After years of steady rises, it may come as a bit of a surprise to some that cosmetic surgery is on the decline. Many surgeons are also reporting a reduction in the number of procedures a patient has at one time. Instead of several simultaneous procedures, patients are opting for single ones. More often than not, the economy and job insecurity is getting blamed.
However, there is a rise in what you can have done without surgery. Many people don’t have the time to spend two weeks off work recovering from a facelift but want a little bit of improvement, so they’re looking at non-surgical options.
Botox is now so well established that it celebrated its 15th anniversary as an FDA-approved cosmetic treatment earlier this year, but you can also have your face lasered and peels applied to improve skin texture, and ultrasound therapies to tighten.
A significant proportion of patients don’t want surgery yet or they want to try to prevent it from happening at all. Twenty years ago your only option was surgery – now there are machines, injectables and so much more that can be done. Much of the time, it is replacing the need to have surgery done.
Machines using lasers or LEDs work deeper down within the muscle to make new collagen and elastin to give that nice infrastructure, and tightening effect. Previously, loose skin was cut away and tightened. Now it is plumped up with injectable filler. Volume replacement is what has really changed in the last few years.
However, what is driving the shift can’t be attributed to any one thing. We’re living in a more virtual and visual culture. We’re looking at images differently. High-Def (HDTV) and computer technology means we’re seeing flaws in skin we didn’t notice before.
The use of other beauty treatments – such as teeth whitening and HD brows, where eyebrows are dyed, waxed and shaped – has accelerated in the past few years. It is becoming increasingly normalized to have more done to meet what we think of as quite basic beauty standards.
Another thing is that people are starting earlier. Before, people would not consider these treatments until they were in their mid-40s. Now women in their mid-20s are very aware of the aging process and are already doing things to halt it early.
One millennial summed it up, “I think in my generation it is becoming a lot more normalised to have non-surgical procedures. I don’t see the issue with that as long as people research reputable places and are doing it for themselves, not to please others. I don’t want to look like anyone else but myself, but I want to be a prettier version of myself.”