FLAWLESS WITHOUT SURGERY
Non-surgical cosmetic treatments are no longer only for the rich and famous. With new procedures appearing faster than you can say ‘Botox’, Natascha Hawke asks which ones we should be looking to now
Summer is on its way and with it comes a list of bodyconscious concerns as long as Shaikh Zayed Road. As the window displays of The Dubai Mall’s luxury boutiques showcase the sartorial pleasures of the new season, thoughts turn to “how can I wear that with these thighs?” and “would my bum look big in that?” ,whilst upper arm anxiety is induced at the mere mention of Isabel Marant’s barely there prairie dresses.
There once was a time when these body insecurities would have been treated by getting Dr 90210 on the line, booking in for emergency lipo and holing yourself up in a mummified state only to emerge weeks later from your bandaged chrysalis, a slimmer, tighter version of yourself.
In 2014, however, those looking for a bit of a lift can book in for a treatment over their lunch hour and be back in the office in time for the afternoon board meeting. The selection of non-surgical treatments on offer is on the rise.
“More and more people are busy, they don’t want time off work, or any complications and they want results as well,” says Dr Aamer Khan of the Harley Street Skin Clinic in London. “Technology is moving on and it’s starting to give those results.”
A recent UK study carried out by clinic comparison siteWhatClinic.com, found non-surgical cosmetic treatments are worth 75 per cent of a market expected to be valued at about £3.6 billion (Dh22 billion) by 2015, with anti-ageing treatments such as dermal fillers, non-surgical facelifts and skin tightening energy treatments seeing notable increases of up to 93 per cent, and 80 per cent in the latter.
“In the cases of injectables,” says Dr George Lefkovits, a prominent Manhattan aesthetic surgeon who consults at BodyWorx aesthetic clinic in Abu Dhabi (www.bodyworx.ae), “Botox can achieve results that may not be possible even with surgery. Fillers can also fill depressions and creases with just a few injections. Non-invasive procedures can achieve improvement and when appropriately indicated patients can return to work, often immediately.”
The appeal of this type of non-surgery is also prevalent in the Middle East where the established clinics are introducing more and more of these treatments – where no cutting at all is needed – due to the high demand, with new clinics showcasing state-of-the-art non-surgical procedures opening all the time.
Dr Rabbia Aslam, creative director at HC MedSpa in London, which has two branches opening in Dubai this summer, says the growth in popularity is significant and due to an increase in awareness. “Most people are now aware of how their skin looks and the improvements that can be achieved thanks to technological and scientific advancements within the beauty industry. Many people are sceptical of invasive surgery due to health risks that we frequently hear about in the media. So it is no surprise that people would opt for treatments that offer the same results but are instead safe, effective and do not require a long period of down time.”
Another reason for this significant growth is the large number of flawless, age-defying celebrities who champion such procedures, ranging from the now morecommon-than-not Botox and fillers, to the slightly more extreme and the downright bizarre. Thanks to Kim Kardashian’s endorsement of the Dracula Facial – the graphic details of which were aired on her reality TV show last year – Platelet Rich Plasma Facial Rejuvenation treatments, where your own blood is injected back into
your face, saw a whopping 807 per cent increase in the last quarter of 2013 alone. And these treatments are something Dr Maurizio Viel of the London Centre for Aesthetic Surgery, with clinics on Harley Street and in Dubai’s Healthcare City, performs with increasing regularity.
“In recent years, both the UK and Middle East saw a surge in Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP),” Dr Viel says.
“Facial Rejuvenation treatments use the patient’s own blood, which gives a natural boost to the skin and the results are superior compared to other extreme facial treatments.”
It is thanks to walking billboard celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, that the treatment has come to the attention of the public, resulting in a higher demand and not just amongst the affluent.
“Cosmetic surgery has really changed a lot in the past 15 years,” says Dr Viel. “In the 1980s and early 1990s it was really a luxury for the rich and famous. Now with more competition and better technology around the world, prices have come down and it has certainly become more affordable to the masses.”
With this affordability and increased knowledge has also come a new generation of client.
“Patients are seeking treatments much earlier,” says anti-ageing expert Rebecca Treston, founder and manager of Rebecca Treston at Euromed Clinic in Dubai. “I have many coming to the clinic in their early 20s and they are taking a proactive approach to skincare and defence against ageing.”
