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At MyAdvice, we work with a slew of aesthetic practices offering everything from the involved surgeries of a mommy makeover to light glycolic chemical peels. This past 18 months has changed lots of things for all of us, and the aesthetic world has been front and center. 

Kind of like those ubiquitous Zoom calls we’ve all been on… 

It’s those Zoom calls, Facetime visits, and endless selfies during lockdown that may be fueling certain trends in the industry. The International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine (IAPAM) has detailed five trends it’s watching for its members. 

Let’s get into that in this last blog before the autumnal equinox promises to cool us all down after a hot summer. 

What’s behind the shifts? 

During 2019 there was already a trend toward more facial rejuvenation procedures, and that was before the craziness of COVID sent us all home, indoors, and on video calls. It’s thought that seeing ourselves continually in the corner of the screen on every Zoom meeting and Facetime call made each of us take stock in our facial appearance, especially the signs of aging. And this fueled an increase in various non-invasive procedures for facial rejuvenation and other improvements. 

Overall, 2019 and 2020 saw an increase in non-invasive procedures as a whole. Part of this is attributed to video conferencing. Part is attributed to the rise in telemedicine and the option of meeting your doctor or aesthetic provider by video rather than having to schedule an in-person consultation prior to having a treatment done. 

One other interesting factor that’s totally COVID has been colloquially called “maskne.” Yes, that awkward-looking made-up word is meant to describe a sort of acne caused by wearing masks. Masks do provide an ideal environment for bacteria growth, what with the increased humidity and temperatures that develop under our masks. This results in clogged pores and “maskne.” People who already have skin issues, such as eczema, have been dealing with more outbreaks due to mask wearing. 

Five areas to watch 

Injectables 

Botox (along with the other neuromodulators) has been the most popular cosmetic treatment, surgical or non-surgical, ever since it was first approved for aesthetic use by the FDA in 2002. Every year since that approval, neuromodulator injections (primarily Botox) have been the most-performed procedures in the U.S. and around the world. Botox has become one of the world’s most well-known brands. 

Dermal fillers have become more and more popular as well. Juvéderm and Restylane are far and away the two most popular dermal filler lines, and each has continued to expand to target singular areas of the face. For instance, Restylane added Kysse in 2021 for lip augmentation with natural movement. 

Zoom and Facetime have only accelerated the popularity of injectables. Seeing ourselves on screen continually has shown us the frown lines, marionette lines, sunken cheeks, under eye tear troughs, crow’s feet, and the other lines and creases across our faces, and we don’t like them. 

Platelet-rich plasma 

We all know that the platelets in our blood provide the mechanism to close a wound and stem the bleeding. But they’re also very important for healing the wound, providing various growth factors that encourage the body to build new skin cells, collagen, and elastin. 

So, what if you could take a blood sample and remove the red blood cells to dramatically increase the number of platelets in the remaining serum? You’d have platelet-rich plasma, PRP. 

Platelet-rich plasma first gained notoriety when professional athletes began having PRP injected into the sites of surgical repairs or injuries. The PRP sped the healing process. 

About a decade ago, PRP started being used in the aesthetic world for facial rejuvenation. More recently, it’s been used on the scalp to encourage sleepy hair follicles to return to active growth. 

These treatments don’t provide instant results, but in about three weeks patients start to see improvements in their skin. Various celebrities have also sworn allegiance to PRP, and that has helped fuel its growth. 

Microneedling 

Another skin rejuvenation treatment encourages the body to heal the skin from within using hundreds, even thousands of microinjuries. It’s microneedling. The different handpieces used in microneedling have a series of microneedles that oscillate up and down. Their penetration depth can be adjusted. When moved across the treatment areas of the face, the needles create microscopic punctures through the epidermis into the dermis layer of the skin. The punctures are so small they heal within a couple of hours, but the body responds to the wounds. It produces new amounts of collagen and elastin to heal the wounds, although they are healed long before the collagen fully ramps up. The punctures also break down poor skin texture. 

Various treatments such as Scarlet RF and Profound have added a new wrinkle to the original microneedling treatment, radiofrequency energy. By delivering radiofrequency energy from the microneedle tips at their full penetration, the RF energy can enter the dermis without having to make its way through the outer epidermis. In the dermis, the RF energy converts to heat, and when the body senses heat in the dermis it assumes a wound has occurred. The response? More collagen and elastin, along with new skin cell production, to “heal” the perceived wounds, although there aren’t any actual wounds from the RF energy. 

Again, the IAPAM assumes increased videoconferences is the driver of increased microneedling for facial rejuvenation and it predicts these procedures will continue to grow in popularity. 

Laser hair removal 

Laser hair removal has been around for over 25 years, but it continues to grow in popularity. The concept is to set the laser wavelength to match the color of the melanin in the patient’s unwanted hair. The laser energy is then directed down onto the unwanted hair in short pulses. The melanin in the hair shafts absorbs the light energy and it converts to heat. The heat then travels down the hair shaft into the follicle where it is anchored. The heat destroys or seriously damages the hair follicle, precluding it from producing future hair. Voila — no shaving, plucking, waxing, and applying harsh depilatory creams. 

COVID only fueled the popularity of laser hair removal. Suddenly, those hairs above the upper lip and those stray hairs on the sideburn area attained unwanted status on high-definition video. 

Plus, the IAPAM assumes people were taking stock of the appearance of their entire body during COVID lockdowns. Guys weren’t thrilled with their arm sweaters or back hair. Women were tired of keeping their bikini line in shape. Laser hair removal provides the answer. 

The IAPAM predicts laser hair removal will continue to expand, as the trend today is for people to have less body hair.   

Nonsurgical fat reduction 

As people have taken stock of their appearance, they haven’t stopped at the neckline. They’ve also wanted to get rid of some pockets of unwanted fat. Whether this was the COVID 10 (10 added pounds due to endless trips past the kitchen when working from home) or not doesn’t matter. 

While surgical liposuction has been popular for a couple decades, more recently, nonsurgical fat reduction has exploded in popularity. 

This was led by CoolSculpting, where fat cells (which have a higher freezing temperature than other skin and muscle cells) are frozen through cooling delivered by two or more panels, a process known as cryolipolysis. The frozen fat cells die and are removed by the body’s lymphatic system over the next few weeks. CoolSculpting reduces fat in treatment areas by up to 25 percent, and it does so without any incisions or downtime. 

Since CoolSculpting came around, other energy sources have been introduced to melt and remove fat. SculpSure uses laser energy. Exilis, truSculpt, and others use radiofrequency energy. Liposonix uses ultrasound energy. 

All deliver non-invasive fat reduction, and the past 18 months has fueled an explosion in their popularity. IAPAM doesn’t see this changing anytime soon. 

If you have any questions about how your practice can adjust to this changing COVID/post-COVID world, please contact your MyAdvice representative. If you’re not yet a client, fill out the contact form and let’s talk.

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