Everyone wants to do whatever they can to look younger. Even for those who have spent years taking care of their skin by staying out of the sun and avoiding other common skin hazards, the one thing they can't protect against is age.
Time can visibly affect skin and complexion in a variety of ways, some more inevitable than others. Fortunately, treatment and care of skin has benefited from incredible scientific advances in recent years, and there are more options for adults looking to breathe new life into their sparkling visages than ever before.
A booming industry
Doctors have provided cosmetic procedures to patients for decades, but there's no question that in recent years especially, it's become a significant growth industry. According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, 2013 saw a 20 percent increase from 2012 in cosmetic procedures carried out – roughly 9.5 million, in fact. Of note is the fact that while many of these procedures were considered by the ASDS as "medically necessary," this past year also saw a jump in the number of strictly cosmetic treatments performed.
The area that saw the largest increase last year was the category of laser-based skin treatment. The ASDS reported that 2.5 million of these procedures were performed in 2013 – representing a 34 percent increase since 2012. While laser tattoo removal is a subset of the market experiencing undeniable growth – the procedure saw a 52 percent jump in frequency last year – there is still a booming market for less esoteric cosmetic applications. The most common was laser resurfacing of skin, which rose an encouraging 85 percent between 2012 and 2013.
Older adults driving the market
Not surprisingly, one population that generates a significant demand for cosmetic services is senior adults. The effects of aging in general and menopause in particular – the latter affecting only women of course – have started driving older adults to seek out cosmetic treatment for age-related skin conditions. A 2013 report reported on by the National Institutes of Health highlighted in particular the effects that menopause can have on older women's skin. While their findings in this area are not particularly new – hormone changes caused by aging result in skin losing its elasticity, producing wrinkles and thinner, looser skin – the primary point being made by the study is that women are addressing these cosmetic concerns far more than previous generations had.
Particularly popular among adults aged 50 and older are noninvasive procedures that don't require surgery. These methods can very widely, from the chemical peels you may be familiar with to more modern treatments relying on brand new picosecond laser technology.
New technology providing appealing treatment options
The senior market has been given a jumpstart thanks in large part to new technology allowing for more effective, milder and less invasive treatments. Industry mainstays such as facelifts can be undesirable due to their surgical nature. Even chemical peels – procedures that can be carried out in a beautician's salon instead of a doctor's office – involve a harsh chemical process that can be damaging to the skin and leave recipients with lengthy recovery periods.
These go-to cosmetic procedures are giving way to newer methods that do away with some of the harsh effects without compromising effectiveness. In fact, the new picosecond laser is a particularly attractive option for a number of reasons. Not only can laser procedures be used to treat an array of skin conditions – from wrinkle reduction to acne scar removal to depigmentation – but they don't rely on damaging skin with heat to do so. Picosecond bursts actually stimulate the skin, encouraging it to produce collagen, addressing skin concerns at the source without harmful effects or downtime.
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