Cosmetic tourism: Sculpting the global aesthetic device industry

Cosmetic tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, with the global medical tourism market size forecast to grow at a CAGR of 18.8%, expecting to reach $65.79 billion by 2025.

We are all aware that trends are constantly changing due to ever-increasing pressures to keep up with modern beauty standards and medical tourism is becoming an alternative measure to combat these standards, in comparison to the age-old solutions of dieting, lifestyle and exercise.

Aesthetic Medical solutions do exist in the so-called ‘developed countries’ of the world, however these come at a premium cost and it is well documented that people from countries like the U.K., Australia, and the U.S. are now looking abroad for their solutions. As a result, developing nations are becoming increasingly competitive as destinations for medical tourism, offering pragmatic prices aligned with state-of-the-art technology.

One of the increasingly popular treatments that patients are travelling for is anti-aging and skin rejuvenation energy-based procedures. Aesthetic lasers and energy devices are used for numerous cosmetic procedures to treat skin defects and improve the physical appearance of the patient. Some of these procedures involve targeting loss of skin elasticity and collagen, decrease in dermal collagen, appearance of lines and wrinkles, and increase in hyperpigmentation.

Factors driving demand

The major reasons for the growth of the energy-based device industry in developing countries is rapid globalization, increasing disposable income of visitors, and rising awareness regarding alternatives to surgical aesthetic treatments. On the flip side, medical tourism is also being driven by high costs and long waiting times in developed countries, as well as insurance-excluding treatments.
In particular, cosmetic tourism is one of the major factors generating revenue in the global skincare device markets for developing countries such as India, Brazil, Mexico, & MEA regions. What these nations have done is taken advantage of the deterioration of strong currencies such as the Dollar, Sterling and Euro to import medical devices at a lower cost. On top of this, the currency of some of these countries has since appreciated in value, making it far more cost effective to import high-cost equipment in the global aesthetics device industry.

Key players in the industry

The Energy Based Skin Rejuvenation market is currently worth between $65bn and $87.5bn and growing at a yearly rate of 15%-25%. According to the research report, the global Aesthetic Lasers & Energy Devices Market was estimated at USD 1,800 Million in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 3,900 Million by 2026.
A frontrunner in the field who are increasing their presence in the MEA region is Lumenis, named recently as the world’s best overall medical device company in the 2021 MedTech breakthrough awards. Their multi-application LegendPro+ device has seen success in these countries, offering immediate results and minimal pain to patients seeking skin rejuvenation.
Another key player in the aesthetic device field is Allergan, who develop, manufacture and market a portfolio of leading aesthetics brands and products, especially in the LATAM region. Their Resonic device uses RAP technology, providing non-invasive, quick, high-frequency sound waves to interrupt targeted cellular structures and connective tissue. It seems that their partnership with Histogen was a strong tactical move in allowing them to commercialise Histogen’s cell conditioned media (CCM) in their skin therapy devices, as well as giving them exclusive rights to their intellectual property; an asset in enabling them to assert their expertise in international markets.

With The global Aesthetic Lasers and Energy Devices Market expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.7% from 2019 to 2026, another prominent device maker who maintains high stakes in the global cosmetic device market is Candela. They hold a secure place in the Mexican aes-thetics market, recently mobilising highly qualified transfer teams to merge the company’s manufacturing and supply chain operations into a Jabil Healthcare facility in Tijuana, Mexico.

Fosun pharmaceutical, a manufacturer of medical laser & light-based products, are a lead-ing global brand in the international market. Having merged with Alma Lasers back in 2013, acquiring up to a 95.6% share, they have successfully achieved international acquisi-tion, increasing their global presence through their high-end aesthetic medical devices. Pri-or to their merge, Alma lasers already had a total of 15% market share in the global aes-thetic energy-based device segment. This acquisition allowed Fosun to establish themselves in the global market, gaining a foothold in China, Brazil, Russia, and India with their cut-ting-edge energy-based technologies.
Although they have made a huge impact in many international markets, there are apprehen-sions that Fosun’s Indian entity of their aesthetics device brand may struggle. The aesthetic device sector has been no exception to the unprecedented effects of the pandemic. It seems the devastating impact of India’s second wave of the virus may impede their aesthetic de-vice industry, which was previously going through multiple advances across their metropol-itan cities. With record numbers of covid-related hospital admissions and huge pressure on healthcare systems in India, I fear a huge amount of pressure will be placed on production and supply chains and accessibility of energy-based aesthetic devices in this country.


To conclude, it is evident that minimally invasive aesthetic treatments are contributing to one of the fastest growing industries. With more awareness about the safe usage and ad-vantages of these devices, the inclination towards these procedures is increasing globally. The purchasing of energy-based devices in developing nations allows countries to utilise this as a valuable marketing tool to engage and attract international patients with “state-of-the-art” devices. Additionally, the growing demand for aesthetic procedures aid the major leaders in seizing emerging markets of LATAM, APAC, and MEA, whilst also trickling down to the local population by stimulating the economy of the destination.