Asia-Pacific emerging as the new 'Mecca' of medical aesthetics
In the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, the medical aesthetic market continues to grow faster than any other area in the world. Throughout the region, and especially in China with the rise of its wealthy middle class, people have grown more aware of beauty issues, becoming well-informed about aesthetic treatments via the Internet and social media, and actively seeking out procedures. Meanwhile, the physician’s armamentarium has similarly expanded to include non- and minimally invasive solutions that appeal to more people.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, global cosmetic procedures have expanded by nearly 40% over the past five years, with non-surgical procedures increasing in popularity.
“China is the biggest booming market,” stated William T. Kelley, a global business consultant and former vice president of Europe, Middle East & Africa at Cynosure, Inc.
“While Korea has always adapted new technologies quicker than anywhere else, and this is still the case, China and Taiwan are currently the biggest markets, and Thailand and Singapore have emerged as growing secondary sectors,” he stated.
The market is definitely still expanding, agreed Michael Rich, M.B.B.S., F.A.C.D., A.C.C.S., a dermatologist and founder-director of the Enrich Clinic (Melbourne, Australia).
“More patients of all ages are seeking cosmetic treatments. Their aim, both young and old, is not so much to look younger, but to look better,” he indicated. “No doubt, people are seeking treatments and trying to achieve their benefits with minimal or no downtime, accepting the fact that the results may not be as significant as surgery or other solutions.”
In the past, Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore were never significant business opportunities for manufacturers and developers, noted Barry Rigby, vice president of international sales at Thermi (Singapore). “However, we’ve seen good growth in all countries, including Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia,” he pointed out.
“Also, there is a lot more activity in Australia and New Zealand these days,” Mr. Rigby continued. “Thailand is especially active now, too. While India has become kind of isolated from the rest of Asia, it is also a huge market.”
Japan stands somewhat apart from the crowd, Mr. Kelley noted. “It has always been a very conservative market, and even the number of early adopters in Japan is very small compared with the other, larger markets in Asia. Thus, it is growing more slowly,” he said.
Despite the market differences among APAC nations, their populations all want to address the same basic indications. “Therapies focused on pigmentary problems and skin lightening procedures are still big business in this region,” noted Michael H. Gold, M.D., F.A.A.D., a dermatologist and medical director of Gold Skin Care Center and the Tennessee Clinical Research Center in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
“The biggest thing in Asia is skin,” Mr. Kelley reiterated. “Asian skin types have a lot of problems with melasma and pigmentary issues. They are also lining up at clinics and hospitals to eliminate hypopigmented blotches and to whiten the skin.”
Increasingly, practitioners are solving pigmentary problems using energy-based modalities, stated Dr. Rich. “In particular, the use of picosecond lasers is becoming more sophisticated, in which its various wavelengths – such as 532 nm, 1064 nm and 755 nm – and the fractional modes are better utilized. When used in tandem with vascular lasers, depigmenting topical preparations and tranexamic acid, results should significantly improve.”