2019 will be the year of non-surgical cosmetic procedures with an more and more millennials showing increased concern about their skin health and the ageing process.
Through social media trends, celebrity endorsements and a growing acceptance of cosmetic and aesthetic treatments there has been an influx of younger women (and men) lining up for these types of treatments.
No longer are cosmetic procedures hidden behind closed doors, the results of these treatments (both good and bad) are broadcast over Instagram and reality television on a daily basis, with widespread consumer acceptance that these treatments are now part of routine beauty regimes.
On the other side of the coin to over filled lips and frozen expressions are those to seek cosmetic procedures to enhance and preserve their looks. “Prejuvenation” can be thought of as an emphasis on early intervention and maintenance treatments started in the 20s and 30s rather than rejuvenation procedures such as cosmetic surgery which may involve more down time, costs and risks at a later date.
A BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY
In Australia alone the non-surgical cosmetic industry is booming with the per capita spend on cosmetic treatments amongst the highest in the world. We have spent over $1 billion dollars with no signs of slowing down
Today we are seeing more of those wishing to embrace their natural beauty, age with dignity and prevent the deleterious processes that come with ageing. It is about confidence and owning your age rather than turning back the clock and looking younger.
By investing in these things early and recognising that skin health it just that, an investment. Then results will be delivered in a natural and harmonious way, and we may find the millennial generation avoiding complex surgical procedures like facelifts as they age.
A new focus on skin health, improvements in technology and more affordable prices has meant the younger generations are now getting on board and focusing on preventative treatments to maintain, enhance and prolong their beauty. But with so many available treatments on the market what are the most effective?
Traditionally anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers have been associated with filling in lines and wrinkles, resulting in a fake and frozen look. Now we are trending towards more of a natural look using total facial analysis; where skilled doctors will take into account each individual's facial structure and expressions, using small treatments to address the ageing process and maintain natural looking results.
Anti-wrinkle injections can stop wrinkles in their tracks resulting in smoother complexions while still maintaining normal facial expressions. The most common areas to treat are the frown lines, forehead lines and crow’s feet. These injections work to temporarily prevent muscular contraction and in turn prevent dynamic wrinkles forming.
They can also be used to shape the face and slim the jawline as well and soften lip lines, down-turned smiles and neck lines. When done correctly anti-wrinkle injections will be undetectable and result in a “fresh not frozen” appearance. We find that the majority of young women, usually in their late 20s, seeking out anti-wrinkle injections do so to “prevent'“ their lines forming, as they may have noticed the formation of soft fine lines at rest.
Dermal fillers which contain hyaluronic acid (which is a naturally occurring substance in our skin) can be used to replace lost volume, add structure and support sagging skin.These are injectable gels that work to slow down the ageing process by effectively restoring what has been lost. As we age, from the age of 26 onwards in women, facial fat pad atrophy and ligamentous laxity begins resulting in less support for the over lying skin.
Dermal fillers can effectively scaffold the skin, replicating lost face and add youthful contour back to the face. Despite being a treatment used to beautiful a face (think lip augmentation and cheek enhancement), when done with a '“prejuvenation” approach dermal fillers will again be natural and undetectable,
Using a combination approach of anti-wrinkle injections and fillers we can freeze the clock and prevent the need for surgery in the long term. Younger women are also using these treatments to get ‘selfie ready’ and contour their cheeks, perfect their profiles with chin and jawline enhancement and plump their lips to get Instagram ready, all with the aim of avoiding heavy makeup and contouring.
Laser and Light
There is an abundance of options in regards to skin ‘prejuvenation’ using laser and light. We are now seeing technology that allows optimal results with little to no down time which suits our busy lifestyles. Laser and light based treatments can boost collagen and elastin formation, improve skin texture and tone and treat early sun damage.
We see more and more young women in Australia already showing signs of premature skin ageing from years of chronic sun abuse (thank goodness solariums have been banned). The tanning culture is still rife especially with our long hot summers.
As a result skin is becoming pigmented with early sun spots, fine lines form, texture changes and there is accelerated collagen and volume loss. Many younger women are seeking out treatments that can reverse early sun damage and prevent any further damage long term which may in turn lower skin cancer rates and need for intensive ablative lasers.
