Dr. Joseph M. Perlman Advanced Plastic Surgery Centre
Non-surgical cosmetic treatments are on the rise according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). The organization conducted extensive research into cosmetic procedures over a 20-year period, ending in 2020. The research revealed that all types of cosmetic procedures have increased. However, non-surgical treatments are gaining popularity rapidly and show no signs of slowing down. While many men and women often don’t want others to know they’ve had a cosmetic procedure performed, more people than ever before are taking advantage of non-surgical cosmetic treatments to enhance their appearance and feel better about themselves. There were over a million non-surgical techniques performed in 2000, but by 2020 that number had risen to over 12 million and accounted for more than $20 billion annually. The top five most sought treatments in 2020 were:
  • Botulinum toxin – including Botox®, Dysport and Xeomin®
  • Hyaluronic acid – encompassing JUVÉDERMUltra, Ultra Plus, Voluma, Perlane, Restylane and Belotero®
  • Laser hair removal – with laser or pulsed light
  • Photorejuvenation – has replaced microdermabrasion procedures
  • Chemical peels
Not surprisingly, people in the 35-50 age group had the most procedures performed, closely followed by those age 51-64. Women still out-pace men when it comes to non-surgical treatments, but men are quickly catching up with chemical peels being the most popular procedure among males.

Non-surgical treatment with injectables

Non-surgical treatments with injectables were performed over 8,000,000 times in 2020. They tighten skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, smooth skin, and plump areas where sagging has occurred. From 2000 to 2020, the use of injectables increased by 7,000 percent overall, with 10 percent of that number representing men.

Hyaluronic acid for non-surgical treatment

One of the reasons that the use of hyaluronic acid is so popular is that it’s a non-surgical way to replenish the skin’s moisture naturally. It revitalizes skin, improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and smooths and softens for a glowing and more youthful appearance.

Non-surgical treatment for hair removal

Hair removal utilizing laser or pulsed light was performed over a million times in 2020 making it the third most highly sought non-surgical cosmetic treatment. It’s highly effective, is beneficial for treating in-grown hairs, addressing razor bumps, and eliminates painful waxing, tweezing, and shaving. The number of men taking advantage of non-surgical hair removal increased by 12.1 percent and for women that number rose by 87.9 percent within the years of the study. For many men, the goal typically isn’t to completely eliminate hair but to thin it out – particularly on the chest and back. They’re also looking to curtail a unibrow, hair around the ears, and the back of the neck.

Photorejuvenation that’s a non-surgical treatment

One of the most popular non-surgical treatments, as evidenced by the over a million procedures performed in 2020, was photorejuvenation (IPL). It stimulates the body to create new skin cells for a radiant and more youthful appearance. It addresses multiple skin concerns that include:
  • Spots
  • Scars
  • Wrinkles
  • Stretch marks
  • Sun damage
  • Thickened or scaly skin
  • Spider veins

Non-surgical treatment – chemical peels

Non-invasive chemical peels remove dead and damaged cells while stimulating the regeneration of new cells for a more youthful appearance. Skin is softer, and smoother, and lines and wrinkles are minimized. Chemical peels are effective for uneven skin tone, pigmentation problems, and other types of blemishes.

Reasons for the increase in non-surgical treatments

People today are more conscious of their body image than at any other time in history. They don’t want to “age gracefully” – they want their outward appearance to reflect how they feel mentally and emotionally. They can now achieve that goal with non-surgical treatments. This is especially true for seniors, the second largest age group to have non-surgical treatments. Those in this age group are living longer, staying as active as they were in their 40s, and making contributions to the workforce longer than ever before. Cosmetic procedures for those 65 and older have increased by 1,500 percent in just two decades. Advances in medical technology removed many of the barriers that prevented men and women of all ages from availing themselves of youthful treatments and body sculpting options. Factors influencing the increases include:
  • Greater availability of non-surgical treatments
  • Safe and effective
  • Recovery times can now be counted in days instead of weeks
  • Little or minimal downtime
  • No surgery or general anesthesia needed
  • Faster results
  • Greater accessibility
  • Cost is less than surgical interventions
  • Many treatments can be performed in an hour or less
People have also discovered that having non-surgical treatments in their 30s will help delay the lines, wrinkles, and sagging that arrive later in life. Addressing aging issues early can reduce the number of touch-ups needed to remain youthful looking as people age.

Non-surgical treatments for men

Men now account for 1 in every 10 cosmetic procedures in the U.S. and had more than 1 million non-surgical treatments in 2020. Once considered something only women pursued, men are now taking advantage of the wealth of options available for maintaining a youthful appearance and enhancing body image. Laser hair removal, injectables, photorejuvenation, and chemical peels were the most popular non-surgical treatments among males. Men tend to want lines and wrinkles softened rather than eradicated and seek procedures to address scars, photoaging, and improve symmetry.

The psychology of non-surgical treatments

Perhaps the most overwhelming reason for non-surgical treatments is they impart self-esteem, and confidence and boost morale. When people look good, they feel better about themselves. The way a person looks has a direct effect on their psychological health and emotional well-being that will impact interactions with others and can even affect their ability to compete for promotions.

Non-surgical treatments win the day

The technological advances made in non-surgical treatments for virtually any part of the body have resulted in many people opting to see a cosmetic physician who may never have considered a procedure before. Once considered an exclusive luxury of the rich and famous, you don’t have to be a celebrity to enjoy the benefits of non-surgical treatments. There’s no longer a stigma associated with cosmetic procedures or those who have them. With today’s non-surgical treatments, there’s no reason why you can’t look as young as you feel. The treatments represent techniques that can be used to correct what genetics failed to give you or what aging has taken away.

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What are goals for improvement and what areas am I looking to target?

Goals for improvement typically include enhancing appearance, reducing signs of aging, correcting imperfections, or addressing specific health concerns like weight loss or vein treatments. Target areas can range from facial features (like lips or wrinkles) to body areas (such as legs for spider veins or abdominal fat).

What are the different types of non-surgical treatments available?
  • Non-surgical treatments encompass a wide range of options, including:
    • Cosmetic Procedures: Such as Botox, dermal fillers (e.g., for lips), laser treatments (for skin rejuvenation or hair removal), and chemical peels.
    • Body Contouring: Like CoolSculpting (fat freezing) or radiofrequency treatments.
    • Medical Treatments: Such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or non-surgical options for weight loss.
    • Vein Treatments: Including sclerotherapy for spider veins.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of non-surgical treatments compared to surgery?
  • Advantages:
    • Lower risk and complications compared to surgery.
    • Generally shorter recovery times.
    • Often less expensive.
    • Can be performed in outpatient settings.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Results may be less dramatic or may require multiple sessions.
    • Some treatments may need maintenance over time.
    • Limited effectiveness for certain conditions compared to surgery.
What factors should I consider when choosing a provider for non-surgical treatments?
  • Credentials and Experience: Ensure the provider is qualified and experienced in the specific treatment.
  • Reputation and Reviews: Look for testimonials and reviews from previous patients.
  • Facility Standards: Ensure the facility meets safety and hygiene standards.
  • Consultation Process: A thorough consultation where your concerns are addressed is crucial.
  • Cost and Value: Compare costs, but prioritize quality and safety.
What are some things to keep in mind after a non-surgical treatment?
  • Follow Post-Treatment Instructions: Including skincare routines, medications, and activity restrictions.
  • Monitor for Side Effects: Be aware of any unexpected reactions and contact your provider if necessary.
  • Schedule Follow-Ups: Ensure you attend any recommended follow-up appointments.
  • Manage Expectations: Understand that results may take time to fully appear or may require multiple sessions.