What’s happening in aesthetic medicine

Insights into aesthetic industry trends and practices have been revealed by over 300 practitioners in the UK and Ireland who took part in an annual survey from cosmetic insurance services provider Hamilton Fraser.

Aesthetic practitioners are displaying the cheery face of optimism for their businesses in the months ahead.

Findings of a survey revealed that despite the current economic climate, many have plans to expand their businesses and the majority feel ‘fairly optimistic’ (51.6%) or ‘optimistic’ (36.3%) about their business prospects in 2024. And eight in ten of them reckon they are on track to meet their objectives. 

Perhaps surprisingly, only 52% admitted to having a business plan, but 70% of them said it had changed from the previous year due to business growth, expansion, moving premises and increased economic benefits. 

The survey organisers comment that it is interesting to see that others said they had changed their business plans due to moving direction. A move towards wellness being was cited as one new avenue for business. 

Evolving landscape

Eddie Hooker, founder and chief executive of Hamilton Fraser, explains the annual survey sheds light on the evolving landscape of aesthetics and serves as a compass for his company to ensure its  services safeguard practitioners, their patients and the integrity of the care they provide. 

‘Highlights of this year’s survey for me included the growing demand for regenerative procedures and preventative treatments, and we are committed to tailoring insurance solutions that align with these emerging trends,’ he says. 

‘The insights into how practitioners are operating their businesses, their motivations and the industry dynamics at play also provide us with valuable insights to enhance our support for the aesthetic community, especially when it comes to our event, the Aesthetics Business Conference (ABC) – www.aestheticsbusinessconference.co.uk

‘We have a long history of working closely with the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) and so I was pleased to see that the survey results reflected a commitment to patient safety, with 80.7% reporting no post-treatment infections and practitioners turning away unsuitable patients based on criteria like body dysmorphia and unrealistic expectations.’

He was also pleased to see that 91.5% of practitioners actively monitored for mental health issues – ‘emphasising our collective responsibility for holistic care’.

A large proportion of practitioners wait some years after qualifying before choosing to work in the sector. Many told the survey they still worked for the NHS (50.7%) or in other jobs and did aesthetics part-time, with 69.6% saying aesthetics was not their main source of income.

Flexible working hours 

So why do they do it? Interest in non-surgical cosmetic treatments was cited as the main reason for moving into aesthetics, with 59.8% giving this as the top answer. 

A new challenge and flexible working hours were the next biggest motivators, with 53.9% and 53.3% saying this was what drew them to the field. 

Job satisfaction also came in high, with more than half (50.3%) stating this as their reason. Financial reasons were listed by 32%. 

When asked if their motivations for joining the industry had been met, a third said ‘completely’ and just over half answered ‘mostly’. 

Reasons given for motivations having been met included: 

  • Entrepreneurial opportunities;
  • Giving people back their confidence;
  • Helping people feel better about themselves;
  • New treatments coming onto the market; 
  • Patient satisfaction;
  • Greater flexibility; 
  • Growing market demand;
  • Diverse employment opportunities;
  • Continuous learning and development; 
  • Less stressful than their NHS job. 

But some reasons the sector failed to meet expectations included: 

  • Not making enough money to justify leaving the NHS; 
  • Too much competition by unqualified people;
  • Being more difficult to get clients than expected;
  • The stress of keeping up with social media. 

Treatment trends 

It came as no surprise for Hamilton Fraser to find injectables came out top of the list of procedures. Eighty per cent of respondents naming botulinum toxin as a treatment they offered and 76.1% said they performed dermal fillers. 

Skincare ranked next, with 57% saying they offered it and 47% saying they performed chemical peels. 

Microneedling was offered by 36.3%, with mesotherapy being named as a treatment by 34.3%. 

Seventeen per cent said they offered light-based device technology such as IPL, LED and laser, while 15% cited radiofrequency as being on their treatment menu. But as many as 61% said they didn’t use any technology at all in their clinic. 

Weight loss injections were offered by 13.4% and body contouring procedures – including cryotherapy – by 15.6%. 

Top choice of what is most commonly requested by patients was treatments to counter the signs of ageing. 

There was also a high demand for skincare solutions, followed by preventative ageing treatments. Treatments for menopause symptoms were an area where there was currently a lower demand but growing popularity. 

The survey sponsors report: ‘In terms of trends, the greatest interest was in aesthetic regenerative procedures, with 64.1% stating this was an area they were interested in. ‘Prejuvenation’ – treating younger patients with preventative treatments – was also popular, with 58.2% of those who responded citing it as a top trend. 

‘Practitioners were also excited about new applications for RF microneedling (43.1%) and  weight loss injections (34.6%).’ 

Read the full results of the survey at www.hamiltonfraser.co.uk/content-hub/annual-survey.