We have endeavoured to ‘improve’ our appearance and meet the beauty standard of the times as far back as any history book might take us. Across the world, there are records of many different ways to modify our bodies, from foot binding to neck stretching. While these practices haven’t always included the surgical and medical procedures we see today, it’s safe to say the concept of plastic surgery is far from a new one. These days beauty trends and body modifications are so commonplace you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t partaken in one way or another. That being said, the last decade or so has definitely seen a rise in more procedures that require a medically trained professional to administer. 2021 no doubt presents a varied and modern selection of procedures to title its most common.
Realistically when we talk about cosmetic procedures, we aren’t only talking about the obvious first thoughts such as liposuction or breast enlargement; we are also talking about the more basic body modifications such as false nails, eyebrow waxing or even simply makeup – after all, they are called cosmetics. While we don’t ordinarily automatically include these forms of body modification, they are certainly very common in today’s standards of beauty. There is a large portion of the population who get regular procedures, including false eyelashes, dyed hair or extension. Previously this constant maintenance was predominantly seen in celebrities. However, these trends have been rising in the average Joe over the last 2 decades. This can be attributed to a number of factors, two of which stand out in particular. For one, the rise of social media has seen more people in the limelight and on display. As more people are achieving fame by simply meeting beauty standards, it is no surprise so many are paying to meet them. Secondly, the last few years have seen a significant rise in the participation of males and gender non-conforming individuals. As society accepts this deviation from the norm more readily, we will likely see this trend of experimentation and expression across all genders continue to develop.
While most of the above can theoretically be performed at home, there is also a subset of popular cosmetic procedures that require a trained professional. Almost equally as common are body modifications such as piercings, tattoos and laser facials. Gone are the days when getting a tattoo was considered to be an act of rebellion, and the tired-out phrase of ‘what about when you’re old?’ is finally going out of fashion. Many people now sporting numerous tattoos across their bodies and are no longer finding these as barriers to employment. Piercings have been popular for many years; however, in the last few decades, the popularity has spread from simply ears to most areas of the body, not to mention the stretching of these holes. Consequently, access to these services has never been higher. Lasers have also come along in leaps and bounds; not only can they repair cataracts and remove hair, but they are also being used very regularly to improve the health of and treat many skin conditions. Also increasing in popularity is the use of lasers to combat aging through the stimulation of cells to improve collagen production in facial skin. It is no doubt that each of these cosmetic options will continue to be used at similar, if not greater, levels in the coming years.
With the rise of the age of the influencer, we also see growing popularity in surgical or medically administered procedures. Botox and lip fillers are extremely common throughout the western population. Both procedures require a semi-regular refill but as the services are becoming increasingly affordable and so many options for clinics encourage competitive pricing, the industry will inevitably continue to expand. Some surgical procedures such as rhinoplasty and breast augmentation have been popular for years but not quite as much as we find in 2021. Unsurprisingly, the increase of demand for surgical modification has influenced the development of different styles of surgeries – for example, you can now opt for natural breast implants which use your body’s own fat stores. We can change so many things about the body, and imagination continues to surpass previous limits. Some procedures, such as eyelid surgery or the ‘Brazilian Butt Lift’, are relatively new elective surgeries and are vastly popular in 2021. As there is so much demand for these procedures, it is no surprise that the quality and costs are also increasing in favour. As they become even more socially acceptable, even encouraged, 2021 will likely be nothing in comparison to 10 or 15 years from now.
As more health and beauty issues or ‘imperfections’ continue to become prevalent in our society, it is fair to assume that the cosmetics industry will surely rise to meet the challenge.
A recent example would include the rise in obesity, particularly in young people. Obesity is of course, not a new issue for the western world but the procedures and practices for combatting it are. While many would chock the increasing rates of young people who are catagorised as morbidly obese to a problem with control or an excess of greed, we are finding it is increasingly common that those who suffer from an inability to control their weight do so due to medical or genetic reasons. It’s not only co-morbidities such as heart disease and mental health that are a concern with overly obese people; there is also the pressure on hospital situations. Many have also found a new demand for bariatric equipment or the need for more extensive options, including pressure mattresses. The term obese is definitely applied far too liberally as we see through the body positivity movement as it reclaims the right to differentiate between being fat and being unhealthy. However, for those individuals who are unhappy or unhealthy in their weight, the option to undertake a gastric band or sleeve is now readily available. The procedure applies a band around the stomach to help reduce the amount of food the individual can consume. While this may seem barbaric to some, it may be necessary for others and will no doubt continue to rise in popularity past 2021.