Like everything through the pandemic, trends have changed around the aesthetics industry, responding to stress, mask wearing, online engagement, changing education requirements and more. We spoke to cosmetic surgeon Dr Steven Liew of Shape Clinic about where the aesthetics and cosmetics industry is headed for the next year.

What are the top 3 injectable concerns and requests in 2021? 

Anti-wrinkle injections to the forehead, frown and crows feet, filler to treat dark circles and tear trough depression and filler to the upper cheek. During the pandemic, we are wearing masks everywhere we go. Naturally, these are the areas we are seeing more of. People tend to focus on this and easily notice accelerated signs of ageing.

How have client’s needs or frequency changed since the pandemic/if any? 

We have actually noticed that the amount of anti-wrinkle injections and the dose we are using has increased. We believe this is as a result of the stress everyone has been under (knowingly or unknowingly) over this time. When we stress, we tend to animate and frown more. Whilst people in the past were wanting something very ‘natural’, nowadays with COVID, people don’t seem to be too concerned with people noticing if or when they have had something done. People just want to look and feel good especially over Zoom and the priority is self-care! 

Dr Steven Liew

What procedures have you seen the highest surge? 

The highest surge would have had is in skincare. There are a couple of reasons for this, we have more time on our hands and more time to spend looking after our skin. We were on video calls everyday, where even though in the past we had meetings, now we were faced with looking at ourselves as well. Not only do people want to look good, but they want to feel good. Skincare ticks all those boxes. Secondly, we saw skins experiencing changes, in part due to stress and also due to mask wearing.

Complementing this, there has also been an increase in pdo mono threads. We know this treatment works. Patients know it works. This together with radio frequency treatments, particularly Morpheus8 which we have at Shape Clinic, provide the patient with a great outcome and minimal downtime. People are still wearing masks or not yet in the office face to face and, as a result, a little bruise here or there is manageable. Not only do these treatments stimulate collagen production without the fullness but we see a reduction in skin laxity, a smoother texture and an overall better quality skin. 

How do you address the importance of complications and comments on Hyalase and what is your messaging with education around Hyalase?

At Shape Clinic, we act as a referral centre for other doctors and nurses across NSW. I would see complications every two to three months, but after we emerged from lockdown in 2021, I was seeing complications once to twice a week. This is alarming, but I attribute it to the fact that patients have become less selective in who they see for treatment and as a result, there has been an increase in complications.

Hyalase has been used a lot to salvage some of the vascular occlusions where the filler has inadvertently obstructed some of the blood vessels. Hence, it is important that patients stay away from permanent fillers as well as fillers that are not reversible. The safest filler is still the Hyaluronic Acid based fillers which we can reverse. It is a lifeboat, giving patients the security that in the rare event of a complication, we can reverse and treat it. 

 What’s currently missing in Aesthetics education?

I think the understanding of the true meaning of aesthetics! This is so important but we see people following trends or even the demands of a patient. This is the reason we see so many distorted faces, sometimes even deformed from my perspective. This year, I am hosting Aesthetics 2022 and there will be a huge focus on what is considered aesthetically pleasing, rather than disproportionate in appearance!