The losses, upheavals, restrictions and comprehensive lifestyle changes brought about by the pandemic have resulted in an unexpected outcome – a surge in demand for cosmetic medical treatments.
Flying in the face of a sharp downturn in many industries and businesses since the COVID crisis, a surprising new trend has emerged.
Over the past year, Australians have been flocking to receive non-surgical cosmetic medical treatments such as Botulinum toxin (anti-wrinkle) and dermal filler injections – the most sought-after procedures – laser skin resurfacing, intense pulsed light (IPL), non-invasive body contouring and general laser treatments to enhance their appearance.
The Cosmetic Physicians College of Australasia (CPCA) – the leading representative body for medical practitioners practising non- or minimally-invasive cosmetic medical treatments in Australasia – recently conducted a member survey that showed an unprecedented surge in clinics seeing new patients seeking these procedures in the last 12 months.
According to the survey, there has been a massive 41.5 percent increase in new patients who have never previously had aesthetic treatments.
According to the CPCA survey, there has been a massive 41.5 percent increase in new patients who have never previously had aesthetic treatments.
The survey attributes the top three key drivers as:
- An inability to travel, leading to more disposable income
- More time available due to working from home
- A general dissatisfaction with one’s appearance after staring at it for collective hours on video calls such as Zoom (also known as the Zoom Boom effect)
Other factors include social media influences and a general desire to improve appearance.
“While, individually, our College’s members have noticed an increase in new patients requesting non-surgical aesthetic treatments, we had no idea that collectively this figure would be so high,” says CPCA President Dr Michael Molton, Principal Cosmetic Medical Doctor/Senior Medical Officer at Adelaide’s Epiclinic.
“I personally have seen new patients facing unemployment who are applying for new jobs and getting back into the workforce, seeking these treatments.
“The great thing is that while these procedures enhance someone’s aesthetic appearance, they also contribute significantly to their psychological wellbeing.”
“It’s also wonderful to see the message getting through that these procedures are cosmetic medical procedures and should be performed by trained and experienced health practitioners.”
The CPCA provides education, training and ethical practice standards for its Fellows and Members, who are required to have relevant training and experience as prerequisites for admission to the College.
Members are required to keep abreast of the most up-to-date, relevant information and latest medical and scientific advances. Overall, the key role of the CPCA is to develop and maintain the highest standards in cosmetic medicine.
“With a level of uncertainty still lingering, whether it be financial or health concerns due to COVID-19 and potential lockdowns, there seems to be an ever-increasing shift towards non-invasive procedures, which are considered lower-risk than invasive surgery,” says Dr Molton.
“These procedures offer a wide array of aesthetic enhancement benefits that are effective, time efficient, with little to no downtime and achieve great results that are almost instantaneous.
“Travel restrictions have also resulted in many people reinvesting this money in themselves. Many of our patients have decided that money spent on self-care is money well spent.
“The inability to travel has meant more time and more funds for patients to invest in treatments – and let’s face it, looking good is synonymous with feeling good.”
TOP 5 MOST COMMONLY REQUESTED TREATMENT/PROCEDURE COMBINATIONS
Of the doctors who responded to the survey, 65 percent have found that patients are more frequently requesting multiple treatments per visit.
An overwhelming 75 percent of patients are requesting a combination of anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers in the one treatment, with the next most common combinations being Botulinum toxin/dermal filler and Botulinum toxin/threads (each 8 percent), Botulinum toxin/body contouring and skin resurfacing/threads (each 4 percent).
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Botulinum toxin is an injectable muscle relaxant, commonly used to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles on the surface of the skin by relaxing muscles beneath, for instance across the forehead, between the brows or “crows feet” around the eyes.
Dermal fillers are a gel-based treatment injected into the skin. The gel imitates a naturally occurring substance within the body – hyaluronic acid (HA), a sugar molecule that exists naturally in almost all living organisms.
Threads (aka thread lift). Instead of removing a patient’s loose facial skin surgically, a cosmetic surgeon places temporary sutures (threads) under the skin to “stitch up” portions of it to produce a subtle but visible “lift” in the face.
Non-invasive body contouring is an umbrella term for fat dissolving and skin-tightening procedures that involve the use of devices that harness various types of energies, such as ultrasound, radiofrequency or cryolipolysis (aka “fat freezing”), to achieve a shapelier, more toned-looking body in multiple sessions. Many people choose these over surgical procedures such as liposuction as they are minimally invasive and have minimal downtime.
Skin resurfacing involving laser is designed to reduce facial lines and wrinkles and skin irregularities, such age spots, scars, acne scars, sagging skin, uneven skin tone, enlarged oil glands and warts. This technique directs short, concentrated pulsating beams of light at irregular skin.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a type of light therapy used to minimise or remove age spots, sun damage, freckles, birthmarks, varicose veins, broken blood vessels on the face, rosacea and hair on the face, neck, back, chest, legs, underarms, or bikini line. IPL is similar to a laser treatment. However, a laser focuses just one wavelength of light at the skin, while IPL releases light of many different wavelengths, like a photo flash.