Dr Prem Medical Tourism Logo

Guide to Aesthetic Medicine Tourism by Dr Prem – Definition, Features, Treatments, Research, Trends, Opportunities and Destinations

Guide to Aesthetic Medicine Tourism by Dr Prem

Great appearance conquers the world. Settling for nothing less than perfect is the basic objective of aesthetic tourism which is a recent hit after medical tourism. Aesthetic tourism is quite different from medical tourism. While the latter aims at correcting physical and mental disorders through surgery and other medical procedures, the former is about enhancing individual appearance as per the consumers’ aesthetic desires.

There are clinics around the world that feed customers’ strong desire to have Greek god looks.The global medical aesthetic market valued at 60-90 Bn USD in 2021 is expected to touch 140-180 Bn USD in 2022-30

The terms Aesthetic tourism, cosmetic surgery tourism, and Aesthetic medicine tourism are often used synonymously. In this guide, we will discuss various aspects of aesthetic medicine tourism, its opportunities and challenges, and its impact on medical and wellness tourism.

You will read about the following:

Guide to Aesthetic Medicine Tourism by Dr Prem – Definition, Features, Treatments, Research, Trends, Opportunities and Destinations

What is Aesthetic Medicine?

 Patient with marks on skin lying on medical bed while doctor preparing scissors, forceps and scalpels

According to the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine, aesthetic medicine includes non-invasive or minimally invasive medical procedures aimed at improving the patient’s physical appearance to their satisfaction.

Aesthetic medicine is a booming sector. People not only want to be in good health but also look good to enjoy life to the fullest. But they want it through non-invasive procedures that have good outcomes at low risk and minimum downtime. They do not want to go under the surgeon’s scalpel but get their job done with a few needle pricks.

What is Aesthetic Medicine Tourism? Definition

Professional cosmetologist using laser equipment for skin care treatment on face of female client in modern beauty clinic

Aesthetic Medicine tourism is an emerging niche where people avail of medical services in a relaxing and rejuvenating setting at a targeted destination or facility not only to prevent and delay aging and other disorders but also to look great and feel better. People can travel beyond the border or to different regions of their home countries to get these services.

This newest segment can easily be included in wellness tourism, spa tourism, and medical tourism. Aesthetic medicine tourism is considered as the combination of aesthetic medicine services and other wellness and tourism services like travel, wellness treatments, spa treatments, sightseeing, and other recreational activities.

People traveling to other countries for aesthetic and cosmetic treatments is the most common phenomenon in medical tourism. With the proliferation of aesthetic clinics and advanced aesthetic medical procedures, this niche segment is set to post robust growth in the near future.

Are Aesthetic Medicine Tourism and Cosmetic Surgery Tourism the same?

Surgeon with woman patient in operating room before breast augmentation for girl. Doctor wraps around the patient chest after breast augmentation.

The terms aesthetic medicine tourism and cosmetic surgery tourism are often used synonymously. But according to the established definition of aesthetic medicine, there is a difference between the two terms. Cosmetic surgery tourism covers a broader segment that includes non-invasive, minimally invasive, and highly-invasive cosmetic treatments like plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery procedures. Whereas, aesthetic medicine deals with non-invasive and minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures.

Due to its minimally-invasive nature, the outcomes of many aesthetic procedures may not be as long-lasting as in invasive cosmetic treatments. Butgiven the low-risk and almost painless nature of aesthetic medicine procedures, its demand is picking up fast, especially among young and middle-aged consumers.

Is Aesthetic medicine suitable for all?

Doctor injecting botox on man face for anti aging treatment at the clinic.

Aesthetic medicine procedures are mostly targeted at skin enhancement likethe removal of aging signs and other unwanted scars and spots. These work best in mild or moderate skin conditions. Those with extremely sagging skin and too many aging spots as in the elderly may not get the same benefits as the young and middle-aged population. They may have to opt for invasive cosmetic surgery for enhanced effects.

This is the reason we are seeing the middle-aged working population with highly disposable earnings flocking to medical spas and top wellness resorts in the world to enjoy a full-fledged rejuvenating wellness vacation. They are taking expert consultations in selecting the most suitable aesthetic treatment as per their health condition.

