-invasive techniques, women can now go through the process without pain or lengthy downtime. One popular non-invasive procedure is the Femme 360™ procedure by BTL Aesthetics (8 Minutes That Can Change Your (Intimate) Life, n.d.). It takes only 8 minutes to perform, making it the shortest non-invasive vaginal rejuvenation procedure to date. It uses radio frequency waves and 360-degree volumetric heating, making the procedure very comfortable and convenient for females.
Aesthetic Trends#2 Fat Removal and Body Contouring (non-invasive)
Sometimes, body fat may be too stubborn to get rid of through the traditional methods of rigorous workout routines or excessive dieting. This is where non-invasive fat removal techniques come in. Non-invasive fat removal techniques have eliminated risks otherwise associated with invasive processes, such as embolism, infections, and above all, the pain and long recovery caused by undergoing surgery. Non-invasive fat removal leads to a greatly improved body shape with minimal pain and lower risk. The results are permanent, given that one focuses on healthy life choices in future. There has been an increase of 18.7% in the popularity of non-invasive fat reduction during 2016 and continues to rise each year according to the statistics released by the ASAPS (American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery). Hence, these easier non-invasive techniques will continue to grow. The most popular non-invasive fat removal procedures will continue to use freezing or heating of fat cells to naturally eliminate and dispose of them through the body. Fat removal of less common body areas are becoming more targeted through these procedures such as the removal of fat along the bra-line on the back, fat pockets above the knees, and the double chin.
One of the biggest procedures for fat removal in the chin area is Kybella®. It was made commercially available in 2016, after the FDA approved it in 2015. The double-chin-reducing procedure involves injecting a substance known as deoxycholic acid into fat deposits in the neck and chin which dissolves fat around the points of injection. Unlike some fat-reducing cosmetic procedures, such as liposuction, where the fat cells can repopulate post-surgery, the fat cells destroyed by the Kybella® treatment can no longer store or gather fat, meaning the double chin is permanently removed.
Another rising trend, even though surgical, is the replacement of fat to other areas of the body. One such procedure is the “Brazilian Butt Lift”. Even though it is a type of plastic surgery, it is considered minimally invasive due to lesser pain and shorter downtime experienced by patients as opposed to undergoing the Butt Augmentation surgery (Brazilian Butt Lift vs Butt Augmentation, n.d.). It involves the transfer of fat from one part of the body to another. This retains the patient’s fat in the body however, removing it from the “wrong places” and adjusting it into where it could be of more use for aesthetic treatment, that is, the buttocks (Slater MD, n.d.).
Aesthetic Trends#3 Anti-aging of face treatments – turning to natural substances for facial rejuvenation
With the growing awareness of the importance of natural and healthy living, many are turning away from synthetic aesthetic options for rejuvenation. A growing trend for facial rejuvenation using treatments from the body’s own regenerative resources. One such advanced solution is stem cell therapy for facial rejuvenation. Even though it is in its infancy, this is a trend that is expected to grow. Here stem cells are extracted from the patient’s own fat, and then used in wrinkle treatments and correcting facial volume. (Stem Cell Therapy for the Face, Skin, and Hair, n.d.). Another facial rejuvenation procedure that involves using a patient’s body resources is the Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy, often referred to as the “Vampire Facelift”. PRP treatments involve the separation of plasma and platelets from a small sample of the patient’s blood. It is then inserted into the patient’s skin through a series of injections or through microdermabrasion. It supports the growth of collagen which makes the skin appear softer and smoother (Top 5 Trends In Medical Aesthetics).
Another trend that has been trending and will continue to grow is Microneedling. This is also known as collagen induction therapy because it stimulates the skin into producing collagen by piercing or puncturing the surface of the skin with very thin needles.
Pharmaceutical companies are also working on launching a wider variety of face creams which slow down the aging process. The more recently developed anti-aging creams are more aggressive in fighting against the physical effects of aging by using aggressive anti-aging ingredients such as Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid. (Parker E., 2017).
