It shouldn’t come as a surprise that over the past 10 years there has been a boom in the cosmetic enhancement industry.
All you have to do is turn on the TV, head to the movies, or flip through a magazine to see images of people defying, or attempting to defy, the inevitable: aging.
In fact, a study published in the medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons predicts that by 2015, cosmetic procedures will have grown by a staggering 400 per cent since 2005.
Experts attribute this rise to the fact that non-surgical procedures have replaced surgical procedures, making cosmetic enhancements more affordable and requiring less recovery time than traditional plastic surgery.
At a recent symposium on the future of cosmetic enhancements held in downtown Toronto, some of the city’s top plastic surgeons and dermatologists gathered to discuss the latest advances.
“In 1990, when I was doing my residency, almost all cosmetic work in Canada was done by plastic surgeons,” explains Dr. Sheetal Sapra, director of dermatology at the Institute of Cosmetic and Laser surgery. “There’s been a dramatic shift. Eighty per cent of what we do now is non-surgical.”
And this is thanks to what Dr. Stephen Mulholland — one of the country’s foremost plastic surgeons — refers to as combination therapy.
It’s the use of Botox — a botulinum toxin that is injected into muscles to relax them — dermal fillers like Juvederm, Restylane and Perlane, containing synthetic filler like hyaluronic acid which plumps thin lips, enhances sallow contours and softens facial creases and wrinkles, and laser technology such as intense pulsed light which combats brown spots and rosacea, and fractional tightening, which smoothes out wrinkles, combats acne scars and improves overall skin texture.
“We can usually take five years off somebody in appearance in about 60 minutes,” he says of using a combination of these technologies. “And it usually costs between $2,500 and 3,000.”
Toronto dermatologist Dr. Nowell Solish says 80 per cent of his patients are getting botox today. “It really helps relax dynamic lines (the lines that form on the forehead when you raise your eyebrows) and frown lines,” he explains. “And by relaxing, you can actually lift. So by weakening a muscle that may be lowering our eyebrows or making us look tired … we allow the muscles that lift to get stronger because nothing’s pulling them down.”
All the doctors agreed that there will be an increase in popularity of fat reduction procedures such as liposuction over the next few years.
The thing to keep in mind with any cosmetic enhancement procedure is that none are permanent. Some results last three months, others six months and other longer. But whether we like it or not, ultimately Mother Nature can’t be completely beat.