The Rising Demand for Aesthetic Treatments in Singapore

Skin Talk: A Look into the Rising Demand for Aesthetic Treatments in Singapore


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One doesn’t reveal their age unless they don’t look like it and today, it seems that more and more women are not only confident in disclosing how old they are but as well as the secret to their more youthful look.

On social media and dinner tables, women of different ages and walks of life are openly talking about their workout routines, diet, and what has recently been added to their beauty repertoire: aesthetic treatments.

If it isn’t any indication, what was once a topic regarded as taboo, talked about in hushed tones and under the tables is already a worldwide trend. An increasing number of men and women are undergoing cosmetic treatments and more so with the introduction of non-invasive alternatives to cosmetic surgical procedures like breast enhancement, liposuction, and rhinoplasty to name a few.

In the article that follows, we’ll be heavily using words such as aesthetic treatments, surgical procedures, non-surgical procedures, and minimally to non-invasive treatments. Therefore, it’s best to settle what they mean and how they’re different from each other here, once and for all.

Surgical vs Non-Surgical Treatments

There are many ways you can go about with cosmetic surgery and not all procedures have to involve an actual surgery. Non-surgical treatments are a heaven-sent for anyone who’s not so willing to go under the knife or someone who is just showing early signs of ageing.

• Surgical Procedures

A few decades ago, surgical procedures (invasive surgery) were the only option for anyone who is trying to deal with their unwanted bulges, sagging skin, or drooping eyes. While cosmetic procedures such as liposuction, breast enlargement, and tummy tuck are known to address such cosmetic issues, their benefits are often outweighed by the potential downsides that come alongside them: pain, significant downtime, allergic reactions to medicines or worse, botched results.

• Non-Surgical Procedures

With the availability of non-surgical procedures (minimally to non-invasive treatments), patients now have more options to minimise the effects of ageing and achieve a much more desirable look but without the potential downsides that come with their invasive counterpart. These usually result in less pain, less scarring, faster recovery time, and often reduced costs. As a matter of fact, most of these procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, hence the colloquial term, ‘lunchtime procedure’.

Part 1: Aesthetic Treatments On The Rise

aesthetic treatments on the rise

In the US, around 18 million people underwent surgical and minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures in 2018. However, it’s not only the US that’s experiencing a surge in demand for cosmetic enhancements but the rest of the world as well.

5 surgical and non-surgical procedures worldwide

A 2018 study reveals the top 5 surgical procedures worldwide are:

  1. Breast Augmentation – 1,862,506
  2. Liposuction – 1,732,620
  3. Eyelid Surgery – 1,099,960
  4. Abdominoplasty – 888,712
  5. Rhinoplasty – 726,907

As for the top 5 non-surgical procedures, the list includes:

  1. Botulinum Toxin – 6,097,516
  2. Hyaluronic Acid – 3,729,833
  3. Hair Removal – 916,869
  4. Non-Surgical Fat Reduction – 473,316
  5. Photo Rejuvenation – 436,656

A similar report in 2017 said that surgical procedures such as breast augmentation, liposuction, and eyelid surgery accounted for 77% of the total global expenditures, while non-surgical treatments accounted for the remaining 23%.

Of the total procedures, 86.4% are performed on women, whereas the remaining 14.4% are on men. If it was breast augmentation that women requested most, it was eyelid surgery for men followed by gynecomastia surgery (enlarged breasts), rhinoplasty, liposuction, and hair transplant, respectively.

These figures go to show the global aesthetic industry is on the rise. As a matter of fact, it is expected to reach $50.5 billion by 2027.

These figures go to show that patients are becoming more adventurous and willing to undergo procedures to change their facial appearance and physique. But, what’s surprising is that a conservative country like Singapore is also slowly adapting to this trend.

Breaking the Taboo: Aesthetic Industry in Singapore

It’s not that nobody had ever undergone aesthetic surgery in Singapore in the past. It’s that being in a conservative country, patients used to keep what they went through to themselves out of fear of being judged for being too vain or too insecure of their outward appearance. Some even went as far as flying overseas to keep their surgery a secret.

But, today, that is no longer the case as Singaporeans are becoming more accepting of cosmetic surgery and non-invasive treatments as they discover their wealth of benefits.

What could be the reason why more and more people are electing to undergo cosmetic surgery?

Part 2: Market Drivers: The Factors that Fuel the Demand for Aesthetic Treatments

market drivers demand for aesthetic treatments

The acceptance of cosmetic surgery as well as minimally to non-invasive aesthetic procedures is primarily attributed to the global increase in the elderly population, who are prone to wrinkles and other skin ageing-related issues.

The increasing awareness regarding aesthetic treatments as well as the availability of technological advances to perform them are also regarded as some of the top aesthetic market drivers.

It’s safe to say that there are several factors that push consumers to walk into aesthetic clinics and out with what they perceive as more desirable looks: fewer wrinkles, a high-bridge nose, and perfectly contoured face.

why we turn to aesthetic treatments

What Consumers are Most Bothered With

Facing less social stigma and encouraged by what is regarded as ‘lunchtime procedures’, they are much more willing to undergo aesthetic enhancements. But, which cosmetic flaws are they most bothered with anyway? Here’s what the 2019 ASDS Consumer Survey reveals.

Of the 3,645 surveyed, 84% ranked the excess weight on any part of the body as the most bothersome. It is followed by the excess fat under the chin/neck (73%), skin texture/discolouration (71%), and lines and wrinkles around the eyes (70%), respectively. Meanwhile, nearly 70% of them consider undergoing a cosmetic procedure to address any of these perceived cosmetic flaws.