What are the emerging trends and treatments in Aesthetic Medicine?

beautician doctor makes injections in the head of a woman for hair growth or to prevent baldness. Hair mesotherapy or hair transplant

The term aesthetic treatment encompasses different beauty aspects ranging from enhancing skin quality, scalp, and hair treatment, to enhancing dental featuresand reshaping the nose, lips, buttocks, and breasts (in the case of females).

It may also involve the removal of imperfections in the skin, removal of signs and symptoms of senile decay, elimination of scars caused by accidents, and other blemishes that might make you look unpleasant.

Aesthetic surgery procedures are however complicated involving a lot of innovative thoughts and research work that have ultimately bloomed into a multi-billion industry. It demands thorough knowledge and expertise on the part of aesthetic practitioners.

Choosing to look the way you like is not wishful thinking at all with today’s dramatic development in aesthetic treatments. Enhanced wellness awareness and better lifestyle management to live a quality life has led to the growth of aesthetic medicine tourism, often considered an offshoot of health tourism.

The recent trend in aesthetic medicine treatments include:

  • Neurotoxin injections
  • Chemical peels
  • Cosmetic dermatology procedures
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Cellulite treatment
  • Body contouring procedures
  • Nutrition
  • Hair transplant
  • Hair reduction
  • Fat Grafting
  • Laser and IPL
  • Scar Management
  • Venous Treatment
  • Cosmetic Gynecology
  • Non-surgical nasal rejuvenation
  • Mini-facial lift with PDO Thread
  • Laser Skin tightening – Thermage FLX, Ultherapy
  • Mechanical massage, for example endermology, vacuum, radio waves, contact, fractional,
  • Microneedle radiofrequency, Endoscopic brow lift
  • Fillers (hyaluronic acid, polylactic acid)
  • Cryolipolysis and cavitation lipolysis (removing fat),
  • biostimulation treatments: platelet-rich plasma, bio stimulating lasers, restylane, fillers
  • Mommy makeover
  • The pocket lift a fresh take on mastopexy (breast lift)
  • Double reverse mini tuck
  • Radiofrequency skin tightening
  • Calf and ankle liposculpting
  • IV Vitamin Therapy
  • Permanent Makeup

How the Global Aesthetic medicine industry is flourishing?

Ultrasound liposuction procedure for a male client

According to the Aesthetic Society Statistics, people spent more than $9.3 billion in 2020 on aesthetic medical procedures. Of these, $3 billion was spent on non-invasive procedures and over $6 billion on invasive procedures. According to ISAPS, the US, Brazil, Japan, Italy, and Mexico account for 41.4% of global cosmetic procedures followed by Russia, India, Turkey, Germany, and France.

In the US, people spend substantially for improving looks that have created a huge market in aesthetic medicine with other developed and developing nations following suit.

In the year 2015 alone, the combined surgical and non-surgical procedures consumed as high as 13.5 billion USD. There was a 1.5 billion USD hike in expenses on surgical and non-surgical procedures from 2014 onwards until 2015.

Surgical procedures took up a slightly larger share running into 58% of the overall expenditure while non-surgical procedures in 2015 hit at 42%.Liposuction was the most favored choice with an astounding number of procedures done touching the number 396048!

This was featured as a top-ranking cosmetic procedure in terms of popularity. Reports on the number of fat grafting in breasts, buttocks, and face were published for the first time ever in 2015.

Data on aesthetic treatments reveal interesting features:

Non injection mesotherapy

  • From 2011 onwards there has been a steady increase in the domain of cosmetic procedures by 39% till 2015.
  • Surgical procedures accounted for a 17% hike while non-surgical ones showed a 44% hike.

The procedures with the most noticeable hike between 2014 and 2015 were:

  • non-surgical skin tightening (an increase of 58%)
  • Tattoo elimination (an increase of 34%)
  • Microdermabrasion (an increase of 34%)
  • Buttock lift (an increase of 32%)
  • Male breast reduction for the treatment of Gynaecomastia (an increase of 26%).

Five cosmetic procedures that ruled in 2015 were:

Top view of a young woman receiving microstimulation

  • Liposuction (396048 procedures)
  • Breast augmentation (305856 procedures)
  • Tummy tuck (180717 procedures)
  • Eyelids surgery (169708 procedures)
  • Breast lift (148967 procedures)

The top five non-invasive aesthetic medicine procedures that ruled in 2015 were:

  • Botulinum toxin (4267038)
  • Hyaluronic Acid (2148326)
  • Hair removal ( 1136834)
  • Chemical peel ( 603305)
  • Microdermabrasion (557690)

Which are the top minimally-invasive aesthetic medicine procedures done globally?

