Updated: Mar 11
Karen Ellithorne looks at the top aesthetic treatments likely to trend this year.
With the compulsory wearing of masks due to the COVID-19 epidemic, focus has been moved to the rejuvenation of the periocular area and forehead, with the main concern being on the eyes and forehead.
This has led to an increase in the use of preventative and corrective injectable treatments in these areas. The increase has not only been limited to women in their forties and fifties, but across the younger age groups too, who have become aware of the anti-ageing benefits of preventative injections of neuromodulators (i.e. toxins). Patients are starting as young as their early twenties and thirties with these types of injectable treatments, as these can resolve minor aesthetic issues, which will ultimately prevent a patient needing otherwise more intensive plastic surgery later in life.
The above dynamic follows closely on the back of the trend of patients opting for subtle enhancement, as opposed to major alteration.
It’s well known that laser treatments can tackle a whole host of skin conditions, like pigmentation, inflamed skin and cuperose, whilst simultaneously boosting brightness and collagen for a more natural, youthful looking skin. Laser technology has now evolved with a new treatment modality called Picosecond laser, which is said to eliminate excess recovery time.
These new Picosecond lasers can be used to treat everything from overall skin rejuvenation and skin brightening, to the targeted treatments of fine lines, hyperpigmented lesions, melasma, acne scars and tattoo removal. The treatment itself is also very well tolerated by the patient.
Side-effects of protective masks
The great benefit of wearing masks for COVID-19 protection is that it is possible to eliminate some UV damage in the protected areas, however other complications have arisen.
It is noted that there has been an increase in sensitivity due to friction on the facial area and, in some cases, acne conditions worsening as a result of the skin being continually occluded and people not always wearing a clean mask.
This has led to an increase of retail sales for products that address these skin conditions and also to an increase in deep cleansing treatments, like hydro facials and skin peeling treatments, which can deep cleanse the skin while hydrating and brightening the epidermis.
Many companies continue to work remotely due to the pandemic, even after lockdown was lifted. This has created the opportunity for patients to undergo the more dramatic treatments that they have always wanted to do that involve downtime.
Several Johannesburg aesthetic clinics that I have been in touch with over the last few months have claimed to be busier than ever, with patients wanting deeper chemical peels, laser resurfacing and minimally invasive procedures. The beauty of this is they can always hide their face behind a buff or mask when they are out in public and they can work from home.
Trends that continue to grow and advance in 2021 are therapies like Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP), especially to prevent hair loss. PRP has become one of the standard protocols for hair growth and many great results have been seen with both men and women.
The mechanism and injection protocols involved in this treatment, which involves drawing blood from the patient, spinning it to separate the platelets and then injecting it back into the treatment area, are continually advancing, being researched and published in cosmetic journals around the world.
Even though PRP is well known and has been used in facial rejuvenation for a number of years, doctors are now combining the use of PRP with small amounts of additives like hyaluronic acid and neuromodulators (i.e. toxins). This cocktail is applied to the skin using a mesotherapy technique on the superficial structures off the epidermis. The treatment provides improvements to the skin that have really only been seen in the past with laser technology.
A combination of radiofrequency and micro-needling in a single unit is also seen to be currently trending. This is due to the amplified results of the micro-needling. The treatment is blood free due to the coagulation effect of the needles, which means the patient recovers faster post treatment.
Furthermore, the inclusion of a red or blue LED light that is currently also being included as part of the treatment further speeds up anti-acne and skin brightening results. For the ultimate Rolls Royce treatment, an addition of PRP may also be combined. This is found to minimise downtime for the patient, whilst maximising results.
Minimally invasive skin tightening treatments that stimulate the deeper collagen in the skin, and therefore assist with skin tightening, like Ultherapy, are also making a comeback but this time more amongst the younger generations that are wanting to work on age prevention.
The results from this type of therapy generally last up to two years. This treatment produces new collagen, but even with natural collagen regeneration, the skin continues to age. Therefore using good skincare products that encourage skin tightening and collagen production, namely retinol, will assist in these results lasting longer.
With many people having gained an additional kilogram or two over the lockdown period, it is predicted that several patients will consider the new offering in body shaping and fat reduction. The muscle sculpting trend that had already began internationally late 2019 is now currently being used to complement fat reduction in the body.
Well-known treatments like CoolSculpting, used to get rid of excess fat cells via freezing the cells, have led to the launch of many other popular body sculpting machines like EmSculpt, FlexSculpt and Cool Tone. This will result in the clinic focus no longer being solely on removing fat, but on the building and sculpting of muscle mass at the same time.
Some of these new technologies can treat and exercise key core muscle groups in a way that cannot be achieved by training in a gym. This technology can also add refinement for patients with lower mass indexes, who are not necessarily good candidates for fat removal.
The best part of this treatment is that it takes minimal time to perform and there is no downtime afterwards. Thus, it is a great lunchtime treatment and a beneficial component of many patients’ 2021 resolutions regarding their bodies.
A qualified aesthetician, Karen Ellithorne has been actively involved in the skincare industry since 1992, working as a lecturer and therapist, as well as successfully importing and distributing various products throughout South Africa. firstname.lastname@example.org