One of the most exciting things about greeting the New Year is the anticipation of what’s next for the aesthetic industry. Therefore, we asked several aesthetic doctors to offer their perspective on trends that could impact aesthetic physicians and their patients in 2019. Here’s what each had to say:
Mary Lynn Moran, M.D., president-elect of the American Academy of Facial, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS)
Social Influencers Rally
“Increasingly decisions about appearance, cosmetic procedures and skincare, etc., are being affected by social media influencers,” according to Dr. Moran.
While the Hiltons and Kardashians are among the original social media influencers, just about anybody who has a significant following on Instagram, Facebook or other social media platforms can influence. Those with a large following are sometimes getting paid to promote anything from what kind of grapes they eat to what filler they’re using, Dr. Moran says.
“Everything is documented and sometimes monetized,” she says.
Some aesthetic physicians are positioning themselves as social influencers, by posting procedures, results and even personal pictures. They’re also partnering with influencers and sometimes offering treatments in exchange for the influencers’ social media exposure. Influencers don’t always disclose if they’re getting what they promote for free or at a reduced rate. The information is being presented in a very compelling and relatable way but patients aren't always in a position to determine the accuracy or bias of the information presented.
On the positive side, by posting procedures and promoting cosmetic procedures, social influencers are reducing fear associated with cosmetic treatments.
“It’s making treatments seem more accessible and normalizing it. On the one hand, it’s good because people are being educated — albeit in a way that’s sponsored in some cases,” she says. “I would say that’s probably lowering the threshold for younger people — as well as for men — to have procedures done.”
Dr. Moran says she believes the trend will continue to grow.
Dr. Moran says the surgical lip lift is getting new life among aesthetic patients.
“People are becoming a little disenchanted with fillers, and they don’t always work the way you want them to,” she says.
The desire for a more permanent solution is propelling the popularity of the outpatient surgical lip lift, according to Dr. Moran.
And thread lifting, which came and went a few decades ago, is back because the technology is more refined, she says.
New Take on Injectables
“There are definitely going to be some longer lasting neurotoxins,” Dr. Moran says.
RT002 (daxibotulinumtoxinA, Revance Therapeutics) is among today’s pipeline neurotoxins. Revance plans to file a Biologics License Application the first half of 2019, according to a public relations person representing the company.
"There will be some new hyaluronic acid fillers," she adds. "They’re all just variations on the same theme but I think they will continue to improve.”
Dr. Moran says micro doses of both fillers and neurotoxins are trending.
“Some practitioners are diluting neurotoxins or hyaluronic acid and then putting it in a little stamper device and injecting it. That’s supposed to help with pores and fine wrinkles. There’s also a technique where you inject smaller amounts throughout the skin using a needle,” she says. “Smaller amounts of injectables early on and on a more regular basis is becoming more of a trend.”
Alexander W. Sobel, D.O., president of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery
Safety in 2019
Safety will be the mantra in 2019, fueled by international news coverage of the dangers of fat grafting of the buttocks.
“The industry is really trying to wrap its head around the best way to afford patients those kinds of outcomes but with a safety profile that’s more reasonable for elective cosmetic surgery,” Dr. Sobel says.
To a lesser degree, discussions about safety will also arise from the rare but headline-making cases of anaplastic large cell lymphoma associated with breast implants, he says.
The ripple effect could reduce demand for the Brazilian butt lift and even breast augmentation, but Dr. Sobel admits patient demand for these procedures seems unflappable. He thinks the spotlight on safety might help educate the public about potential dangers of going to inexperienced or unqualified providers for cosmetic treatments.
“I hope the fallout is something very positive where the public and physicians have very open discussions about facility accreditation and the sorts of environments of care in which these procedures are taking place,” he says.
Biologically Active Fillers
Today’s burgeoning array of synthetic fillers have their places in facial rejuvenation. What they don’t do well is biologically improve skin or tissue for long-term results. That’s where biologic products come in, and 2019 could be the year those injectables become available, Dr. Sobel says.
Dr. Schlessinger founded and owns the online skincare marketplace LovelySkin.com. Drs. Moran, Sobel and Langsdon report no relevant disclosures.