Tummy tuck treatment

According to Statista, the list shows how the trend for non-invasive or minimally-invasive aesthetic medicine is growing fast.

  • Botulinum Toxin – 6.2 million (Greece, for example, has become a top destination for Botox. In fact, according to ISAPS, Greece ranks second in the world for Botox injection procedures per capit)
  • Hyaluronic Acid- 4.0 million
  • Hair removal – 1.8 million
  • Non-surgical fat reduction-  5.6 lakhs
  • Photorejuvenation – 5.17 lakhs
  • Chemical Peel – 4.09 lakhs
  • Micro-ablative resurfacing – 2.40 lakh
  • Full-field ablative- 2.25 lakhs
  • Calcium Hydroxylapatite – 2.22 lakhs
  • Poly L lactic Acid-  1.21 lakhs

Survey report by ASPS:

Laughing woman chooses breast implants from doctor

ASPS, working with an independent research firm, have successfully consolidated a 19-year-old data on surgical procedures performed from 1997 to 2015. This is indeed a groundbreaking achievement in archiving facts and figures. Here we go with some of the genuine revelations coming from the ocean of database compiled by ASPS:

  • Breast lifts have displaced Rhinoplasty as the 5thmost popular procedure among the global consumers.
  • Fat transfer in face had seen an instant climb amidst top ten surgical procedures occupying the 9th
  • Non-surgical skin tightening moved up from the 9thposition to the 7thposition with the numbers going in descending order as the popularity rank improved. It has also earned the 5thposition of being one of the most popular procedures among the gents.
  • The two most popular injections like Botulinum toxin and hyaluronic acid experienced sustained growth with the former surpassing 4 million procedures and the latter 2 million procedures.
    * Labiaplasty, which till date is seen as a novel procedure experienced another 16% hike in 2015 just like buttock augmentation with a 21 % enhancement of implants and fat transfer.

The factors responsible for an expansion in surgical and non-surgical procedures are technical progress in energy-operated gadgets along with a sharp rise in global demand for these treatments. However, in the future, regulations might pop up as a possible hindrance to this growth rate.

How dermal fillers are contributing to the aesthetic medicine market?

dermal fillers

Facial expression says it all and that gives an everlasting impression. The 21st-century global village is spinning around the desire to look young forever that has led to great breakthroughs in anti-aging treatments. Beauty treatments have been redefined beyond the application of skin-tightening creams and lotions and the new era of non-invasive treatments has emerged.

Among all youth rejuvenating treatments, facial rejuvenation with dermal fillers and Botox are being widely adopted nowadays across the length and breadth of the globe. The most impressive fact is that these anti-aging treatments have trickled down to the successive layers of the socio-economic pyramid beyond the domain of celebs, glam dolls, and the moneyed class.

Dermal fillers are special gels that are injected into the face to tighten the skin removing the wrinkles and aging lines significantly. Today’s beauty-conscious global population is bent on adopting non-invasive long-lastingage-reversal treatments.

That means treatments involving less time, less pain, and a quick recovery period are coming up faster.  Most importantly, you get your desired facial appearance at a much lower cost. If compared to complex plastic surgery treatments, dermal fillers act as a sort of quick-fix treatment.

Talking of non-invasive skin rejuvenating treatments, Botox and Dermal Fillers have turned into household names. Both the treatments involve facial injections either to relax the facial muscles or to pump up the facial contour.

The drivers of anti-aging treatment market:

Microcurrent lift face

As per research reports generated by reputed market surveyors, global facial aesthetics market is set to grow at a CAGR of 10% by 2020.  In the domain of facial aesthetics, Botox and Dermal Fillers occupy the major market share compared to chemical peels and micro-dermabrasion treatments.

It is the image consciousness that has gripped the world to such an extent that more and more people are opting for cutting-edge anti-aging treatments to extend their youthful looks. An interesting thing to note, women within the age group of 25-65 years are mostly contributing to the growth of this market.

In the developing economies, an increasing number of women professionals are joining the workforce every year. This has led to higher disposable incomes which are contributing heavily to the fast growth of the global anti-aging treatment market.