Aesthetic Trends#4 Eye Rejuvenation
Most people do not wait to reach an older age for eye rejuvenation and these treatments are sought for by the younger demographic. Common problems that people of all ages wish to eliminate is the look of tired eyes caused by crow’s feet, eye bags and dark circles from under the eyes. There are many dermal fillers, such as Restylane®, which add volume to the skin. Non-invasive procedures here are also more preferred. Volume augmentation around the eye area is a major trend in eye rejuvenation and can be achieved with both synthetic fillers such as injectable hyaluronic acid gel (Juvederm®; [Allergan] and Restylane® [Galderma]) and autologous facial fat grafting. Restoration of lack of volume around the eye specifically upper lid sulcus, the lower lid-cheek junction, the brows, the midface, and the temples can dramatically restore freshness and younger look in the eye area. In addition, injectable fillers are an excellent option for the patient who desires nonsurgical rejuvenation.
Another rising non-invasive procedure using radiofrequency waves and heating technology, is Exilis™ by BTL Aesthetics. This eye rejuvenation treatment serves as a solution to reducing fine lines and simultaneously tightening the skin around the eyes for a more youthful appearance.
Crow’s feet are commonly treated by Botox® injections too and they are expected to continue their rising trend. Chemical peels are also a popular choice, recommended by many professionals. They are good for treating hyperpigmentation (dark circles) under the eyes. (Eye Rejuvenation & Non-Surgical Eye Lifts, n.d.).
Aesthetic Trends#5 Face – chin and jaw contouring and augmentation
Usage for dermal fillers is expected to expand as we have seen many new procedures arise. Some of the procedures expected to trend are the non-surgical nose job, chin augmentation and liquid face lifts. Considering surgical procedures are on the downfall, dermal fillers were able to replace nose job and face lift procedures with much quicker and safer treatments. There is a rising demand for longer lasting and bulkier facial fillers. This has resulted in newer hyaluronic acid fillers that last longer, like Juvederm Voluma®. Voluma generally lasts for up to two years, much longer than other types of fillers. Another filler that is longer lasting is Radiesse®, a facial filler that has an average lasting period of 18 months. Radiesse® is made from calcium hydroxyapatite, substances found in teeth and bones. This facial filler is longer lasting because it helps the skin create additional collagen, resulting in rejuvenation. Sculptra, another longer lasting facial filler works similarly and can last up to 2 years as well.
Defined jawlines will continue to gain in popularity as more and more men and women desire a more defined chin and jawline. Non-surgical options for this are Allergan’s Voluma, along with Galderma’s Restylane® Lyft and Sculptra® dermal filler products.
The growth of non-invasive procedures continues to be strong with more and more procedures added to this segment. Once invasive facelifts and liposuction procedures were the only options, but now we are seeing effective, non-surgical alternatives. The IAPAM has been providing hands-on CME training for over 10 years, and has seen a strong increase in these non-invasive procedures. IAPAM executive-director, Jeff Russell, says “2017 was certainly the year of non-invasive fat removal and skin tightening, now we are seeing a strong demand for non-invasive vaginal rejuvenation. Consumer demand is going to drive non-invasive procedures to the top of all aesthetic procedures once again in 2018.” It’s also important to note that these are all medical procedures, and they should only be performed by trained physicians or licensed healthcare providers.
About the IAPAM: The International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine
The International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine is a voluntary association of physicians and supporters, which sets standards for the aesthetic medical profession. The goal of the association is to offer education, ethical standards, credentialing, and member benefits. IAPAM membership is open to all licensed medical doctors (MDs), dentists (DDSs/DMDs) doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs), physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs). The IAPAM offers aesthetic medicine and hCG medical weight management programs, including: Botox training, medical aesthetic training, laser training, physician hCG training, and aesthetic practice business training. Additional information about the association can be accessed through the IAPAM’s website (https://iapam.com).