New stats on Australians and cosmetic procedures

Woman having cosmetic enhancement

An increasingly number of Australians are having, or considering, non-surgical cosmetic treatments, according to the latest findings from the Cosmetic Physicians College of Australasia (CPCA) annual research survey.

More than 25% of respondents had undergone a procedure in the last month, and the most popular treatments are hair removal, microdermabrasion and anti-wrinkle treatments.

The latest annual survey of attitudes to non-surgical cosmetic procedures suggests that more Australians than ever are considering such treatments (35 per cent) and just over a quarter of respondents (26 per cent) having had a procedure in the last month – double the amount from last year.  

The survey, which has been monitoring changes to Australians’ attitudes to non-invasive cosmetic medicine for the past nine years, shows that concern about ageing is the biggest driver for getting treatments. More people now worry about looking ‘old’ (54 per cent) and over 80 per cent of those surveyed believe it is acceptable to use such treatments to address premature ageing, a 10 per cent increase over the last three years. 

The most popular non-surgical procedures remain laser/ IPL hair removal, microdermabrasion, anti-wrinkle treatments, chemical peels and non-surgical fat reduction. 

“Earlier this year we found that Australians’ spend on cosmetic treatments had topped $1 billion and their popularity continues to rise. Australia’s spend per capita is amongst the highest globally, and we are seeing a growing number of people incorporating cosmetic procedures into their everyday beauty and grooming routine. Reduced costs for patients and advancements in medical technology – meaning procedures are less invasive with minimal to no downtime – are helping drive uptake of these procedures,” CPCA spokesperson Dr Catherine Porter said.

However, the growth in popularity of these treatments is attracting unscrupulous operators who are preying on vulnerable members of the public. It has resulted in NSW government issuing a health warning that patients who opt to have treatments in unregulated, unlicensed premises are putting themselves at risk of blood-borne viruses and infection.   

“It is really important that people do their homework when considering non-surgical procedures. The risk to patients of infection, or worse, through visiting unaccredited practitioners is incredibly high. It is crucial that people fully understand the potential repercussions of procedures if they are not performed by a registered practitioner or are not carried out in a safe, medical setting,” Dr Porter said.

The majority of cosmetic medical procedures should only be carried out by a registered medical practitioner or a registered nurse under a doctor’s supervision. All injectables – muscle relaxants and dermal fillers – are Schedule 4 medications, which means they must be prescribed and administered by a qualified medical practitioner or administered by a nurse under a doctor’s supervision.  

“When you see a registered practitioner, you know you are receiving care from someone who is appropriately trained, appropriately insured, held to account to national standards and someone who sources their products from legitimate suppliers. Someone operating from home or other unsuitable venue has, more than likely, illegally imported medications via the internet, or other means. These products are not TGA-registered and people have no way of knowing whether they are fit-for-purpose or even safe.”