Not only women, but the growing ageing population especially from the baby-boomer generation, is also a great contributor in the dermal filler market.

Premature skin aging is another cosmetic issue that is impacting the global population psychologically. Blame it on the rising pollution, ozone layer depletion, stress, insomnia, and unhealthy lifestyle. These factors had a cumulative effect on the rise of a huge global anti-aging cosmetic market.

Dermal Fillers – Their advantages

woman with closed eyes and clean skin

Dermal fillers are nothing but Hyaluronic acid gels that help in keeping our facial skin hydrated adding proper support and contour to the facial structure. These gels are present in our body since our birth but gradually the levels get depleted as we age. These fillers do another great job. They help in regenerating collagen, the key ingredient to maintain the skin elasticity preventing it from untimely sagging.

The treatment has the following additional advantages:

  • One session takes roughly 40-50 minutes
  • No risk of facial muscle paralysis
  • Minimum pain and zero side effects
  • Long lasting effects. Absorbable dermal fillers normally can last for 6-12 months whereas the non-absorbable ones can last for 4-6 years!

The only limiting factor for the growth of dermal filler market is its high cost which is neither reimbursable nor covered under the health insurance policies.  Considering the immense benefits, its high treatment cost will not be a big deterrent to restrict its growth in the global facial aesthetic market.

What is the essence of Aesthetic Medicine tourism and its scope of services?

cost of cosmetic treatment

Today, the preference for beyond the border treatment is rising globally where we are seeing a tremendous growth in wellness and aesthetic tourism.The average spending power of global population has shot up drastically. People mostly from developed and developing nations are gladly combining their vacations along with cosmetic treatments in selected exotic locations.

The cost of cosmetic treatments in developed nations are pocket pinching.These treatments can be availed comfortably in other countries at about one-third cost while enjoying a splendid vacation.

Asia Pacific and Middle East countries hold a very high-potential in the future dermal filler market. Tourists from affluent countries are selecting these countries for anti-aging treatments while on a holiday trip.

This great motivation towards achieving overall wellness along with enhanced appearance calls for the need to travel and explore to access the best and most affordable aesthetic treatments, and people are willing to avail that even if it requires crossing the home soil border.

The scope of aesthetic medicine grew due to:

  • Creation of the French Society of Aesthetic Medicine (1973)
  • Establishment of the Union International de Medicine Esthetique (UIME) in Paris (1975)
  • Globalization of healthcare services with the signing of multilateral agreements between leading players of this domain.
  • World Health Organization redefining health as the complete well-being of the physical and mental state that ensures a psychologically, economically and socially productive life.
  • Gradual evolution of Aesthetic Medicine of Polish Medical Association with the launching of Academy of Aesthetics and Anti-aging medicine and related certification programs in 2007-2008. Finally, in 2010, it transformed into Polish Society of Aesthetic Medicine and Anti-aging.
  • Aesthetic medicine also covers spa treatments which is a fast-growing sector in wellness tourism across the globe.

How Aesthetic Medicine tourism is creating newer opportunities in Medical and Wellness Tourism?

aesthetic treatment practitioner

Most developed countries do not offer insurance coverage for aesthetic treatments and the treatment cost is unaffordable for many. Therefore, image-conscious folks found beyond-the-border options more feasible. Their desire was further fueled by the

  • Credibility of the aesthetic treatment practitioners or cosmetologists and proven track record of the clinics.
  • International standard clinical support and service highly satisfying for the customer.
  • Attractiveness of the destination providing enough recreational activities ensuring the complete psychological and physical well-being of the customer.
  • Hassle-free logistic management enabling smooth service through a well-coordinated infrastructure support.

Needles replacing scalpel

But things started changing fast over the last few years, especially after the pandemic. Invasive aesthetic surgery or plastic surgery carries inherent risks. The procedures are costlier, and takes a longer time to recover. Recent advancements in aesthetic medicine opened new vistas to image enhancement where procedures became more comfortable and outcomes highly satisfactory.

Why go under the surgeon’s scalpel if the job can be done with a few needle pricks?Some aesthetic medicine procedures can be done in just a few hours! Advanced aesthetic medicine is not only giving customers the desired look but also ensuring them get back to their normal life almost instantly!

