There’s been a recent shift away from the unnatural look that we’ve got used to seeing on the big screens and red carpets ten, twenty years ago – large, round breasts, a face pulled too tight or eyebrows that sit high on the face – and toward a more soft and natural one. There’s been a revolution in what we perceive as beauty – and it’s all about looking natural, like you haven’t had anything done.

Before there were noninvasive face-lifts and nose corrections, it was common to see women who had cosmetic surgery looking like a plastic version of themselves. Remember Jennifer Grey, the Dirty Dancing actress, who bitterly regretted her rhinoplasty? “I went in the operating room a celebrity and came out anonymous,” she has said of the surgery to straighten her distinctive nose.

The trend right now is all about subtle changes. People no longer want to completely change their appearance, as they might have done in the 90s, they want a prettier, more refreshed version of themselves. Patients visit my clinic looking for a brighter, and more refreshed version of themselves. This is the main reason why non-invasive procedures have gained in popularity in the last few years – Botox and filler injections help enhance your natural beauty and highlight your best features while leaving your appearance refreshed and rejuvenated.

The number of non-surgical procedures performed in South Africa is growing exponentially. A significant number of patients say they’ve come to me because they’re trying to avoid having a surgical procedure. Botox is now so well established that patients come in and specifically ask for it. On top of Botox, you can have fillers to fix sagging areas on your face and restore volume as well as remove dark circles underneath your eyes, chemical peels to improve skin texture, and even face-lift threads, that absorb into the body – all this done during your lunch break.

Twenty years ago the only option was surgery, now we have injectables, threads, and lasers available – there’s so much more you can do to for a fresh, rejuvenated look.

Years ago, saggy skin was cut away and tightened. Now it is plumped up with fillers. Not only this, but did you know fillers are used to improve the shape of someone’s nose? It’s cheaper, non-invasive and less time consuming. In the past people would not even consider filler injections as a treatment to restore volume in cheeks or lips, mostly because of lack of popularity and misconceptions that getting fillers injections meant ending up with puffed-up cheekbones and lips. Nowadays, regular filler and Botox injections have become normalized, there are fewer stigmas, and more and more women are treating these procedures as part of their beauty routine, the same as doing their hair. Such a different scenario from even 10 years ago, right?

One big trend I am noticing at the moment is women starting to preserve their natural beauty earlier in life. Years ago, women would consider cosmetic treatments after their mid-40s. Now women in their mid-20s are consciously aware of the ageing process and are already taking steps into slowing down the process. Another reason I believe is driving this change is the visual world we’re living in – everyone wants to look good in photos and due to the HD screens we now see flaws in our skin and we didn’t see before. Quick and painless non-surgical procedures are the perfect touch ups before a major event or photo shoot as they require no downtime.

Although non-surgical treatments are on the rise, it is unlikely they will completely replace the surgical ones – there is a limitation to what they can do but, in many areas, people can get visible improvements as well as prevent expensive and time consuming surgical procedures.