New in Aesthetic Medicine August 2020

Aesthetic Industry News: August 2020

With the U.S. still facing significant economic flux from COVID, now is a particularly interesting time in aesthetics. We’ve got several big power struggles happening within the manufacturing side of the industry as newbies try to take down the industry Goliath, Allergan (Abbvie). In aesthetic practices, we’ve seen a large surge in demand as practices reopened, but the limited supply of surgery availability has left many plastic surgeons still behind in earnings as compared to last year, whereas injections and nonsurgical offerings are experiencing a large boom. And finally, we’re seeing a return of TV programming dedicated to aesthetics, the like of which we haven’t seen since Botched launched a few years ago, and these fresh perspectives are likely to shape consumer mindset over the next 2-3 years, at minimum, in profound ways.

1. SkinDecision: Before & After Premiered on Netflix, with Dr. 90210 Returning on E! Next Month

Both shows feature an all-female, all Los-Angeles-Based cast of providers, and don’t think viewers won’t take notice.

In fact, nearly all critical reviews of SkinDecision made mention that the pro-female-empowerment and emotional side of the show contributed greatly to its success. And many of the female physicians and surgeons cast for Dr. 90210 make specific mention in their marketing of their “unique perspective as a female in the aesthetics industry.”

What does this mean for you and your practice?

  1. If you aren’t already telling the emotional stories behind the before & after photos, start now. Potential patients are signalling they want a transformation that’s more than skin deep – and they want a doctor who will cater to their emotional needs while on that journey.
  2. Start credentialing yourself around your bedside manner – and work to improve that aspect of your care if it’s not already a strength.
  3. Focus on the emotional motivations behind paying for procedures in your marketing. Example: It’s no longer about erasing acne scars, it’s about feeling confident in your skin, no matter the angle or lighting.

2. Qwo Has Become the First Injectable to Receive FDA-Approved for Cellulite Treatment

The question remains: will Qwo replace Sculptra or Radiesse for cellulite improvement injections?

From a clinical standpoint, we know Qwo doesn’t do the same thing as Sculptra or Radiesse does. But in the mindspace of the consumer, there’s only space for 1 cellulite injectable.

In my opinion, the answer lies in Qwo’s plans and abilities to generate brand name recognition among consumers using direct-to-consumer marketing campaigns. Because Merz and Aventis lack FDA-Approval to market their products as alternatives, the question becomes: Does Endo International, who makes Qwo, have the money to make it a household name?

Their Q1 2020 earnings suggest they’re doing quite well for themselves during COVID, and their Qwo website hints that they have invested in branding and styling for the product – both of which point to a larger brand awareness campaign in the near future (as does their strategic timing of the launch of this product). 

Look for Qwo to launch publicly in late 2020 or early 2021 – and I’d bet that launch comes with a media blitz and DTC campaigns on social media.

What does this mean for you and your practice?

  1. Look to build relationships with your local rep and try to get their earliest available training and launch date for your practice. Early adopters of new technology generally win local markets.
  2. Get your launch marketing campaign planned out – and get your webpage live ASAP. Early pages win in SEO. Bruce Katz in NYC already has a page 1 Google listing for Qwo. Do you?

3. A Cheaper Way to Prescribe = Better Patient Compliance

A Dermatologist in NYC has launched an online compounding pharmacy aimed at reducing the cost of common skincare prescriptions.

Here are 4 reasons you should consider switching to this pharmacy for your patients’ prescription compounding needs:

  1. Small pharmacies across the country are closing their doors – giving patients fewer choices (and often less convenient ones).
  2. Have you seen the lines at CVS?
  3. All consumers have dramatically shifted their feelings about and use of online services – now is a good time to make this transition, as your patients will be receptive and it may even paint your practice in a more favorable light in their mind (modern, convenient, and service-oriented).
  4. The reduced costs mean even those without insurance can afford their prescriptions, even for anti-aging regimens. Saving them money right now is definitely going to score you some points with your patient population.



4. Maybe the Answer Isn’t Injectables Every 4 Months…

A new Dysport study showed  nearly all patients (95%) reported being highly satisfied or satisfied with just 2 treatments a year with Dysport (for glabella-only) — in line with  Galderma ASPIRE patient loyalty analysis that shows the average return rate for treatments is 1.9 times per year.
What does this mean for you and your practice?
  1. Stop fighting with patients to come in more frequently – and consider instead putting the focus on treating fully at their appointments and cross-selling.
  2. Consider segmenting your patients into “average” and “super-injectable” based on frequency of visit and tailoring your messaging about how to treat aging in these 2 very different populations.

5. Asian Demand for Lasers & Technology Treatments on Rise as New Studies Support Safe Use

Picoway’s new study out of Korea positions their laser as an alternative to Q-Switched nanosecond lasers in removing sun spots, freckles, and melasma. As Asians in America follow the trends coming out of Korea and Japan, expect to see more laser and technology-based demand from this segment, as opposed to injectables consumed by their caucasian counterpoints at similar ages. This trend has already ramped up over the past year, with Thermage experiencing a large surge in demand among the Asian-American population.

6. Revance Enters the Data & Purchase-Optimization Game with Their Acquisition of HintMD

Revance Purchased HintMD, a software used by many aesthetic practices to run their membership subscriptions. What’s more interesting and still (somewhat) unknown here is to what extent Revance will be able to access purchase data and track individuals over time, which would allow them to model and optimize for patients to purchase more cosmetic procedures.

What does this mean for you and your practice?

  1. If you are a HintMD user, be sure to read closely any new terms of service & conditions agreements that come out over the next 6 months.
  2. Consider Revance’s strategic position in the market – especially now that they’ve signed on to create a biosimilar to Botox – and your practice’s relationship to them.

7. Allergan Replaces Brilliant Distinctions with a New Program Called Allē, Which Starts to Go Live Next Month

Next Month Allergan starts their launch of a new rewards program, Allē , to replace Brilliant Distinctions as their customer loyalty program.

A full list of procedures and points values can be found here. Interestingly, non-Allergan treatments count toward rewards points – including non-Allergan filler & neurotoxins, EmSculpt treatments, and Other skincare brands.

This would appear to be Allergan’s answer to Revance’s purchase of HintMD. The war of data is officially live in the land of aesthetics patients – and unfortunately, practices stand to lose out here.

If the makers of injectables can use big data to better predict who will buy and when then the providers of those treatments, that really puts providers at a further disadvantage within the marketplace. It’s data that manufacturers previously had no access to, and only top practices really ever managed to analyze effectively. This will change everything in this industry.

8. No Surprise Here: Lip Filler Makes the Partner Happier

Restylane ran a study to answer whether a patient’s partner would react positively to Kysse lip fillers – the answer is yes.

This is a good one to have your patient care coordinators familiarize themselves with.

9. BTL Continues to Fight CoolTone, This Time Copying Allergan’s  Successful Strategy Against Jeuveau

10. A Co-Working Startup to Allow You to Book Patient Care Rooms Just Launched

A new startup in Philly is trying out co-working spaces for medical practices. The new model allows doctors and patients to book private appointments in a space shared by physicians, as an answer to the ever-lower number of physicians who are in private practice, due to the high cost of facility space, especially in popular city centers.  

11. Looking for a New Job in Aesthetics? Or Trying to Find an Experienced Provider to Add to Your Team?

A new aesthetics-only job board just popped up and the quality of job listings (and community behind the organizer) makes it worth a look, whether you’re job-hunting or hiring.