This is a trend also seen by Dr Viel, who has noticed the difference in the average age of clients between Dubai and London seeking treatments. “Most of our patients in the UK range from about 25 to 65 years with the average aged around 42 years. In Dubai, there isn’t much of an ageing population due to the expat lifestyle and turnover. We see patients from 23 to 55 years of age with the average aged around 37. When my brother, Roberto, and I started on Harley Street over 20 years ago, women started plastic surgery in their late forties and early fifties. Now, patients realise that it is better to do more prevention work at an earlier stage to create a more natural look than to start too late, so we see some patients who come for regular Botox starting around 27 or 28 years old, depending also on the nationality and genetics.”
With the UAE being a country of such diversity is there a difference in the type of non-surgical procedures being requested dependent on nationality?
Rebecca believes there is, but only marginally. “In my experience, I have found hair removal and pigmentation [treatments] are a must in the Arab region, along with fillers and Botox. For theWestern communities hair removal is not as important and due to the skin’s pathology many patients target photo rejuvenation.”
Physically, however, Dr Viel has seen a more notable difference in what is aesthetically pleasing to different nationalities. The main target for British clients is, “often to be as thin as possible. Westerners really look to have smaller hips, bottom, inner and outer thighs, larger but natural-looking breasts and some prefer to age with a few wrinkles showing.
“For Arab patients, they like rounder shapes but they just want to be in proportion so they want to reduce their tummy size and flanks – especially after having children.”
Whilst not immediately obvious, the benefits of non-surgical treatments can also extend to skin colour, explains Dr Khan, “One of the things about Middle Eastern skin, Asian skin and darker skin is that it doesn’t scar well, they don’t heal well, so minimum-scar surgery is really the way ahead.”
It is also not just women who are being seduced by these types of treatments, and interest amongst men is on the increase.
“For decades, the aesthetic industry has been restricted for men, but over the past 10 years this has started to change and we are seeing more male clients in our clinics,” says Dr Aslam.
“The most common procedures requested by men at HC MedSpa are Botulinum toxin injections [such as Botox] and laser hair removal.
“Men are becoming more aware of their image and appearance… from eyebrow threading and bespoke facials to more advanced procedures such as laser contouring.”
THE PROS AND CONS As with anything that involves messing with your face or body, there are always limitations and safety measures that you should adhere to, to ensure that you get the best possible results. Rebecca Treston stresses you must do background research on who you are trusting with your skin and your health. “Non-surgical treatments are great in the right hands but they can lead to worse complications in negligent ones so make sure your aesthetician is a reputable one,” she says.
It is also essential to understand that experts are only able to work with what you give them and they cannot perform miracles. “I need to work with the patient’s natural physique and proportions to improve and make alterations, but as surgeons we cannot overhaul the natural body shape,” says Dr Viel.
Non-surgical procedures especially have limitations on who will really see results, dependent on the scale of treatment required, amount of fat to be removed and so on.
Dr Khan says, “Invasive surgery has the benefit that you can lose a lot of fat, you can take the skin away, you can take tissue away. However, the risks are very high. With the nonsurgical way the advantages are the risks are very low and you have no downtime, but you can only take away a little bit of fat at a time.” Dr Viel agrees, saying nonsurgical, “is an option for those who have minor indications or for those who are really afraid of surgery. “However, if the patient has three litres of fat to remove this is just not possible with non-surgical treatments currently.”
In all cases, Dr Lefkovits believes it is best to consult only trained surgeons, for both surgical and nonsurgical procedures. “When patients consult with nonplastic surgeons such as dermatologists who are not trained in surgery they will be offered only non-invasive procedures, which may result in limited results. A plastic surgeon has the training and skills to perform surgery, when indicated, and is able to offer the patient the full spectrum of invasive and non-invasive treatments.”
What all experts agree on is that it is all very well to have non-surgical or surgical procedures, but if you don’t adapt your lifestyle by taking regular exercise and eating a healthy diet, you are wasting both your time and your money.
BEAUTY The benefits of noninvasive surgery are being embraced in the UAE
The experts can only work with what you have