The past 12 months have brought a lot of changes, but for some Australians, that includes changes to their faces and bodies. For some of us, those changes have involved piling on a few extra “lockdown” kilos and for some it’s meant being able to find time to exercise due to being able to avoid the daily commute to work.

For a growing number of Australians, including those here in the Illawarra, physical changes have meant seeking out cosmetic procedures, from anti-wrinkle injections and fillers to cosmetic surgery such as tummy tucks. Local medical practitioners are reporting that numbers of both men and women seeking aesthetic medicine in the Illawarra area have risen over the past 12 months, with the largest demographic being middle aged, professional women.

Why are more people seeking cosmetic procedures in the Illawarra?

There are a few theories as to why the demand for aesthetic procedures has increased, but the most likely reasons are:

  • Increased use of platforms such as Zoom and Skype to communicate has meant people are spending a lot more time staring at their own faces, often from unflattering angles. Staring at your own frown lines and double chin for hours every week makes them suddenly much more irritating than before!
cosmetic treatment illawarra
  • The restrictions on travel, social outings and big events such as weddings has lead to an increase in disposable income for some.
  • The continual uncertainty and changes to what we are and aren’t allowed to do have been felt by many as a loss of control. Simple everyday acts, like being able to take a short holiday or visit a loved one, are for the first time in our lives hanging in the balance of uncertainty and this unpredictability has seen a rise in anxiety levels. This sense of being out of control of the seemingly predictable elements of our day to day lives, has left some people wanting to take action to control what they can, including taking charge over their physical appearance.
  • The opportunity of being based at home for a period provided an opportunity for those who had been considering an aesthetic procedure for a while to undergo treatment and hide away for a period while the acute after effects settled down.

What are the most popular aesthetic procedures being sought out in the wollongong area?

Dr Jemima Grant is the Medical Director at Thrive Skin Clinic in Thirroul. Much of her day is spent advising and treating patients for pigmentation concerns (particularly in the warmer months when increased sun exposure exaggerates pigmentation). She finds the most common complaints her patients come to her for are wrinkles and frown lines causing them to feel that they are “looking old”.

Dr Grant noticed a definite trend in those undergoing fat dissolving, for the double chin in particular. Fat dissolving is a great (although expensive) treatment that involves injections in to the submental (below the chin area). It causes redness, bruising and swelling for up to 2 weeks, but permanently reduces fat cells. Ablative skin treatments (laser, Tixel etc) and IPL were also popular as patients sought to maximise their social distancing requirements by tending to their aesthetic “to-do” lists.

When it comes to cosmetic surgery, local plastic surgeons noticed an increase in people wanting liposuction, belpharoplasties and neck lifts.


Whilst there is no shortage of cosmetic providers here in Australia, unfortunately, the aesthetics industry is largely unregulated, meaning that patients may be seeking treatment from practitioners with varying levels of training and expertise. You may be working with fully trained medical practitioners who have completed advanced and specialist training, however there are also nurses, beauty therapists and unregistered providers of cosmetic procedures, who are not governed by the Medical Board. While many of these service providers do offer safe and effective treatments, it is up to the patient to do their research first rather than assume that the standard of training and skill level is adequate.

The main point here, is that it’s better to wait for a reptable practitioner than to go rushing in and see someone who isn’t properly trained, unethical or leaves you with a poor quality result at the end.

Dr Grant commented;
“I saw some terrible complications post Covid, requiring me to reverse inappropriately placed dermal filler for several clients. The best defence for consumers at the stage is to educate themselves about what injectors and cosmetic providers SHOULD be doing and force the undustry to regulate from the ground up.



  • Don’t let price be your guide when it comes to your face and body. Choose based on the quality of products and the experience/qualification of your practitioner.
  • Ensure that machines/devices used are approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and that technicians are properly trained in their use.
  • Ask questions!
    Is their a supervising doctor in case there is an issue? Who are they?
    Is there long term follow up with patients?
  • Don’t choose your desired face based on a celebrity’s particular features. This approach is likely to make you look “fake” and in the end, less beautiful. Talk with your practitioner about what it is you’re dissatisfied with and get their expertise in how to work with your own existing features to get an aesthetically pleasing, natural looking result.
  • Above all else, be informed!
    There are some informative articles on Thrive Skin Clinic’s website about injectors, lasers and IPL safety.