Aesthetic medicine has evolved extensively throughout history. People have always been keen to improve their attractiveness and to enhance their beauty, but up until only a few decades ago, the process of having an aesthetic procedure done was limited to plastic surgeons and specialists.
“Aesthetic Medicine” used to be a term that was basically unheard of, and to those who were privy to the ideas around the practice were usually few and far between. It began in Europe with a basic ideology around beauty and a few simple skin care techniques and treatments. Today it has advanced extensively, with aesthetic medicine clinic locations in most cities, each offering different types of treatments, such as laser technology, fillers, injectable, spa treatments and even minimally invasive cosmetic surgeries and dentistry.
The Patient as a Consumer
Aesthetic medicine has a fairly short history when compared to conventional medicine, especially when we look at the new values of the aesthetic patient. The difference between the aesthetic medicine patient and the conventional medicine patient is that the aesthetic patient is actually more of a consumer.
Aesthetic patients, or “consumers” are relatively healthy and are seeking out treatments to improve the way they physically look and to combat the signs of aging. Conventional patients visit a doctor based on the need to improve their overall health.
Aesthetic medicine has a direct relationship with today’s consumer’s need for social acceptance and psychological well-being. Basically, social norms today attach a lot of merit on mental health and how to achieve a stress-free lifestyle.
Aesthetic medicine can actually help people achieve this kind of lifestyle by fixing a physical ailment, such as excess facial hair on a woman, which is impacting her confidence and affecting her life in a negative manner. By employing an aesthetic doctor to remove this hair, you may be drastically improving the patient’s happiness and quality of life.
Let’s compare today’s aesthetic patient, or “consumer”, to the aesthetic patients from a few decades ago. The previous patient was often attending the Botox treatment or procedure incognito, so to give the idea that their beauty is “au natural”, or not needing any help or work whatsoever. Basically, it was not prudent to admit that you were having treatments, and it was a bonus to contribute to the illusion that your beauty was automatic and effortless at all times of the day.
The Modern Aesthetic Patient
Today’s patient is totally different, if not more confident and informed. They are educated about their treatment options, willing to share details, and even may host a “treatment party” as a social event to have treatments such as Botox® or fillers performed (though this is not recommended).
This demand for aesthetic procedures to improve one’s appearance are not just the result of a more confident and informed consumer. Strong influences from print, television and social media have created a culture of beauty that people want to achieve.
It is now more socially acceptable today than it was even 10 years ago to admit to having a bit of Botox® or an injectable, especially with today’s high rating and desire for attractive appearances. Whatever the reason, whether it be status, self-esteem or perhaps trying to obtain a new job, there are many customers out there that are willing and able to have these aesthetic treatments, and at any cost.
A New Level of Availability
As mentioned, these factors may all be thanks to a new culture of beauty and the acceptance of the desire to get the treatments, but none as influential as the availability of these treatments. It is extremely easy and non-invasive for today’s consumer to have access to these procedures. Don’t forget that not even 10 years ago saw aesthetic procedures being performed exclusively by dermatologist and plastic surgeons, which limited the availability and the financial freedom to do so.
In today’s market, aesthetic procedures are minimally invasive and are much more available: nurse practitioners, specialists and even estheticians are able to perform many of the procedures in more conventional and attainable settings. This is made possible thanks to new technology that has made procedures more simple, easier to use, and more accessible to the doctor and patient. Even further, many of these procedures that once might have required a hospital operating room are now non-invasive and office-based procedures.
Finally, we have the cost factor. Aesthetic treatments, while deemed medical, are not a necessity, so therefore they cost patients money that is not usually covered by insurance. This has led to many doctors electing to open up independently run practices where they can invite these “patient consumers”.
Often, these consumers are willing and able to pay the price that is associated with the treatments, and as many treatments, such as hair removal and Botox®, require subsequent visits, the practitioner is almost 100% guaranteed a returning customer.
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