Aesthetic Dermatology

Online resources influencing cosmetic treatment choices


Online resources are affecting most consumers’ selections of cosmetic providers, and social media are now a top-three influence on cosmetic procedure choices and skin care purchases, according to a new survey from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

Use of rate and review websites before cosmetic treatments

Almost 70% of respondents said that their use of rate and review websites had an impact on the choice of provider for cosmetic procedures: WebMD was the site most often visited, followed by Facebook, physician websites, and Yelp, the ASDS said based on its annual consumer survey.

For 43% of consumers, the decision to schedule an appointment was influenced by a provider’s social media presence, and 41% of patients said that they follow their current or potential provider on social media, the ASDS said.

“Online resources and social media platforms are clearly influencing consumers’ behavior and perception of skin health,” ASDS President Murad Alam, MD, MBA, chief of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery in the department of dermatology at Northwestern University, Chicago, said in a written statement.

Dermatologists, however, remain the leading influence on the decision to have a cosmetic procedure – named as a resource by 34% of respondents, who could select more than one possibility from a list of 15 – but social media moved ahead of primary care physicians into third place (24%), just behind friends (30%), the survey showed. Dermatologists, on the other hand, had polled at 50%-55% for the previous 5 years.

The dermatologists’ lead remained stronger as the top influencer for skin care purchases, selected by 45% of respondents, compared with 32% for friends and 28% for social media. In this category there were 14 factors from which respondents could choose. As for the cost of those skin care products, 48% of consumers spent $1-$50 a month, 31% said that they spent $51-$100 a month, and 12% reported spending $101-$150 a month, the ASDS said.

The society received 3,645 responses to the 2019 Consumer Survey on Cosmetic Dermatologic Procedures, which was conducted online from July 30 to Aug. 27 by Survata.

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