Although dermatologists first used lasers for skin treatments in 1962, demand for these procedures has accelerated in the past decade. When compared to traditional chemical and surgical treatments, lasers present a number of advantages.Specifically, laser treatments are:
- less intensive, requiring fewer treatments
- less likely to cause scarring and discoloration
The aesthetic laser market grew 18% from 2016—2017. Globally, the compound annual growth rate is 10.8%. This growth is driven by two factors. First, diode lasers have largely replaced gas lasers. Diode lasers for aesthetic laser treatments are smaller and more energy efficient than gas lasers, and diode laser technology benefits from continual advancements in the semiconductor industry. Intense competition in the aesthetics industry drives demand for new clinical instruments that take full advantage of the latest diode laser capabilities. Learn more about lightweighting for medical devices in our white paper.
The second—and larger—driver of the aesthetic laser market is the exploding consumer demand for laser skin treatments—a demand that far outstrips the growth rate due to technological advances and falling costs of treatments. The reasons for growth include:
- Increased awareness and acceptance of laser treatments - Laser cosmetic treatments, such as hair removal and skin smoothing, have become common menu items at spas, alongside more traditional facial and body treatments. Furthermore, laser treatments are increasingly recognized as both more effective and economical.
- Higher disposable income - Rising disposable income coupled with falling costs mean that laser treatments are no longer luxury items, vastly expanding the market.
- Changing lifestyles - Increased leisure time and the manner in which that time is spent has created growing demand for sun-damage and liposuction treatments.
- Medical tourism - Decreasing airfare costs have meant that it is frequently less expensive to travel out of country for cosmetic treatments. In countries such as Taiwan and Korea, resort-like cosmetic treatment facilities have grown, specializing in specific areas of treatment.
It is interesting to note that the global market increase is distinctly regional. Very little of the accelerated growth is coming from the North American markets. Instead, the driving market force is Asia, where growth is 20%. As mentioned before, Taiwan and Korea have established themselves as premier destinations for medical tourism. The growing popularity of a Western diet has resulted in an increasing interest in fat-reduction treatments. The largest demand in Asia is for cosmetic treatments such as hair removal and skin smoothing, although tattoo removal is a fast-growing industry in China and Japan. In Europe, the Middle East, and portions of Africa, the laser aesthetics market has grown by 16%. All of these regions represent areas where the aesthetics industry has struggled to take hold. The introduction of laser treatments seems to be having a significant effect.
Medical laser device manufacturers face opportunity in these regions, but also cost pressures. Laser diodes offer several advantages to these manufacturers. Download our white paper, Global Trends in the Laser Aesthetics Market, to learn more.