Arts & Culture
by Aspect County

The meteoric rise of aesthetic medicine

For those of you who don’t know who the Kardashians are, let me explain what aesthetic medicine is: it is the catch all term for procedures that are focussed on improving your cosmetic appearance, both surgically and non-surgically. It is the minimally-invasive alternative to full blown plastic surgery.

Most typically one chooses to have an aesthetic procedure carried out, rarely are they prescribed by a GP. But the after affect of having work done’ can be life changing. The impact on your psychological well being and your quality of life has been well documented. 

The decline of plastic surgery and the rise of aesthetic medicine
Since 2002, the number of people opting to go under the knife has increased year on year, but for the last 3 years, this figure has fallen, with more and more people choosing to have cheaper, non-surgical alternatives instead.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons recorded 30,750 procedures carried out in 2016, this figure having dropped by 40% from the previous year, due to clients opting for a more cost effective, non-invasive procedure.

The reason for this?
It can’t be attributed to just one thing. But it must be noted that we live in a much more visual age now. The incredible rise in technology in recent years must also be a significant factor, as HD and close up technology only serve to enhance our every flaw and hang up.

Or perhaps it is the next generation, the ones who have grown up alongside reality tv and YouTube, who see lip fillers, cheek implants and botox as just another thing to tick off their monthly to do list, alongside get waxed’ or visit dentist’. 

I’m not being flippant
It’s not just the number of non-surgical procedures that are rising exponentially, (botox celebrated its 15th year anniversary as an FDA-approved cosmetic treatment earlier this year). The staggering number of new procedures that you can have done, also continues to expand at a vast rate of knots. 

And all of these procedures are not something you have to take two weeks off work to recover from either. Most of them you can have done during your lunch break, and none of your colleagues will be any the wiser (unless you share the details with them). 

At-home treatments are also on the up – you can laser your own body in the sanctity of your bathroom, or if you’re feeling particularly brave, you can even dermaplane your face – effectively shaving off a layer of skin cells and hair, to give you that much sought after air-brushed’ look for your selfies. 

Why are aesthetic medical treatments so popular?
The price of surgery isn’t declining, but the steady increase in number of procedures carried out is, as we constantly seek new ways to stymie the onset of aging. Where plastic surgery was once the preserve of the rich and famous, now it is as everyday as getting your legs waxed, and without the stigma that was attached to it 10 years ago. 

Future of aesthetic medicine
Aesthetic medicine has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, and with its ever growing army of fans, it will continue to develop to meet their imaginative demands. And with new techniques in the pipeline: advances in botox treatment, dermal fillers, and the evolution of laser treatments, the challenge has been accepted.

Who is to say however, that the future of aesthetic medicine will lie solely with external improvements? There is no point having the body of a 30 year old, if we have the working organs of an 80 year old. If it’s eternity of youth that we seek, surely we should be looking at rejuvenating our insides too?

The top 5 aesthetic medical treatments available

According to the International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine (IAPAM), the top 5 treatments at the moment are:

Botox. The ultimate lunchtime treatment. It is not only socially acceptable, thanks to the number of celebrity fans who opt for it on a regular basis, but it is a considerably cheaper alternative to any surgical equivalent, whilst offering up immediate results. 

Dermal fillers. Using natural hyaluronic acid as the filler, this treatment offers up instant, safe results, for those plumper lips or firmer skin that you’re after. 

Laser hair removal. What it says on the tin: it removes hair using lasers, allowing you to be hair free for much longer than waxing. 

Microdermabrasion. This treatment rejuvenates the skin by reducing the appearance of stretch marks or sun damage. It is a straightforward procedure, involving micro-crystals being rubbed across your skin, gently removing dead skin cells, allowing the new skin underneath to shine forth. 

Chemical peels. This is an easy and non-invasive way to improve your skin’s tone and texture. For a deeper effect, you can have a deeper peel, but that comes with a slightly longer recovery time.