External Influences that Drive the Aesthetic Market

• Media Influences

When Hollywood celebrities like Courtney Cox and Jennifer Aniston admitted to having Botox, it seemed like everybody has gotten more comfortable talking about it and undergoing aesthetic treatments themselves. The same is true when Kylie Jenner debuted her fuller lips and suddenly, everyone wanted lip fillers too.

The mass media has been changing the way we perceive beauty. It’s constantly showing us images of what is considered beautiful: straight hair, fair and flawless skin, and perfectly-sculpted bodies. While body positivity is already a part of the cultural lexicon, the media continues to make us believe that beauty is synonymous to perfection.

• Technological Advances

Of course, results were not always plausible. Celebrities have also had their fair share of cosmetic surgery faux pax in the past. Remember Tara Reid’s breast implants and a body contouring procedure that went bad? These are merely some of the worst celebrity cosmetic surgery mishaps that created an atmosphere of doubt around cosmetic enhancements.

But, as technology advances, cosmetic surgery also becomes safer and more reliable, delivering higher satisfaction rates. Non-surgical or minimally-invasive treatments are also evolving in this area—who would have thought that lasers and injections could deliver results that only invasive surgery could achieve in the past?

• Word-of-Mouth Recommendations

Truth be told, the younger generation is more open about cosmetic surgery than the older ones, who still see it as taboo. As this generation goes under the knife, the word-of-mouth recommendations become widespread and rather drastically. We can only hope that as the generation gap closes, aesthetic treatments will soon be talked about without any stigma attached.

Beyond all these outside forces, everyone could agree that the primary motivations behind aesthetic treatments remain the same. It’s a way to present your best self to the world and correct what you perceive as flaws. This is consistent across both surgical and non-surgical procedures and isn’t likely to change in the next few years.

What will follow are some other cited personal reasons why people turn to aesthetic treatments in the first place.

Why We Turn to Aesthetic Treatments

To appear more attractive: Botox, dermal fillers, breast augmentation; the list goes on and so does the number of individuals electing to undergo these procedures to achieve desirable results: plump skin, toned figure, and larger breasts to name a few.

To feel more confident: There are several studies supporting the idea that improving looks can positively boost a person’s self-esteem. It goes to show that there’s nothing wrong in wanting to look good and what’s better is that with non-invasive treatments, you don’t always have to go under the knife.

To correct body deformities: More than cosmetic reasons, there are cases when patients seek plastic surgery to improve their health or correct certain body deformities resulting from an accident or illness. For instance, breast reduction surgery may be done to improve the body contour but also to relieve neck and back pain caused by disproportionately large breasts.

Part 3: The Future of Singapore’s Aesthetic Industry

future of singapore aesthetic industry
The US remains the world’s leading destination for aesthetic treatments, performing almost 1.5 million surgical procedures and nearly 2.9 million non-surgical procedures in 2019. It is followed by Brazil, India, Mexico, and Italy, respectively. (ISAPS Global 2018)
Aside from India, Asia Pacific countries like China and Thailand are now also equipped with advanced facilities to perform aesthetic treatments. While Singapore has yet to become at par in terms of popularity with these countries, the city is rapidly emerging as a profitable market and a global destination for aesthetic procedures as it experiences drastic expansions in terms of innovation in the industry.

Singapore as an Emerging Global Destination for Aesthetic Treatments

In the next few years, we can only expect the city to continue to advance, introduce new technology, adapt to latest procedures, and deliver more satisfactory results. As the market becomes more competitive, players in the industry should incorporate strategic initiatives such as expansion, product/technology launch, and collaboration in order to gain a competitive advantage.

Your Role as an Aesthetic Consumer

before undergoing aesthetic treatments
In terms of aesthetic treatments, prospective patients are now doing more research than ever—and for good reasons. Findings and data surrounding the aesthetic industry continue to evolve, new technologies are constantly introduced, and above all, more and more players are entering the market, confusing them—if not giving them with more options—on who to consult with.

• Research: By researching a procedure, you are informing yourself about its benefits, potential downsides, cost, and how it’s performed, to name a few. It helps you weigh in on several aspects of the treatment, particularly whether it’s right for you.

• Consult: Of course, no matter how much you think you need a certain procedure, nothing is guaranteed until you’ve consulted with a licensed aesthetic doctor in Singapore. A consultation should also determine how you should go on with the treatment.

• Commit to Healthy Diet & Exercise: Committing to a healthier lifestyle goes hand in hand with the success of aesthetic treatment. Whatever the procedure you decide to undergo, proper diet and exercise are essential to maintain results.

• Set Realistic Expectations: With non-surgical procedures, it takes time to achieve desirable body contouring results. Therefore, as you can’t expect to be lean after eating a bowl of salad, you can’t expect a toned body just after one treatment session.

In terms of boosting self-esteem, we have at least two options to go about it: surgical and non-surgical treatments. Whether it’s to look more attractive or improve your physical health, you can consider these aesthetic treatments as a dependable solution.

The benefits of aesthetic treatments outweigh their risks, particularly with the introduction of non-invasive options. The numbers don’t lie; aesthetic treatments are a part of the future, and it’s for the better. It lets you enjoy the advantages of living a healthier life physically, mentally, and aesthetically.

As a final note, keep in mind that undergoing any medical aesthetic treatment is not just about your appearance or convenience. It’s about putting your health and safety first. SW1 has a team of aesthetic doctors boasting years of medical training and experience required to help you achieve desirable results.

Visit our website or download the SW1 app today.

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