Expect non-invasive procedures to remain a staple in medical spas—both men and women are increasingly looking to injections, CoolSculpting, HydraFacial, lasers and other treatments that cut out recovery time and offer almost instant gratification.
“[Non-invasive options] are becoming wildly popular among those who would love to get a little professional TLC, as it were, but are uninterested in dramatic changes, downtime or a larger price tag,” said Fouad Samaha, M.D., of Boston Plastic Surgery.
Changing lifestyles and youthful ideals are driving demand for these procedures. According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), time has become a top priority for those hoping to slow down the hands of time.
“Younger patients, those with children and anyone who has a full-time job that’s hard to get away from, all benefit from easier, ‘in-and-out’ treatments with less downtime—but I would say that nearly anyone can benefit from these types of procedures. Because they have a lower level of commitment, most who have them are likely to maintain their results with frequent treatments,” said Samaha.
Patients of all ages are choosing non-surgical treatments, but younger generations are opting for them as a form of maintenance—many are using non-invasive procedures as a form of “prejuvination” to prevent signs of aging (and later corrective procedures) altogether. In 2016 alone, 56% of facial plastic surgeons saw an increase in injectables or cosmetic surgery in patients under the age of 30.
“Procedures that have minimal downtime definitely attract all different ages. Because of our busy life and are always on the go, patients tend to go with less downtime in procedures,” said Kathy Antonowicz, esthetician and laser technician at Boston Plastic Surgery.
Samaha believes that patients who are open to the possibility of more intensive procedures, such as face-lifts, at an older age are also more likely to begin with non-invasive treatments, stressing that a regime of non-surgical options earlier in life may delay the need for invasive intervention at all.
What’s Old Is New
This is not to say that procedures that do require time to recover are disappearing altogether; many patients still choose these options for their longer-lasting and more dramatic results.
“While there are some treatments that yield similar results with different recovery times—and, certainly, new technologies are able to provide better and better results with less downtime and side effects—some treatments are simply more appropriate for certain patients than others,” said Samaha.
A growing segment of patients in their 20s and 30s are taking aging into their own hands, incorporating smaller procedures with increased sun protection and skin care in order to work toward results that will not be written on their faces for several days. (Think: the trademark red, blistered skin from the peels of old.)
"Most patients will commit long-term to a procedure if they know that there's not a long downtime and they can go about their day, business and work without other people visually seeing that they've had something done to their skin," said Antonowicz.