A treatment that is gaining popularity in Australia is the Forever Young BBL™ treatment. This utilises broad band light (a much more advanced form IPL) which has been shown in studies to ‘flip the genetic switch’ and turn back the ageing process.
Forever Young BBL, when done on a regular basis alters gene expression in the skin and results in skin “behaving” like younger skin with healthier collagen and increased removal of damage. Regular treatments with BBL will not only treat pigmentation, redness, capillaries, acne and uneven skin tone, it will make the skin look visibly younger.
Radio Frequency Microneedling
From the mid 20’s collagen loss in the skin occurs at a rate of approximately 1% per year with results of collagen depletion being visible to the naked eye from the mid 30s with loss of firmness, laxity and a dull, lacklustre complexion.
Collagen induction therapy using or Skin needling using pen microneedling devices such as Dermapen™ has been a hugely popular treatment among younger patients for years. Used to treat scarring, texture and stimulate collagen, these treatments have been clinically proven to elevate collagen levels in the skin. We are finding that the young consumer is focused on maintaining their healthy collagen as well as wanting plumper, firmer skin long term.
Within Youth Lab we have found superior results for collagen stimulation by utilising the advanced technology of radiofrequency microneedling (utilizing radiofrequency heat energy) which can increase collagen levels in the skin and work to rebuild the skin from within.
Radiofrequency is one of the oldest energy based treatments in aesthetic medicine and works to heat the deep layers of the skin to a certain temperature, which then promotes a cascade of events leading to, you guessed it, new and healthy collagen. These treatments combine the best of both worlds. The heat from radiofrequency with the needling of microneedling which induces micro-channels of ‘injury’ to the skin which in turn stimulates our body’s own healing mechanisms to produce new collagen and elastin, and remove damaged skin cells.
The end result of these treatments is tighter, thicker and healthier skin with a reduction in fine lines, scars, pores and surface irregularities. Treatments can be done on a regular basis with little to no downtime. We recommend an initial course of 3 treatments to “reboot” the skin with annual maintenance to ensure it remains functioning to the optimal levels.
Active Skin Care
Good skin care is the foundation for healthy skin as we age. There is a new emphasis on active cosmeceutical ingredients and trends moving away from department store brands. With more education and more variety to choose from, investing in high quality skin care is the very first step to take for anyone focused on maintaining and preserving their skin health. You can read about my favourite products here.
An essential in any ‘prejuvenation’ skin care regime is a broad spectrum SPF 50+. This is a non-negotiable for anyone living in Australia. Not only does an SPF protect agains skin cancer and burns but a broad spectrum SPF offers protection from the damaging UVA rays which do not burn our skin but penetrate deep to alter our DNA and cause accelerated ageing. If you could only use one skin care product it would be a daily SPF. They come in beautiful formulations now combined with daily moisturiser so there is no excuse (SPF in foundation does not count).
Combined with an SPF to offer protection is the use of an antioxidant serum such as vitamin C. Due to the harsh Australian sun antioxidants are needed to add further protection against oxidative stress and environmental damage which is a main contributor for ageing. There are excellent vitamin C products available but it can be confusing regarding concentrations and formulations as vitamin C is very unstable (it cant be exposed to sun light for example). Always purchase a medical grade serum from a clinic rather than over the counter as these products will not contain active vitamin C.
The next essential active ingredient is some type of retinol or vitamin A. Used at night time, vitamin A is clinically proven to repair photo damage and treat acne. When used as a preventative measure, vitamin A can maintain youthful skin, increase collagen levels, decrease sebum production, treat acne and improve pigmentation.
Retinol can be over the counter or prescription but again it is the cosmeceutical grade products available from a cosmetic clinic that will deliver the best results. Again it is essential due to our harsh climate but needs to be used with care as initial application can cause some sensitivity and dryness which may turn people off with first use. Persistence is key here and long term use of such a simple product will reap long term benefits.
Youth Has No Age
It is an exciting time in aesthetic medicine as the savvy consumer is now focusing on skin perfection and preserving the gift of youth.
The treatments available today need to focus on long term prevention and treatment of telltale signs of ageing such as skin laxity, texture and pigmentation whist offering minimal down time with a tailored and personal result.
Gone are the days of seasonal and short lived trends in beauty and cosmetic medicine; ‘prejuvenation’ and a natural look are here to stay.
Dr Kate x