Huge pent-updemand

There was a modest dip in the demand for aesthetic medicine due to the pandemic-induced lockdowns and travel restrictions. As the world lifted restrictions, theindustry is seeing a massive pent-up demandfor both invasive and non-invasive aesthetic treatments which is likely to remain for the next few years.

The changing attitude towards wellness and beauty

People are now valuing natural and healthy appearance. As the aging population proliferates, the need to treat aging signs with minimum cost and discomfort is growing. People want to look like 40s in their 60s. Instead of going for a drastic surgical procedure, they are looking for subtle changes and rectification through aesthetic medicine.

Beauty is no longer only a feminine concern

Medical aesthetics have seen wider acceptance, creating new customer segments like men and millennials. Minimally invasive procedures in males increased by 29% from 2000 to 2020 as per ASPS report. 

Social Media influence

Social Media

Making socially presentable on social media platforms has been a big driver for millennials to spend on aesthetic treatments.They spend 6 hours a day on average on social media which has become an integral lifestyle component. But the growing trend is to look naturally beautiful on Facebook or Insta without adding any filters.

Growing need for Prejuvenation

Aesthetic medicine trends are aimed both at prevention and rejuvenation. Minimally invasive procedures not only help in image rectification and enhancement but also delay aging. These treatments work better on younger skin. People leading a fast-paced life are more inclined towards preventive rejuvenation which can be achieved with aesthetic medicine tourism. 

A great way to self-care

One of the most troddenpaths to self-care is to invest in enhancing self-looks. Taking aesthetic treatments as a part of wellness tourism is growing among consumers as they are finding it more enjoyable and convenient to improve their well-being.

The Zoom Boom Trigger

Zoom cams revealed more defects than it was expectedcreating videoconference anxiety in many. Staring at their own faces, people couldn’t help but take notice of scars, wrinkles, fine lines, uneven skin tones, moles, and other small defects. This made them worry about their image more which was negligible or zero before these zoom meetings.

As many as 55% of survey respondents to Facial Plastic Surgery and Aesthetic Medicine journal reported increased anxiety about their facial appearance.40.6% of participants who had not taken any cosmetic surgery plan to rectify their facial defects.

The aesthetic injectable market has exploded

Aesthetic injectables have grown by over 10% annually. It is poised to grow by 12% in the next 5 years driven by customers’ increased purchasing power and global market penetration.6.2 million Botulinum Toxin procedures were recorded in 2020 making it the most demanded aesthetic injectable procedure.

Spenders in aesthetic medicine are growing

aesthetic treatment

People with an average annual income of more than $100,000 are the top buyers of aesthetic medicine. But 30-50-year-olds with annual incomes between $50,000-$100,000 form a substantial segment. Experts foresee a brighter future as the worldwide millionaire numbers have risen to 56.1 million while ultra- HNW individuals grew by 24% in the recent past.

Poorly groomed women stand to earn less!

This is quite a shocking fact that appearance can outshine skills when it comes to hiring and earning. Women not neatly groomed may earn 40% less than their beautified peers and attractive faces are 20% more likely to be called for the second round of interviews. The result as revealed in a study, women are more likely to pile up credit card bills for their beauty spending!

In a recent survey of 900 salons by a salon booking platform, women are spending more than 1000 GBP per month on grooming and aesthetic treatments like injectables and facial treatments.

Heal at ease

Research showed consumers of aesthetic medicine tourismor cosmetic tourism are not always wealthy. They are taking it because it is available at a low cost in the target destination. And with very little or zero downtime who will not like to make the best of the opportunity of vacationing and self-beautification in one go?

Wellness resort businesses worldwide are introducing the most advanced aesthetic medicine procedures to lure this emerging segment. Beautification in wellness resort spas creates a more delightful experience when seamlessly added to curated wellness programs.

Guests enjoy the journey of holistic well-being in such a setting where every dime spent is worth it!Let us not forget thatnon-invasive procedures accounted for 53.7% of the aesthetic medicine market with $37.9 Bn in revenue in 2022.

Enhanced scope of medical wellness integration

Emerging aesthetic medicine tourism has created tremendous opportunities in medical wellness integration. Aesthetic medicine procedures have a significant impact on the patient’s psychological well-being.

