Dermatologists Rule for Cosmetic Procedures and Skin Care Decisions

Dermatologists Rule for Cosmetic Procedures and Skin Care Decisions image

When selecting a practitioner, the specialty in which the physician is board certified and the level of the physician’s licensure ranked as primary influencing factors.

Dermatologists rank as the number one influencer among 16 factors that impact consumers’ decisions to have a cosmetic procedure, according to the 2021 American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) Consumer Survey on Cosmetic Dermatologic Procedures.

When selecting a practitioner, the specialty in which the physician is board certified and the level of the physician’s licensure ranked as primary influencing factors. Of patients who saw dermatologists, more than 66% were ASDS members.

Consumers also rated dermatologists as the top resource for skin care product purchases and the physician of choice in seven of 10 treatment categories including injectable wrinkle-relaxers; laser / light therapy for skin redness, tone and scars; laser / light therapy for skin tightening; chemical peels; vein treatments; microdermabrasion; and tattoo removal.

“Cosmetic treatments are medical procedures, and board-certified dermatologists are uniquely qualified to deliver safe, leading care with customized treatment plans for their patients,” says ASDS President Sue Ellen Cox, MD, in a news release. “Patients continue to trust ASDS member dermatologists’ medical expertise, drive for innovation and aesthetic acumen to help them look and feel their best.”

Consumer Motivations

Almost 70 percent of consumers are considering a cosmetic treatment. The desires to “feel more confident,” “appear more attractive,” “do something for themselves” and “look as young as they feel” were the leading motivations. They were most bothered by excess fat on any part of the body (77%), excessive fat under the chin or neck (70%), skin texture and/or discoloration (66%) and lines and wrinkles around or under the eyes (62%), hair loss (60%) and excessive sweating (58%). Notably, concern for hair loss increased by 7% from the 2019 survey.  

The top five treatments and percentage of consumers considering them include:

  • Ultrasound, laser, light and radiofrequency treatments for smoothing wrinkles or tightening skin, 52%
  • Laser / light therapy to reduce facial redness, improve skin tone and improve scars, 48%
  • Injectable wrinkle relaxer, 48%
  • Body sculpting, 47%
  • Microdermabrasion, 44%

For the first time, “too radical of a change” landed in the top five reasons why consumers would wait to schedule a cosmetic procedure. This reflects the trending desire to achieve a natural look with aesthetic treatments.

Digital Impact

Online community platforms are a growing resource for consumers to obtain health and beauty information, and digital conversations are impacting consumers’ selection of their provider, cosmetic procedure(s) and skin care purchases. Social media ranked as the second leading factor in buying decisions for skin care products and ranked third among factors influencing the decision to have a cosmetic treatment. Additionally, 52 percent of consumers shared that a provider’s social media presence impacts their decisions to schedule an appointment, up 9 percent from the 2019 survey, and 78 percent of patients follow their current or potential provider on social media, a 38 percent increase since 2019.

Potential patients are also seeking information about other patients’ experiences by referencing rate and review websites. Up 16 percent from the last survey, 83 percent of consumers indicated that rate and review sites impact their decision for a cosmetic procedure provider.

“As expected, this survey shows an increase in the use of social media and digital communication platforms for skin health and beauty information,” Dr. Cox shared. “ASDS members continue to be a strong voice in these digital conversations, sharing medically sound skin health and beauty expertise to ensure patient safety and quality care. This consumer survey reflects patients’ ongoing trust in board certified dermatologists when it comes to caring for their skin.”

About the survey

Data was obtained through a blind online survey conducted from Oct. 20, 2021, to Nov. 9, 2021, through the web-based PureSpectrum market research service. The survey received 3,527 responses. To view the full results, visit

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