Annual aesthetics roundup – what were the highlights of 2019?

2019 saw the launch of endless cosmetic products and devices, a rise in aesthetic practitioners, and an increase in demand from patients seeking cosmetic treatments. A lot has happened in the last 12 months in the world of aesthetics, but what were the key highlights?

Popular treatments

2019 popular treatment hydrafacialDespite the number of surgical cosmetic procedures only increasing by 0.1 per cent in 2019, non-invasive cosmetic procedures continue to rise by 10 per cent year on year.

So, what treatments were the most popular in 2019? According to Yelp, the most popular cosmetic treatment of the year was the Hydrafacial, boasting a ‘meteoric rise’ over the past five years. Dermaplaning and microneedling were also high on the list, demonstrating the rise in popularity of facials and subtle treatments. And in terms of the most researched cosmetic treatments, RealSelf revealed that Botulinum Toxin and breast augmentation were the treatments people wanted to find out the most about.

Key Influences and trends

Celebrity culture and social media have undoubtedly played a huge part in the rise of cosmetic treatments, especially amongst the younger generation. Consultant surgeon Mr Niall Kirkpatrick, a member of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), said to the Huffington Post, “There is a fashionable desire in the young for a full lip look at present, which seems to be being driven by both the celebrity culture and especially social media.”

Aesthetic practitioner Dr Tijion Esho told Harper’s Bazaar, “Over 30 per cent of my clients come with visual references of social media influencers to demonstrate the look they’d like, we have a large group of patients between the ages of 25 and 35 who are most connected to social media trends,” highlighting one of the main reasons why more and more younger patients are seeking aesthetic treatments.

Concerns are, however, increasingly being raised about the impact of celebrity culture, driven by social media and reality TV, on young peoples’ mental health. It is important for practitioners to be mindful of this, particularly when treating younger patients. We discussed this in more depth in our article, The millennial moment – tips for treating younger patients in an age of reality TV.

With celebrity culture and social media influencing cosmetic surgery in 2019, getting aesthetic treatments has become widely accepted, and people are much more open about cosmetic surgery and sharing their experiences with others. For all ages, the main motivations for having, or thinking about having cosmetic surgery, according to a 2019 survey by RealSelf/Harris Poll, were ‘to improve self-esteem/confidence’ and ‘to look as good as I feel.’ Whatever the motivation, it is the practitioner’s responsibility to consider whether cosmetic surgery is appropriate, and to do that, careful patient selection is key.

2019 review

Regulatory changes and guidelines

Every year, the aesthetics industry sees new regulatory changes, guidelines and campaigns, and 2019 was no different. Some of the past year’s key changes and updates included:

  • Prescribing guidelines – The guidance from the JCCP states that, as an organisation, they do not endorse or permit the remote prescribing of any prescription medicine when used ‘specifically’for non-surgical cosmetic treatments. The JCCP advises that the prescriber must be familiar with the patient through an initial face-to-face consultation and diagnostic assessment, for all prescription only medicines used specifically for cosmetic purposes whether they be injectable, topical or oral.
  • Patient safety – In May 2019, The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) launched a consumer campaign, Clued up on cosmetic procedures, designed to ensure that members of the public are aware of the risks associated with cosmetic procedures. The campaign includes print and digital content featured in women’s consumer magazines like Closer, Heat and Grazia, and aims to signpost people to advice and guidance on the NHS website when considering a cosmetic procedure, particularly Botox, dermal fillers, breast augmentation, liposuction and laser treatments. The advice on the NHS website encourages people seeking cosmetic surgery to choose a reputable, safe and qualified practitioner and understand what to expect during a treatment. We go into more depth on this topic in our article, What does the government’s Clued up on cosmetic procedures campaign mean for aesthetic practitioners?

Evidently, 2019 has been a busy and successful year for the aesthetics industry. With more product innovations and progression in regulation on the horizon, 2020 looks set to be another exciting year for aesthetic practitioners.


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