Derm Appeal Blog

How Is the Field of Aesthetic Medicine Changing?

The popularity of aesthetic procedures is on the rise, fueled by increased openness, technological advancements, and a more eager consumer base. Worldwide, the medical aesthetic market is projected to be worth nearly $27 billion in the next five years. With consumer interest in medical aesthetics at an all-time high, the world of beauty is beginning to see shifts in trends, perceptions, and demand.

A new study reveals the changes in the field of aesthetic medicine, aiming to help medical practices better understand consumer needs and more efficiently market to an evolving demographic. In April, the Ireland-based pharmaceutical company Allergan released its 360 Aesthetics Report – the most extensive report on the subject thus far – in which thousands of consumers and physicians around the world shared their behaviors and perceptions of beauty and aesthetic procedures. The 14,500 participants defined as “aesthetically conscious consumers” all agreed: looking good is important regardless of age. They were open to improving their appearance with professional help, and were willing to invest money in their appearance. 1,300 physicians were surveyed, including plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and non-core physicians with aesthetic patients.

Survey Insights

In light of the new era of openness to aesthetic procedures, Allergan hopes to educate providers and improve the consumer experience through its report. Below are some of the study’s key findings projected to affect the field of aesthetic medicine:

Consumer Perceptions

Beginning with current consumer attitudes toward appearance, the majority of participants emphasized the desire to look good as one of their top concerns.

– 69% of consumers worldwide said that looking their best is important for daily activities such as work and running errands.
– 64% responded that looking fit and healthy while being on trend makes them feel confident.

Describing Beauty

In describing what they defined as beautiful, participants generally agreed to four terms:

– “Natural” was the most commonly used word to describe ideal beauty standards, with the words “soft”, “smooth”, and “healthy” at the top of the list.
For U.S participants, body positivity movement was reflected in younger generations:

– Younger women, between the ages of 21 and 35, were more likely to use the term “curvy” to describe beauty, while older women (ages 56-65) tended to use the term “fit”.

Influential Factors

Worldwide consumers reported looking to celebrities most often to help define their individual beauty standards. Meanwhile, in the United States, Canada, and India, consumers were more likely to describe beauty based on the appearance of their friends (48%) and family (43%).

New-found Openness

Worldwide, less stigma is now associated with aesthetic medical procedures and consumers are becoming more open to pursuing professional help with their appearance.

– 83% of consumers worldwide were willing to invest in improving their appearance.
– 63% would consider spending money to improve the appearance of their face a worthy investment.
– 71% were willing to see a professional to achieve desired results.

Rising Popularity

Popularity of aesthetic treatments is on the rise with a significant increase in consumer spending within the past year. This growth is projected to continue in the coming years, allowing for the significant rise in global market value.

– Over 73% of consumers worldwide expected to spend money on a physician-administered aesthetic treatment within the next year.
– 62% of surveyed physicians expected to see an increase in patient volume within the next year.

Millennial Impact

Millennials – born between the years 1981 and 1996 – were more likely to consider preventative treatments and begin aesthetic procedures sooner than their older counterparts.

– 98% of millennial consumers worldwide would agree that people in general consider professional treatment at some point in their lives.
– 34% admitted to always using applications to modify the appearance of their face before posting on social media, while 36% do the same for their body.
– 82% of millennial consumers worldwide believed that injectable treatments are social acceptable.
– 63% believed their overall appearance impacted their success.

Top Concern: Eyes

Top concerns worldwide were upper facial lines and wrinkles regardless of age. Saudi Arabian millennials were significantly more likely to have experience with wrinkle relaxing injections.

– 36% of women worldwide listed eye wrinkles a top concern, while 54% of women considered under-eye bags a top concern.
– 60% of American consumers agreed that they would consider wrinkle relaxing injections.
– 32% of consumers worldwide would consider a facial injectable treatment within the next year.

Bodily Concerns

Both male and female consumers in the U.S. exceeded average scores for caring about the appearance and shape of their body. On the other end of the scale, Russian and South Korean consumers reported scores significantly below average.

– Only 32% of consumers across the globe were happy with their body shape.
– However, more than half of consumers agreed that there are solutions to their bodily concerns.
– 54% reported being willing to keep trying until they achieve desired results.

As such, general consumer perceptions of body treatments are positive:

– Over half of consumers worldwide would consider a non-invasive body contouring treatment.
– 34% of those would consider it beyond the next year, 19% would consider it within the next year.

Dermatology First

When considering aesthetic procedures, consumers reported looking to dermatologists first:

– 24% of consumers worldwide consulted with dermatologists before plastic surgeons or primary care physicians.
– The main reported concerns in order of importance were: cost, effectiveness, and safety of the procedures.

Social Media’s Impact

The impact of social media on global standards of beauty is well-known and its significance is becoming increasingly relevant in the field of aesthetic medicine:

– 20% of consumers worldwide follow at least one physician on social media.
– 37% use the internet to search about specific problem areas and available treatments, while 32% turn to social media.
– 28% begin their search for physicians online

When researching aesthetic procedures and clinicians, 93% of surveyed consumers reported using Facebook for information, 82% used Instagram and 52% used Snapchat. With growing millennial interest in cosmetic procedures, the use of social media in aesthetic dermatology is only expected to increase.

As the 360 Aesthetic Report’s insights reveal, the medical aesthetics field is transforming and experiencing tremendous growth, as is consumer interest in improving appearance. Allergan plans to repeat this study regularly in order to deliver new data and reveal trends that could contribute to the expected changes in aesthetic medicine practices in the near future. With the latest data available and an increased understanding of consumer behaviors, treatment methods and outcomes could be remarkably improved, allowing for further development in the industry.

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