Patients on medical tourismwould be willing to undergo specific image enhancement procedures during the recuperative phase in a great relaxing setting. Integrated medical wellness resortsare offering a very personalized delightful experience with Vitamin IV therapy, laser therapies, cryolipolysis, and other targeted aesthetic treatments.

The feel-good factor imparted by aesthetic treatments boostsa patient’s confidence and self-esteem which also quickens recovery. They would be happy to fly back home looking good and feeling much better than before.

Who are the consumers of aesthetic medicine tourism?

Two plastic surgeons preparing special bandages for female nose after surgery

Given the nature of aesthetic medicine treatments, the global customer market is vast. The typical customers worldwide spending on these services are young to middle-aged with high earnings.

  • According to the American Society of Plastic Surgery, people below 34 years are taking more cosmetic surgery procedures than 51-64-year-olds making 1 out of 4 patients in 2018.
  • Even though the majority of aesthetic medicine consumers are women, the percentage of men is growing significantly, especially among the affluent class in the US and Europe. Male consumers in the neuromodulator segment jumped by 15% in 2021.
  • Pandemic-induced restrictions helped people save a lot. People could neither travel nor visit spas and salons for beauty treatments. According to a Washington Post survey, Americans saved nearly $2.5 Trillion more than the normal savings during the pandemic.
  • The growth of MICE tourism and Corporate Wellness Retreats is likely to trigger the demand for aesthetic medicine treatments. Executives and professionals with higher spending capacity will be keen to look sharper and youthful to create the best impression.
  • In the next 5 years, China is poised to be the global leader in the luxury aesthetic medicine segment due to the growing interest of 40-50-year-old Chinese consumers in this domain.

What are the safety aspects in Aesthetic Medical Tourism?

Female patient unpleasantly surprised by results of cosmetic procedures

It is all about the getting the right thing done at the right place and by the right person (s). Aesthetic surgery and aesthetic medicine are two categories that come under aesthetic tourism. Both types require a careful analysis of the safety aspect especially with aesthetic surgery, which is invasive in nature demanding longer recovery time.

Aesthetic medicine being more on the safer side requires zero or very little recovery time. This safety aspect can be properly guided by an authorized body, for example, International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) or the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) whose objective is to promote patient safety especially for those planning for cosmetic or plastic surgery abroad.

These authorized bodies enlighten the patients on:

  • Selection of the right country for aesthetic tourism.
  • Selection of the right surgeon or the practitioner. They make sure that the selected practitioner is certified, experienced and adequately trained.
  • Selection of the right procedure.
  • Providing awareness about the risk and rewards of the treatment.
  • They chalk out a comprehensive program package so that you succeed in achieving full worth of every single dollar you spend.

What is the future of Aesthetic Medicine Tourism?

skilled aesthetician

The future of aesthetic medicine tourism is bright as long as the human penchant to look great remains. The booming anti-aging market is catering to the ‘forever young’ approach of the global population. With the increasing life-expectancy and extended work life, the preventive cum rejuvenating aesthetic medicine market is likely to grow by leaps and bounds.

People will have enough disposable income to feed their desire to look good. The best part of aesthetic medicine is its preventive aspect, and we are seeing a greater percentage of younger population taking these procedures long before the onset of aging.Over time, the evolution of high-precision devices and equipment will make things easier creating better outcomes for clients.

Normally, people do not travel alone in medical and wellness tourism. They are accompanied by friends or family members. Rejuvenation and relaxation procedures are welcome for the patient and their companions as well, and aesthetic medicine can offer good solutions that are not heavy on the pocket but great for well-being.

The future is heading towards holistic regenerative aesthetics, that is, one approach treating multiple issues with unique forms of Combination Aesthetics.  The demand for skilled aestheticians in different wellness resorts, medical wellness centers, and spas will grow more than ever. Wellness resorts worldwide have already launched exciting combination wellness programs. The trend is just picking up.

What are the challenges in Aesthetic Medicine Tourism?

Despite the massive potential of aesthetic medicine tourism in the future, specific challenges can impede its growth.

Lack of skilled manpower


Aesthetic medicine involves minimal risks but the treatments need to be done by certified and skilled aestheticians. It is not a typical beautician’s job. These treatments need cutting-edge devices and should be handled by the right person. The biggest challenge in this promising sector is the lack of trained professionals.

