The cosmetic industry has come a long way in the past few years, both from a technical and social standpoint. The science behind anti-ageing and cosmetics procedures is better than ever, with less down time and more subtle results becoming the norm.
People are becoming more accepting of the industry, too. Women were often hesitant to admit they had botox just a few years ago, whereas now it's becoming more mainstream and there's less stigma around undergoing procedures.
We asked facial plastic surgeon Doctor William Mooney to give us a glimpse as to what we might expect in the world of cosmetic surgery in 2018.
"We have fantastic, exciting new developments in facial cosmetics, it really is the most amazing field. Techniques we used five or 10 years ago have been discontinued, and techniques we used even 12 months ago have been modified and improved," Mooney told HuffPost Australia.
"It's exciting because it results in a better outcome for patients. The end goal is an age-appropriate, more natural look which is affordable, quick and easy -- and this is becoming ever closer to us."
Here, Mooney's five predictions for 2018.
"In the old days, people used to come in with pictures of Kardashians or Brad Pitt's nose or chin and expect us to replicate that on their face. It was always a problem because the best nose is your nose -- just a better version of it. So trying to replicate a Kardashian face on someone else's face was going to be a bad idea," Mooney said.
"What's happened now, because of software apps such as Snapchat and Facetune, is that patients are now morphing their own faces. So rather than coming in with pictures of celebrities, they come in with a reference to a morphed version of their own face. It's useful because it is far easier to make a better version of that person's face, rather than a whole new face. However, I do caution against it creating unrealistic expectations for patients."
Medical to cosmetic change of treatments
A lot of treatments that were for originally medical reasons, have had a cosmetic shift and Mooney explains that patients have begun to like that.
"For example, teeth grinding -- something that is almost omni-present amongst busy 30-40 year old women results in a masculine jaw line. We used to inject the chewing muscles to decrease this swelling and decrease the teeth grinding at nighttime and the result was a slimmer, more feminine face. Now, people are asking for that procedure just to get a slimmer face," Mooney said.
"The other one is Platelet Rich Plasma aka The Vampire Facial. It was originally pioneered by orthopedic and sports doctors, where they spun the blood, took the platelets and plasma out, and injected it into the injured tendon in sporting injuries. Now, we use that in faces and skin and even in hair for baldness," Mooney said.
"So once again this is a treatment that began as a medical procedure that has morphed into a cosmetic procedure, which is exciting. Remember that botox started as a medical treatment for Myokymia -- flickering of the eye -- and it still has a myriad of medical uses, but of course it is most commonly known as a cosmetic anti-wrinkle treatment."
The ageing population
"The retirement age has been 65 in Australia for years and years, because life expectancy was around 70. Now, life expectancy is 80, 90 or beyond -- my own mother is 78 and that used to be an old person, but she plays A grade tennis, tap dances, breeds dogs, has a PhD and has a more active social life than me. She still wants to look good -- so we need to create a whole new gamut of cosmetic treatments for this generation," Mooney said.
Mooney explains that using a smattering of botox and a facial which works on a 20 or 30-something year-old isn't going to cut it on a 78 year-old-face.
"Especially given this cohort of people had no sun care when they were younger, didn't have good diets and didn't know about all the things that we know now are preventative. What we've done for this group of patients is a more significant, multi-faceted approach to anti-ageing."
"Like anyone else, they don't want to jump straight under a knife for a face lift, and so we have developed a lot of deep space fillers, which are essential in loss of volume. Because the loss of volume in this age group isn't just skin thinning, but also re-absorption of bone, so there is a really significant loss of volume in this group, and counteracting that is very difficult, but effective if you've got a good injector," Mooney said.
"Also combined with this is more diligent skincare regimes, and I find this 70+ age group need a complicated and quite intense (but eventually rewarding) skin care regime of multiple lasers and facial techniques."
"I look at my kids at birthday parties or Christmas, and when we give them a present they tear off the wrapping paper, eager to get to the present within. And that was the technique for cosmetics for a long time -- where we ignored the wrapping paper, the skin, to jump to needles, injectables and muscle relaxants straight away," Mooney said.
"A lot of my cosmetic colleagues are missing the wrapping paper, the skin, and the skin is the first thing you see. So what I've got to tell you the most important thing -- "skin care, skin care, skin care" is the rallying call for 2018 for cosmetics."
"New skin care regimes of super gentle lasers, combined with intelligent non-damaging facials and other techniques such as PRP and skin tightening techniques are the new cutting edge of good cosmetic facial technology."
'Faster, faster, faster'
Mooney observes that less and less patients want to have formal surgery and more and more want to have a minimal down time procedure.
"The reality is that we never want to compromise outcome to appease an impatient patient. However increasingly there is a phalanx of different techniques that we can perform as a lunchtime procedure, such as injectable liquid face lifts, injectable rhinoplasty, and new threading techniques that have maybe less than 24 hours downtime," Mooney said.
"All of these things we offer in our rooms and they are fantastic for patients on a limited budget, who want a fast outcome. I always counsel patients that formal assessment is necessary, and that formal surgery usually results in a better outcome. But in many cases, patients have a minor deformity in their nose (for example from a minor trauma), and this can be repaired and fixed with injectable rhinoplasty with zero downtime at a fraction of the cost of formal rhinoplasty."
"Liquid facelifts (the use of muscle relaxants and fillers) are something we have been talking about for a little while, but certainly the new group of micro-thread lifts are amazing in terms of giving a lovely mid-face and lower-third face-lift with less than 24 hours downtime. Imagine having a mid and lower third face-lift and going back to work confidently and comfortably the second day," Mooney said.
"That is where we are headed with facial cosmetics in 2018. But as always, watch this space, because in 12 months' time, I will be giving you a totally new and modified report from today's!"