The 8 Biggest Appearance Medicine Trends for 2021

It was as meant to be a record-breaking year for the aesthetics industry, with keen interest and innovation converging with a host of new options, and experts meeting regularly at cosmedicine conferences worldwide to discuss best practice and new approaches. The reality of the patchy, pandemic-dominated 2020 meant roll-outs were slowed, because when customers could physically return, many clinics stayed the course to meet demand for ‘top-up’ treatments they’d been missing. The great news is, conferences went on, Zoom-allowing, and clinics took the time to prepare and trial the new approaches, to the benefit of our faces in 2021.

1. Revitalising Sagging Skin 

The most talked-about new arrival is Profhilo, an injectable treatment made from hyaluronic acid, designed to restore the features of youthful skin. Delivered into the surface layer, it differs from previous fillers in that it isn’t intended to add precise volume to one small area. Instead, it distributes evenly to give an overall smoother appearance to ageing and sagging tissue. Experts refer to its benefits as ‘bio revitalisation’ as it also stimulates collagen and elastin for long-term benefits. “It’s very sheer and runny and works as a ‘beneath the skin’ moisturiser, adding hydration and improving crepey skin texture and laxity,” says Dr Catherine Stone of The Face Place. “While we’ve had sheer dermal fillers like this before, the difference with Profhilo is the way it spreads, meaning you need fewer injection sites to disperse the product. “Over two to three months, the skin starts to glow, the face gently lifts and a naturally more youthful look develops, without the risk of looking ‘over full’.” Available since 2015 in Europe, it involves two treatments four weeks apart, with results lasting six months or more.

Initially available in NZ just for the face and neck, it will soon be offered for décolletage, arms and legs. Dr Teresa Cattin of Faceworks says, although she has so far used it in patients from 35-78 years old, it’s particularly beneficial for post- menopausal women experiencing a significant drop in collagen and hydration. “I think it should be seen as the third pillar for people interested in ‘positive ageing’. Positive ageing means managing lines formed by excessive muscle movement with Botox, replacing volume loss with fillers and optimising skin condition with Profhilo. I think it does replace older methods of stimulating collagen production such as needling.”

2. Getting an Overall Glow

Part of Profhilo’s success overseas is that it meets the global trend, confirmed by Dr Stone, for using filler in different ways: “Namely sculpting chins and jawlines, and also using it to promote dewy skin.”

Dr Ellen Selkon of Clinic 42 agrees, mentioning the injectable Sculptra as an old product with an exciting new application. “It’s been on the market for years, predominantly used by plastic surgeons in Brazil for Brazilian butt lifts. Now, Luiz Avelar has developed a technique for the face called ‘firm and lift’ and I was lucky enough to train with him.”

Dr Selkon says Sculptra creates a controlled inflammatory response, which then causes the body to produce collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid. “It works on the lateral part of the face, like a facelift, lifting the tissue and then the hyaluronic acid filler works in the medial, movable part of the face to give natural expression and volumisation. There is also an effect on the skin itself that results in a beautiful glow.”

3. Tackling Pigmentation 

With such intense UV levels, sun damage and pigmentation is an ongoing issue constantly needing to be addressed by many New Zealanders.

Skin Institute’s Cosmelan Depigmentation Peel is an impressive solution that’s said to be up to 95 per cent effective for dramatically addressing areas of hyperpigmentation, melasma, age spots, dull and blotchy skin or acne scarring.

Applied as a mask in-clinic and rinsed off after several hours, the multi-ingredient, melanin-inhibiting peel involves following up with specific homecare to ensure its effectiveness. It’s beneficial for all ethnicities and skin tones, and is a useful option for those that aren’t suitable candidates for laser treatments. The results can be seen within a week and like other key treatments, it’s also said to give skin that desirable, long-lasting radiance.

4. Soothing Your Mind 

Fancy great skin with a side of Zen? If stress levels are an issue – and Dr Stone reports Botox to relax jaw- clenching muscles is also popular following the challenges of 2020 – the Ginger & Me Mindfulness Facial is designed to help quiet the mind while renewing your skin in a more traditional manner, using effective, medical-grade actives.

A guided meditation played through large, soft headphones offers optimum relaxation, something that, while not always the focus of results- based treatments, is often appreciated by those with busy, demanding schedules. The upside is that you end up with visible benefits too, thanks to the inclusion of one of four masks designed to decongest, brighten, hydrate or strengthen skin.

5. Levelling Your Facial 

The arrival of elite French skincare brand Biologique Recherche in NZ will excite skincare fans. The brand’s P50 exfoliating treatment is an icon with a 30-year heritage, and previously unavailable here. An early leader in the development of resurfacing liquid exfoliants, the brand brings its innovative products and precise Parisian protocols to Auckland’s just-opened Sofitel Spa. A highlight is the custom-designed facial treatment using some of the brand’s 100+ facial products, 30 body products and 10 hair products, also available for purchase through the hotel-based spa.

6. Smooth and Clear Skin 

‘Texture’ is a word bandied about by clients and clinics alike, keen to rid skin of it in the pursuit of an eggshell smooth complexion. One solution is Caci’s new Hydradermabrasion treatment, a more hydrating, soothing sister to its previous exfoliating microdermabrasion offering, an updated handpiece providing added benefits by concurrently delivering a deep-cleansing detox serum to the skin while exfoliating and adding moisture. One to have regularly, it’s great for all skin types, even those with sensitive skin.

7. Defining the Jaw and Neck

The jaw and neck continues to be an area of interest with new options following the popularity and success of the Belkyra treatment, which slims a double chin, and renewed focus on ‘tech neck’, or the creases exacerbated by looking down at your device, an area we’ll increasingly see targeted by new skincare releases this year.

“Volux is a dermal filler specially designed to sculpt the chin and jaw,” says Dr Stone of the approach The Face Place recently began offering. “It’s denser and thicker than the dermal fillers you’d use for the lips or cheeks. By correcting a receding chin you rebalance the whole face!”

At Skin Institute, Dr Piergiovanni Marzinotto is leading the new approach for using facial threads to define and lift the face and sharpen the jawline. In the past, threads were made of permanent material that wasn’t well tolerated by the body. Now they are dissolvable, making them safer and more effective.

8. Brightening the Eye Area

Given the year we’ve had, it’s not surprising that there’s been an effect on the appearance treatments being sought. “Due to all the mask-wearing around the world, the focus has slightly moved away from lips and onto eyes,” says Dr Selkon. “Our eyes, when wearing a mask, are the only vehicle for emotion that someone can see.”

To keep them looking their best, Dr Selkon suggests treating tear troughs, or volume loss under the eyes, with dermal filler. “It’s a very specialised treatment that can have a huge impact in one session,” she says.

“We are getting many enquiries about tear trough filler to correct dark circles and apparently this is a huge trend on TikTok!” agrees Dr Stone. The Face Place has established a three- pronged package that involves the home use of an eye gel offering a blend of peptides, antioxidants and vitamin A, a course of PRP in-clinic to improve skin’s thickness and texture, and dermal fillers to lift the tissue, and blend the lower eyelid skin with that of the cheeks.

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