Gone are the days of frozen faces, over-filled trout pouts and expressionless eyebrows.
In 2022, the appetite for “have they/haven’t they?” treatments are on the rise, with the growing preference towards a your-face-but-better-finish booming.
The newly coined term “baby Botox” and its constituents are just the tip of the proverbial when it comes to non-invasive injectables that promise to glean a more natural look.
Our experts agree that the shift towards “less is more” has been driven by consumers’ growing awareness and education of the natural-looking results going under the needle can achieve.
“As people are educating themselves more about the range of treatments on offer, they are seeing that a good experience means achieving the look they want — often this is a refreshed and natural look,” says Caroline Hodnett, a cosmetic nurse trainer at Caci.
It’s a sentiment shared by Esme Moloney, a nurse practitioner at The Face Place, who says while they’ve always been proponents of a less-is-more approach, she’s glad to see so many clients following suit. “Most of our clients are wanting the natural look — so they look like the best version of themselves, and more refreshed, but no one can really tell what they’ve had done,” she says.
“Someone who might previously have thought they’d never do filler because of concerns it looks fake, might now come and see us and be open to how small amounts, skillfully used, can give really beautiful results,” she says.
Think of baby Botox as a complexion refresher, which still prevents wrinkle formation but allows for better facial movement, obtaining a more natural result.
It involves the same strength of botulinum toxin as standard Botox treatments, but with a far more delicate approach — fewer units are injected more precisely around the face so you look natural, not frozen.
This specific, superficial placement means muscles aren’t fully relaxed, allowing for greater flexibility and the full range of facial expressions.
The entry-level treatment works best on those who are looking to use Botox preventatively, or those who have less defined or etched lines.
A similar effect can be achieved with Dysport, a less concentrated version of Botox which spreads faster due to its smaller molecule size, or Xeomin, an anti-wrinkle injectable that relaxes facial muscles, now available at Caci.
Dermal fillers aren’t as dramatic as they were once perceived, with a host of new options launching to market that promise to achieve a youthful glow without verging into “too fake” territory.
One such treatment is Volux, a dense structural filler that was recently added to The Face Place’s treatment menu to enhance the shape of the chin and jawline, alongside Profhilo, an injectable bio-revitaliser said to improve overall skin condition and boost hydration levels.
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The FDA-approved Belotero range of cosmetic dermal fillers are new to Caci, which can help reduce the appearance of lines and folds in facial skin and are most commonly used on cheeks, nose, lips, chin and around the eyes.
It’s flanked by Juvederm, a hyaluronic acid-based dermal filler that is used to restore facial contours and address signs of ageing, specifically on cheeks, lips and around the mouth.
“We’re seeing more people gradually add filler to their routine, which has become much more mainstream, even though it’s more expensive and complex than your typical Botox treatment,” Esme says.
While the past few years have been all about plumping up lip volume, in 2022 expect to see lip treatments home in on smaller details that make a big difference.
Lip filler isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but it’s stepping out of the limelight to make room for the next big trend: lip flips.
Popularised by TikTok, a lip flip is a procedure that sees a small amount of Botox injected into the top lip to relax the orbicularis oris muscle.
According to Kaylie Harrison, a cosmetic nurse and the director of Ivy Clinic in Queenstown, lip flips work two-fold to reduce the appearance of oral rhytid (smoker’s lines) around the lips, while slightly flipping the top lip to make upper lips appear larger and plumper without the need for filler. Not to mention it can also address gum visibility, by decreasing how much of the upper lip moves when smiling.
“The results are only slight, and will last for six weeks maximum,” she says, adding that anyone wanting a more noticeable, long-lasting result may prefer to go with lip fillers instead.
Why the boom in popularity? Kaylie says the lip flip revolution can be chalked up to it being a relative entry-level cosmetic procedure.
“It’s slightly less daunting than getting lip filler and the results are subtle and never over-done. People who are concerned about their lips but can’t afford filler can try this treatment for a fraction of the cost, making it a more relatable and accessible treatment,” she says.
The Covid Clench
While jaw clenching, also known as bruxism, isn’t new, Clinic 42’s Dr Ellen Selkon has noticed a spike in the condition in the wake of the pandemic.
Dr Selkon says she witnessed multiple patients presenting complaints of a sore jaw before making the connection with “the Covid clench”.
“We know that some people manifest their anxiety and stress in different ways, and we know that bruxism or jaw clenching is one of them,” she says. “Research has shown that bruxism is often related to a stressful occupation or event and, due to the increase in presentations over the last year, one can only assume that the Covid pandemic has yet another affliction that it is responsible for.”
If no other structural issues are present, treatment of the Covid clench is quite simple — Botox is injected into the masseter (or lower jaw muscle) to help it relax and results are often achieved within two weeks.
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The treatment can offer the added benefit of facial slimming, depending on your face shape. It does so by relaxing the function of the muscle, and when you’re not able to use it as strongly (meaning it’s less tense) it changes its visibility and creates a slimmer appearance.
The case of “buyer beware” remains when it comes to injectables, warns Esme, as the fight for greater regulation of the industry is ongoing.
“As injectables become more popular in New Zealand, people are more informed and will ask questions about safety — which is a great thing. On the flip side, it does mean that some unscrupulous operators will pop up occasionally that don’t adhere to adequate safety standards,” she says.
“It’s always a good idea to choose a clinic that’s affiliated with NZSCM and beware of any who don’t give you a full consultation explaining risks or who pressure or upsell you into additional treatments.”