As most of the European economies move out of recession, austerity is finally giving way to augmentation, especially in the area of aesthetic medicine and professional skin care. Growth in cosmetic procedures has had a knock-on effect on topical skin care treatments with a growing number of consumers prepared to invest in creams, lotions and serums to obtain instant and long-lasting results.
The number of cosmetic operations rose 17% last year, according to the latest statistics from the British Association of Aesthetics Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), which noted that all types of procedures increased. Despite being rocked by the worldwide breast implant scandal, 13% more women opted for breast surgery, which was the most popular surgical procedure in 2013 (11,135 cases). Women are increasingly turning to liposuction, with 43% more procedures. Anti-aging procedures are also proving more popular with both women and men, with eyelid surgery increasing 14%, face and neck lifts up 13%, fat transfer (where fat is injected into the face to add volume) by 15% and brows rose by 17%. Male surgery numbers grew 16% year-on-year, but still account for less than one in ten aesthetic plastic surgery procedures.
“It is encouraging to see that despite, or perhaps because of, a turbulent period in the sector, patient confidence in selecting appropriately trained and qualified surgeons is growing rapidly,” said Michael Cadier, consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS president-elect.
Despite rapid growth in cosmetic procedures, it remains a relatively niche category among women seeing professionals for their skin care concerns. According to Kline Group’s Beauty Devices Global Market Analysis, facials are the most common treatment experienced by 23% of women who visit a professional on a monthly basis. Injectable wrinkle relaxers and wrinkle fillers, along with aesthetic plastic surgery, are taken up by 10% or less of respondents seeing professionals.
Doctors’ offices and medical spas are proving to be an important channel for professional and dermatological skin care sold to the consumer. According to Kline Group, the leading brands through medical care providers in Europe are SkinCeuticals (L’Oréal), Mene & Moy and Obagi. The largest European market is the UK, which accounts for 45% of total sales through medical care providers. Sales are growing in most European markets, especially the UK and Russia, where medical spas, in particular, have contributed to the gains. However, Kline warns that future growth in the medical care providers channel will be limited by market regulations and habits.
Opportunities within retail are also being exploited.
“Growth is driven by professional skin care manufacturers looking to expand their presence in retail stores, particularly through those that offer skin treatment to their customers,” observed Pierrick Dutton, project leader at Kline’s Consumer Practice. “The retail store channel saw increasing sales volume through home shopping network providers, such as QVC, and e-commerce throughout 2013. This trend is particularly strong in the UK.”
Consumer demand for specialty treatments and serums in skin care is also reflected in professional skin care.
“Demand is driven by consumers looking for active treatments targeting specific skin conditions in the form of active ampoules, serums and weekly or monthly treatment sets,” points out Dutton.
And in a reverse trend, BB and CC creams are appearing in the professional skin care market with a significant number of new launches.
Mintel’s Global New Products Database identified the following products as inspired by cosmetic medicine.
Pharmaclinix claims to be the only cosmeceutical range that addresses derma-cosmetic challenges, using preparations for pre-and post-procedures to minimize potential skin damage that may arise due to long-term problems. Pre-Aesthetix Serum is an intense priming formulation for aesthetics procedures (e.g., LPL and laser, micro-dermabrasion, chemical peels, derma-rolling, photo therapy, muscle relaxants and derma fillers) to prevent scarring, inflammation and post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation.
A natural solution to the after-effects of cosmetic procedures comes in the form of a balm from In Fiore, a beauty line offering the healing benefits and aromatic properties of flower perfumes. Fleur Vibrante Healing Floral Essence features a thick, luxurious texture that does not leave a heavy residue and is designed to cure scarring, redness and itchiness caused by laser treatments, sun damage and other skin conditions.
The La Villosa range of anti-aging products include Anti Eye Bag Ampoules, which claim Botox-like effects such as reducing crow’s feet lines. The formulation contains Swiss glacial water and an “innovative” combination of a strong DNA complex and organic plant cells to boost the synthesis of new collagen while providing an antioxidant action.
Resultime by Collin Paris is said to be inspired by cosmetic medicine. The Regenerating Collagen Gel uses a patented active ingredient called Vectorised Micro-Collagen consisting of highly active fragments of natural collagen small enough to enter the lower levels of the epidermis by a vector. It claims to increase the skin’s collagen production by 49% and hyaluronic acid by 78%. Clinical tests were performed on 22 women for 56 days and revealed that skin was repaired and re-densified for 75% of users. Resultime Rich Smoothing Skin claims a Botox-like effect achieved from hexapeptide that claims to relax expression lines through its effect on muscle contractions.
The US FDA approved Botox to treat the symptoms of severe underarm sweating; treatments reportedly last more than six months. Mintel has recorded details of Dermadoctor Med e Tate antiperspirant wipes which were developed by leading dermatologist Audrey Kunin and reportedly mimic the effects of Botox and reduce wetness due to stress.
“We know that demand for cosmetic procedures is growing a lot in Europe and many professional facilities are adding cosmetic procedures to their menus,” concluded Dutton. “This would tend to show that skin care sales are not cannibalizing sales of cosmetic procedures—at the moment at least.”
However, these aesthetic medicine inspired skin care ranges are worth keeping a close eye on as they could lead to some important future trends.
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Imogen Matthews is a respected consultant, journalist and researcher focusing on trends in the beauty industry. She regularly contributes to many of the world’s foremost beauty trade titles. Every year in April, she publishes The Premium Market Report, focusing on trends in the UK premium beauty markets.