(Some) business is booming: ASDS figures show cosmetic procedures still robust

September 1, 2008

Despite concerns about the U.S. economy, a March 2008 survey by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) showed that nearly one-fourth of the survey's 562 respondents were experiencing increased bookings for existing aesthetic patients versus fall 2007.

Key Points

Additionally, nearly 63 percent of participants reported that such bookings had held steady over the period studied.

Moreover, 28 percent of respondents said their filler use had increased up to 30 percent compared to six months before the survey. Similarly, 37 percent of survey respondents said their current use of laser-related procedures had increased, while more than 40 percent said their number of injectable toxin procedures had grown since fall 2007.

"If you've got other issues in your life that are maybe a little topsy-turvy," adds Dr. Finder, "you still want to feel good about yourself and keep your looks up to the standard you've been accustomed to."

Despite economic woes, she says, "Women in particular will find a way to do their Botox and fillers. That's definitely the trend I've been seeing."

Conversely, David I. Wolf, M.D., an Oceanside, Calif., dermatologist in private practice, says he has seen a slowdown in his area. But nationally, he says, it's possible that patients who might otherwise have chosen a $5,000 facelift are tiding themselves over with less costly procedures such as Restylane (hyaluronic acid, Medicis) injections until they can afford a lift.

"There's a saying that women are going to buy cosmetics such as lipstick no matter how bad things are," Dr. Wolf adds. It could be that with moderate economic pain, "You'll see an increase in aesthetic procedures.

"But in extreme pain, at some point people must say, 'I've got to wait.'" That could explain why Southern California - which is experiencing the nation's highest gas prices and mortgage default rates - is seeing downturns while other areas of the country aren't, Dr. Wolf says.

Disclosures: Dr. Finder serves on BioForm's medical education faculty. Dr. Wolf reports no relevant financial interests.

For more information: http://www.asds.net/