THE Aesthetic Guide November/December 2016 | Jeffrey Frentzen, Executive Editor
Aesthetic practitioners around the world continue to embrace multi-functional energy-based devices that address a variety of cosmetic concerns and skin types from a single platform. While energy-based treatment of patients with Fitzpatrick skin types IV, V, and VI has been problematic in the past due to unwanted complications such as post-inflammatory hypo or hyperpigmentation, technology advancements have resulted in the introduction of many new or improved devices boasting no downtime or patient discomfort, even for these darker skin types.
According to the Global Aesthetic Market Study XIV released in June 2016 from Medical Insight, Inc. (Aliso Viejo, California, U.S.), total worldwide sales of energy-based device platforms, which comprises hair removal; skin rejuvenation; removal of tattoos and pigmented lesions; acne reduction; and removal of vascular lesions, are expected to increase by 6.2% per year through 2020.
North America remains the global leader of product sales in this segment, with 6.5% annual growth expected. Following North America is Latin America and Asia at an estimated 6.8% and 6.1% CAGR, respectively. Trailing these regions is Europe, with sales anticipated to rise by 5.4% per year.
One of the top patient concerns is skin rejuvenation, including fractional treatment, which is well-established globally. Women aged 30 to 65 make up 80% of all skin rejuvenation patients and this demographic will further develop with the large number of aging baby boomers in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Additionally, the market has seen an increasing number of men requesting aesthetic services, which bodes well for continued market expansion.
Another high-demand area for practitioners around the globe is an energy-based, non-surgical skin tightening and body shaping procedure, which can offer patients subtle and at times profound improvements in fat reduction, skin tightening, toning, smoothing, and cellulite reduction.
In 2015, global sales of body shaping and skin tightening devices were estimated at $786 million, as reported by Medical Insight. Through 2020, sales are expected to expand by 13.8% per year driven by rising consumer interest in these procedures. North America comprises the largest single market with projected annual growth of 11.4% through 2020.
The outlook for other regions is even rosier, with Europe experiencing 15.5% growth per year and Asia reporting to post gains of 17.5% per year, as practitioners, particularly in Japan, Singapore, China, and Hong Kong, introduce these modalities into their practices. Notably, Latin America, which has the smallest market of these regions, will also purportedly rise by 17.5% per year.
Among today’s technologies, there are many different types of energy sources being implemented. Most laser, intense pulsed light (IPL), ultrasound, and radiofrequency (RF)-based devices work by heating the deeper layers of the skin without damaging the surface. However, unlike lasers and IPL, RF, and ultrasound are “color blind,” meaning that they have no affinity to skin pigmentation, such as melanin, thus they are suitable for all skin types.
Other popular modalities that can be used on all skin types involve acoustic wave therapy, cryotherapy / Cryolipolysis, water jet, magnetic field therapy, micro-needling, lipid dissolving products and endermology / vacuum/massage.
Working in the upper layers of the skin, lasers, and IPL-based devices are meant for more superficial skin issues such as pigmentation, acne, spider veins, tone, and texture. Additionally, more manufacturers are introducing aesthetic lasers that can be tuned to provide treatments for patients with darker skin.
Neo from Aerolase (Tarrytown, New York, U.S.) can treat tanned or darker skin types (IV-VI) by delivering the necessary laser fluences to the skin in a 650 ms pulse duration, thus energy passes through the epidermis so quickly that it does not have time to overheat the epidermal melanocytes, thus avoiding the pigmentary risk associated with most laser systems. In addition to substantially increasing the safety margin when treating darker skin types, Neo eliminates the need for simultaneous skin cooling during treatment and the pain typically associated with traditional long pulsed Nd:YAG lasers.