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06-28-12 | Posted by

Medical aesthetics continue to evolve as the world of advanced skincare and anti-aging treatments matures. From skin tightening devices to “liquid facelifts,” these new technologies were explored during a robust panel of experts held at the recent HBA Expo in New York City. Entitled “The Present and Future of Medical Aesthetics: Trends from the Clinic to the Jar,” the panel members discussed how non-surgical methods are impacting retail trends and consumers.

“The medical aesthetics category continues to explode as consumers around the world seek the latest in injectables, active cosmetics, skin lightening and at-home devices. The global market is expected to increase more than 11% in 2012 with huge growth coming from Asia and Latin America,” said panel moderator Wendy Lewis, president of Wendy Lewis & Co LTD, Global Aesthetics Consultancy. “Non-surgical treatments lead the way across the globe.”

Liquid Facelifts

By combining several formulations of fillers along with Botox, injectables can deliver a “facelift-like” effect that consumers are craving. —From “microbotox” to “bro-tox” to “baby botox”, the novel uses for neurotoxins continue to expand. A new category making its way from Europe and Latin America is called biorejuvenation or mesolifting; micro needle treatments administered by using handheld guns, machines and by hand injection. A new emphasis on soft or bendable needles, blunt-tip cannulae, injector pens, and other systems lead to fewer traumas and bruising. The panelists agreed that hyaluronic gel fillers – as in Restylane, Juvederm, Belotero and others – remain the most popular type of filler worldwide.

Breast Enhancement

In 2006 the FDA reintroduced silicone breast implants to the market, after a moratorium declared in 1992. It is interesting to note that in 2011, of the 316K breast augmentations performed – 31% were saline,  69% were silicone, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. For the first time in three years, liposuction surpassed breast augmentation as the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure.  Until 2008, liposuction was in the lead – yet from 2008-2010 it was breast augmentation.
In 2012, a third player entered the market with FDA cleared breast implants under the brand name of Sientra.
The only alternative to breast implants for volume and shape enhancement is fat grafting, aside from push up bras, that is.
Fat, Fibroblasts, and Platelets

Autologous fat transfer has had a major resurgence for the face, body, and breasts. In addition, platelet rich plasma is also being used for rejuvenation. A growing segment of consumers are embracing the idea of a more natural approach to anti-aging treatments using their own tissues, which is perceived as safer, gentler, and less risky in some circles. According to New York and Connecticut Dermatologist Dr. Lisa Donofrio, “The benefits of fat are numerous. It is the longest lasting large volume filler, and the most economical, but most people have a plentiful supply, or at least enough to restore volume to facial areas. It is a 3-dimensional filler and works in a manner that fills to lift neighboring tissues. In my experience, it is also has very predictable longevity in the midface region.”

Skin Tightening Facelifts

Devices administered by doctors or other medical professionals help delay the need for a facelift. Many of these technologies, including evolastin, Ulthera, SkinTyte, and Pelleve, can be used for face and off face applications. According to Z. Paul Lorenc, MD, “Pelleve is an ideal skin tightening treatment because there is no pain and no downtime, so it fits into everyone’s schedule and can be repeated as needed.”  Dr. Lisa Donofrio added that she continues to be underwhelmed with the long term results of skin tightening systems on the market, how she acknowledges that these treatments are very popular among consumers eager to bypass cosmetic surgery and long recovery periods.

Cosmeceuticals or Active Cosmetics

As Wendy Lewis said, “The market for cosmeceuticals (also called active cosmetics) has its largest following in the US, followed by Asia and Latin America with strong growth seen in Russia and Brazil. The EU ranks last mainly because in most European countries, physicians are not permitted to dispense skincare and beauty products out of their clinics.” That may be changing as physicians are finding new ways of integrating products into a global fee for the treatments they offer.

It’s easy to see why this market is growing: wider offerings of treatments appeal to consumers of all ages and genders. Peels have had a resurgence in the professional skincare segment as a cheaper alternative to lasers and light based systems – and as an adjunct to skincare and other treatments. Microneedling is emerging to enhance, penetrate, and stimulate collagen for more youthful looking skin, and is often combined with other treatments including topical solutions.

Skin Lightening Topicals

New formulations and ingredients have increased demand for non-prescription skin lightening and brightening products, in areas including underarms and genital areas. However, hydroquinone is falling under greater regulatory scrutiny leaving the category wide open for innovation. For example, two of the newest hydroquinone-free topical ranges include elure Advanced Brightening System which is based on a proprietary enzyme, and Lumixyl, which is a decapeptide formulation, both of which are available only through dermatologists and plastic surgeons.

Home Care Devices

Home care devices continue to show an increase in consumer acceptance, largely fueled by convenience, greater ease of use, portability, advanced efficacy, and affordability. The range of benefits continues to grow too with devices available that are now targeting sun damage, hair removal, skin discoloration, acne, hair production, skin texture and tone, cleansing and microdermabrasion, and cellulite. PaloVia is one such example of a fractionated laser that is sold for home use in the anti-aging category.

On the Horizon

As the aesthetics market continues to evolve we can expect to learn more about microwave treatments to tame underarm sweating such as Miradry, lasers targeting cellulite, topical neurotoxins, injectable fat reducing agents like Kythera and even vaginal rejuvenation. Stay tuned.

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