New research suggests demand for non-surgical procedures is driving the downturn in cosmetic operations.  87% of practitioners who took part in the study believe the 40% drop in cosmetic operations recently reported by BAAPs, is due to people opting for non-surgical procedures, with Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels, medical needling and teeth whitening making up the bulk of practitioner business.

Over 100 leading surgeons, doctors, nurses, dermatologists, dentists and practice managers working within the UK aesthetic medicine market took part in the study which was commissioned by CCR Expo, the UK’s largest event for medical aesthetics.

Alison Willis, Division Director of CCR Expo, explains: “Our show uniquely focuses on both the surgical and non-surgical aspects of the aesthetics medicine market. So, when the fall in cosmetic operations was reported we decided to explore if this had been influenced by an increase in non-surgical activity. Most experts we questioned felt it had, and went on to give us considerable insights into the treatments people are having and why.”

When asked which non-surgical treatments women are most commonly having, the practitioners studied mentioned 22 treatments but two dominated; Botox, cited by 90% of practitioners and dermal fillers nominated by 86%. Two fifths (42%) said chemical peels are a top treatment among female patients, laser hair removal was suggested by 36%, teeth whitening by a third (33%) and non-surgical facelifts by 31%. Interestingly, 6% said that vaginal rejuvenation is the treatment they are commonly being asked for, and this group said the procedure makes-up the bulk of their business.

In terms of male clients, the respondents identified 20 treatments which are most popular and Botox again topped the list, nominated by 83%.  However, in contrast to women, the second most popular choice was teeth whitening, with 44% of practitioners saying this is the treatment men are opting for.  Dermal fillers came third, mentioned by 36%.  According to one in five, laser hair removal is also a common request among male patients, with chemical peels the fifth most popular treatment choice, nominated by 17%.

CCR Expo’s research also highlights an interesting difference between the sexes in terms of how they choose their treatments.  Friends and celebrities massively influence female decision-making with 63% of practitioners saying that friends are the leading influence on women’s treatment choices and 39% saying celebrities play an integral role.  28% say women are influenced by the clinics themselves while a fifth (22%) report that vloggers and bloggers are very influential.

In contrast clinics are almost as likely as friends to influence a man’s treatment decision (37% vs 40%).  Furthermore, men are 7 times more like to turn to technical media for their advice, with 22% of aesthetic professionals saying such media influence men’s treatment choices.  Men are far less likely than women to be influenced by celebrities (18% vs 39%) and just 15% say men take significant notice of bloggers or vloggers.

According to the aesthetic practitioners, 93% of clients start having non-surgical treatments before they turn 40 years old, with 31-40 years old being the most common age range for people to start. That said, a significant 41% of clients start when 21-30 years old and 5% of clients are less than 21 years old.

80% say that clients mostly want to look fresher however almost a half (45%) also say they want to look a lot younger too. A fifth (22%) report that clients are having procedures to correct a significant problem they feel they have. These treatments are not one off occasions but part of an ongoing relationship, 89% of practitioners see the same patient at least twice a year, and 49% three times or more each year.

Alison Willis concludes: “Clearly the non-surgical sector is growing fast – with men and women looking for a significant breadth of treatments, ideally all delivered by a practitioner who can support them regularly and over the long-term. Our research also shows that men and women are still highly dependent on their practitioner to advise on treatments – but are also not afraid to gather information for themselves from other sources.  All of this puts a pressure on practitioners to constantly refresh their knowledge and skills. That’s why a significant part of CCR Expo will be focused on providing conferences, workshops and live demonstrations – all designed to help practitioners expand their repertoires and stay ahead of the latest treatments, technologies and techniques.”