What Will the Cosmetic Enhancement Business Look Like in Our New Normal?
Procedures that are somewhere between surgical and non-surgical may become more popular.
You certainly learn a great deal about people in my line of work. I’m not running in and out of treatment rooms, diagnosing illnesses and writing prescriptions; I’m listening to people’s dreams. I’m hearing their concerns about their appearance, how they feel about themselves and how they connect their appearance to other aspects of their lives. Then, together, we chart a course of improvement. Frivolous? That depends on what you value, doesn’t it? The work I do can have a dramatic impact on how people live. The majority who seek out cosmetic enhancement know who they are, know what they want from their lives and feel good about themselves in healthy ways.
(Related: Before Getting a Cosmetic Procedure, Know There’s No Miracle Treatment or Product)
But as I write this, when we can’t be sure where the pandemic is going, aesthetic medicine is at a standstill. People are afraid to be out in public, let alone have their Botox refreshed. How can you not question the work you’re doing and the way you’re doing that work?
When I think of our patients — both our cosmetic surgery and non-surgical cosmetic enhancement patients — I think that, for some, this will turn them in other directions. Cash flow will be a long-term issue for some people, and others will simply reprioritize what’s important to them — their appearance will matter less. And they’ll get no argument there: While I believe that looking, acting and being our best fundamentally drives human behaviour, each of us gets to decide just how much it matters. For a number of years, I was a head and neck cancer surgeon, helping my patients during the most challenging experiences of their lives. Up to 80 percent of the patients I cared for ultimately died from their disease and, over time, I grew to want a daily life that was a little “lighter.” I chose this work where, quite simply, I can make people happy and add to the quality of their lives, saving the world one wrinkle at a time.
(Related: 4 Essential Steps to Take Before Getting Cosmetic Surgery)
We have recently reopened and we’ve done so with the most stringent safety protocols in place, with a check-in desk that will ultimately include antibody and viral RNA screenings; shields, gowns, gloves and N95 masks for staff; and masks for you as well. I’ve created teaching videos on how to perform facial cosmetic treatments while wearing a shield, goggles and a mask and navigating around a patient’s mask.
Remember this: We are at the end of a beginning and the beginning of a middle, and so this phase will be very different. By next summer, I’m hopeful that all of us will be vaccinated, but many of these new safety standards will stay with us and become normalized, not unlike travel security did after 9/11.
I don’t doubt for a moment that the majority of people who have been doing cosmetic enhancement procedures will return to them. Injectables and the range of laser and other energy-based device treatments for face and body with no downtime and great results will flourish. But most patients will be judicious in what they do and spend, and that’s on par with overall trends, regardless of the pandemic. While nothing is able to revitalize the face as dramatically as a surgical facelift, fewer women can afford the time away from work required. Over the past 10 years, the cosmetic enhancement field has developed exceptional non-surgical procedures to lift, tighten and improve the face and body in every way.
Going forward, I’m excited about procedures that walk the line between surgical and non-surgical. These procedures include powerful, minimally invasive energy devices like the Morpheus and AccuTite, which dramatically lift, tighten and remodel the skin, and the Suture Suspension Lift. I also love the results we get when we combine injectables with a mini-facelift. Procedures like these will be the most popular in the short term and perhaps even permanently. My colleagues and I are looking forward to returning to the work we love and doing so in the safest way possible.
Dr. Stephen Muholland is Medical Director of Toronto Plastic Surgeons.