Lack of regulation

Any invasive therapy even if it is minimally invasive carries some risks. Unscrupulous practices thrive when there is nobody to see what is going on.  The skilled labor supply will not grow at the same pace as the market demand. The situation is likely to worsen when unqualified or untrained professionals will be assigned high-precision jobs.The ‘cheap labor’ factor will also weigh in and this may spoil the image of the industry.

Mushrooming clinics and spas

Closeup of localized cryotherapy

Aesthetic medicine clinics and spas have proliferated for the last five years. As the customer crowd builds up, there are likely to be violations of treatment protocols insanitization, sterilization, and procedures. There will be more reports of poor outcomes or botched surgeries making customers suffer badly. Customer complaints will grow due to unskilled staff creating fearful perceptions about this discipline.

Improper positioning

To many people, aesthetic medicine is synonymous withcommon beauty treatments. Very few know aesthetic medicine is a specialty in the beauty industry. Positioning aesthetic medicine just as an ordinary cosmetic treatment reduces its status and sends the wrong message to the customers. They may build a wrong perception that anybody can take any aesthetic medicine treatment anytime without any prior analysis or consultation. 

Lack of information and education

Beauty counseling

Proper counseling of clients/patients for specific aesthetic medicine procedures is essential to make this niche tourism a big success. Medical tourism and wellness tourism providers, facilitators, and consultants have a great role to play. Most customers end up making erroneous choices due to a lack of knowledge and information. The industry earns a bad name.

Unrealistic customer expectations

People often fail to understand the extent of outcomes in aesthetic medicine procedures. Aesthetic medicine can enhance your imagebutnot create a dramatic transformation. For that, plastic or reconstructive surgeries are more effective. Most patients and customers do not know the difference in outcomesin aesthetic medicine and invasive cosmetic surgeries and set unrealistic expectations which is bad for the industry.

The growing need for evidence-based procedures

Customers of aesthetic medicine are most likely to avail these treatments through medical or wellness tourism. A significant number of customersare well-informed and knowledgeable and demand evidence-based practices. Some popular aesthetic medicine procedures are practiced based on anecdotal evidence instead of clinical evidence.The industry might find it challenging to prove the efficacy of some popular treatments due to inadequate trials and studies.

Whatever may be the challenges, the human instinct to look and feel good will never die. Leaders of the aesthetic medicine market are not hesitating to provide all the necessary information to help customers make informed decisions and enjoy a better quality of life.

woman on Aesthetic Medicine Tourism

The following list would highlight some of the popular destinations offering a perfect ambience for an ‘aesthetic vacation’.


A hot plastic surgery tourism destination with JCI accredited plastic surgery clinics popular in body sculpting like tummy tucking, buttock enhancement, breast augmentation and Brazilian Wax treatment.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Another leader in aesthetic tourism market offering attractive packages in plastic surgery and cosmetic dentistry.


Popular destination for beach vacation coupled with aesthetic treatments with high cost benefits in cosmetic surgery. Well known for affordable bariatric surgery which is not covered under insurance in the US.

Costa Rica

Based on an excellent healthcare system with eco-friendly vacationing opportunities, aesthetic tourism is on the rise in this country especially the high-end clinics in San Jose offering most sophisticated cosmetic treatments.

Panama Canal

The city’s medical establishments with state-of-the-art infrastructure have turned into aesthetic tourism hub treating customers from US and Canada offering great cosmetic vacation packages.


Another prime aesthetic tourism destination with excellent reputation in medical research and innovative cosmetic treatments.


A perfect upscale cosmetic vacation paradise for the well heeled looking for highest level of perfection, pamper and privacy.


Most established aesthetic tourism destination in Central Europe highly popular in cosmetic dentistry.


High quality cosmetic clinics respecting privacy of the customers


Low cost aesthetic tourism destination in Europe offering attractive all inclusive vacation packages.

South Africa

It offers a unique blend of rejuvenating vacation through wild life safaris, wine tours and beach tours along with the renewal of appearance through high-end plastic surgery and cosmetic treatment facilities.

Other upcoming aesthetic tourism destinations blending hospitality, tourism and cosmetic travel in attractive packages are Spain, Portugal, Greece, El Salvador, Bolivia, Taiwan, South Korea, and other island countries in Asia Pacific.

Recent Articles:

Scroll to Top