Minimally invasive procedures are not only here to stay, these types of cosmetic treatments are going to dominate aesthetics going forward.

Doctors on RealSelf tell us to expect more minimally invasive cosmetic treatments to become mainstream in 2019. The demand for toxins, like Botox and Dysport, will continue to soar in the next year. And interest in nonsurgical body contouring will only heat up as more innovations are introduced into aesthetic practices.

“The huge growth in nonsurgical modalities underscores the population’s desire to seek smaller, less invasive treatments,” says Dr. Lara Devgan, RealSelf Chief Medical Officer and a board-certified plastic surgeon. “I think this is something that will continue to grow in time.”

The growth of minimally invasive procedures reflects the rising interest in treatment options that deliver results with little downtime, and the trends we’ve observed on RealSelf indicate this demand will continue to rise in 2019.

Toxins will rule

Getting injections of Botox, Dysport, or other toxins used to be something that was kept secret.

No more. As conversations and buzzwords, especially terms like “baby Botox,” become more abundant, more people are flocking to these wrinkle-fighting treatments. According to our data, interest in Botox is rising the fastest among 18- to 24-year-olds.  

“There has been a recent emphasis on tinier doses of Botox at younger ages, meaning that it looks more natural than in any previous era,” says Dr. Devgan. “This has reduced stigmas and made injectables more mainstream. Social sharing, Instagram videos, and millennial patients have further contributed to this trend.”

While Botox is the most recognizable brand name, there are some exciting advances coming in the world of toxins. Silicon Valley based Revance is developing an exciting longer-lasting neuromodulator called RT002 that is expected to be on the market in 2020.

Another new toxin, Jeuveau from Evolus, also has received conditional FDA acceptance and is slated for a spring 2019 launch. “[It is] the first new toxin that is as good, or possibly better, than Botox,” says Dr. Lorrie Klein, a dermatologic surgeon in Laguna Niguel, California.

Dr. Andrew Campbell, a facial plastic surgeon in Mequon, Wisconsin adds that he believes the new neuromodulators will “last longer and be more affordable.”

Interest in Botox competitor Dysport has also risen considerably, up 12 percent last year. It landed in the No. 9 slot for the minimally invasive cosmetic treatments showing the highest interest growth for 2018.

Body sculpting without surgery

Those seeking a way to shape their bottoms and abs without the downtime of surgery are increasingly in luck. Nonsurgical fat reduction and body sculpting has been a rising category in minimally invasive treatments for several years now, but with more entrants into the market, this is a category that will continue to heat up.

In 2018, Emsculpt was one of the top three emerging treatments on RealSelf. It’s a device that causes muscle contractions that builds new muscle tissue, while also reducing fat, in the abs and buttocks. Men and women seeking a way to treat stubborn fat pockets are praising the treatment for helping them get over that hurdle of getting that bootie or stomach they’ve been wanting. In fact, Allergen has a version of an Emsculpt-like treatment that is also reportedly coming to market soon.

“I think EMSculpt is a game changer,” Dr. Campbell, a facial plastic surgeon said. “It’s the first device in the aesthetic field to ever target muscle directly. I find it to be a whole new arm of aesthetic medicine and feel it works synergistically with fat removing devices like CoolSculpt.”

Injectable Sculptra Aesthetic has also found a new off-label use for those wanting some augmentation in the buttocks. Several plastic surgeons are praising the injectable, which stimulates collagen production over time, for treating that area.

Sculptra experienced a 31 percent increase in interest on RealSelf in 2018. “There is a new trend toward butt enhancement with the product,” says Dr. Shafer. “This has most definitely renewed interest in Sculptra Aesthetic.”

Less invasive alternatives in high demand

In 2018, we saw considerable spikes in interest for nonsurgical cosmetic elective treatments, and doctors on RealSelf expect that trajectory to continue. With better tools and technology, people are seeking out alternatives to surgery.

The popularity and quick rise of Emsculpt and Sculptra on RealSelf are examples, but other nonsurgical treatments are expected to grow in popularity, especially when it comes to enhancing other parts of the body.

“Nonsurgical rhinoplasty is definitely the treatment of the year, Dr. Devgan said. “This game-changing treatment can straighten, lift, and otherwise optimize the nose with no incisions, minimal downtime, and no real downtime.”

“The current range of fillers are fantastic, as we have products such as Volbella for fine lines, Vollure for smoothing, and Voluma for lifting,” Dr. Shafer says. “Off-label uses such as non-invasive rhinoplasty and chin augmentation are excellent treatments for patients.”

Dr. Devgan is looking forward to advancements in microneedling, which had 19 percent more interest on RealSelf in 2018 compared to 2017. “Gold microinfusion microneedling,” she says, “this innovative treatment uses intradermal Botox, filler and microneedling to create glowy skin.”

Dr. Shafer adds that advancements in stem cells and PRP, two treatments that can be combined with microneedling, are “very promising,” as well.