Health

More than skin deep: Cosmetic surgery industry is booming

Asia, led by China and India, is the fastest growing market for cosmetic surgery

In the quest for youthful looks, 8.6 billion euros (S$14.1 billion) were spent last year on materials and chemicals used in cosmetic procedures worldwide,according to a report released at the International Master Course on Aging Science (Imcas) beauty industry conference in Paris last week.

Spending on equipment and products used to nip, tuck, lift, and tighten grew more than 8 per cent from 2016, it said.

The market should reach 9.3 billion euros this year.

The report tracked sales of equipment such as lasers forbody contouring or hair removal, pharmaceutical compounds, "active" cosmetics, fat-sucking devices, muscle-freezing toxins such as botox, wrinkle fillers and breast implants.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (Asaps), Americans alone spent more than US$15 billion (S$19.7 billion) on beauty procedures in 2016, an 11 per cent rise from the previous year.

Asaps president Daniel Mills credited a healthier economy, technological innovations and "a desire on the part of baby boomers and their offspring to remain competitive in a youth-centric workforce".

Procedures to shift undesirable fat from areas such as the buttocks or belly to perk up breasts or plump up cheeks were among the most popular in America, the data showed.

A form of cosmetic vaginal surgery called labiaplasty was one of the most sought-after procedures, growing 23 per cent in the US and 45 per cent globally from 2015.

It involves trimming back the "inner lips", or labia minora flanking the vaginal opening, in the quest for a smooth, designer vagina.

"Vaginal rejuvenation is the new trend and the fastest growing procedure," International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (Isaps) president Renato Saltz said.

According to an Isaps report on the year 2016, 23.6 million face- or body-boosting procedures were performed globally, 9 per cent more than in 2015.

Of these, 10.4 million clientswent under the knife, while the rest were injections or non-invasive treatments.

The top five countries - the US, Brazil, Japan, Italy and Mexico - accounted for 41.4 per cent of the world's cosmetic procedures, the Isaps report said.

Breast augmentation remained the most popular surgical procedure in 2016, accounting for 15.8 per cent of all beauty operations, followed by liposuction (14 per cent), eyelid surgery (12.9 per cent) and nose jobs (7.6 per cent).

Penis enlargement was the least popular procedure in 2016, and the category with the biggest drop - 28 per cent.

"The most popular non-surgical procedures continue to be injectables, with botox ranking at number one at 4,627,752 procedures," said Isaps.

Led by China and India, Asia was the fastest-growing market, added Imcas, and should overtake Europe for the first time this year in terms of cosmetic industry spending.

The data showed that men made up almost 14 per cent of clients overall, mainly seeking eyelid surgery, breast reductions, nose enhancements, liposuction and hair transplant. - AFP

WELLNESS & BEAUTY