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It's not nip and tuck, but shots and luck

By SHAN JUAN/WANG XIAODONG | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-15 06:26
Micro cosmetic surgery has seen a "gush-like" development in China, with the number of service providers doubling over the past five years, according to Cao Dequan, deputy secretary-general of the Chinese Association of Plastics and Aesthetics.

The number of providers offering such services in China stands at more than 9,000, twice as many as five years ago, and the number of practitioners in the business has increased at an annual rate of 15 to 25 percent over the past five years, he said.

Unlike invasive surgery, micro cosmetic surgery is performed mainly via injections of materials such as Botox and hyaluronic acid. They help reshape the face, flatten winkles and brighten the skin.

According to industry forecasts, more than 10 million doses of the two major injection products-Botox and hyaluronic acid-are expected to be used by government-recognized providers in China this year, compared with 4 million to 5 million doses used five years ago.

That does not include products from illegal sources, Cao added.

"After two decades of rapid development, public perception of plastic surgery in China has changed a lot, and now even those from small cities and rural areas are readily accepting such procedures instead of shyly talking about it," he said.

Women aged 35 and younger currently account for the lion's share of the clients in China, according to Cao. "That's totally different from in the United States." In the US, more than 75 percent are women over 45.

Notably, males are catching up, according to a recent industry report by an app called Xinyang, which is a resource for information on cosmetic medicine and procedures that also lets users book procedures with partner clinics. The findings are based on an online survey of about 200,000 users and a three-year analysis of the 300,000 orders of varied cosmetic procedures placed via the app.

Of the Chinese clients, 10 percent are men, it found.

By region, clients from Northeast China's Heilongjiang province prefer a small, V-shaped face; people in neighboring Liaoning province are most willing to spend on cosmetic surgery; those in Henan province tend to see the procedures as important to landing a good job and partner; and those in South China's Guangdong province consume about 15 percent of the country's legitimate supply of hyaluronic acid injections, it said.

Nationwide, an estimated 14 million people will get the procedures in 2017, up by 42 percent from last year, the report said.

Globally, the year-on-year increase is projected at 7 percent, according to Cao.

Notably, the procedures are not just skin deep. It goes much deeper sometimes, the report found. The popularity of vaginal tightening surgery continues to increase among Chinese women. Roughly 3 percent of cosmetic surgery clients go for this very private procedure, it said, and nearly 40 of recipients were born in the 1970s.

Beauty is based on health, said Cao, suggesting services of quality beauty clinics.

Chen Guangyu, director for the micro cosmetic surgery center at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences' Plastic Surgery Hospital, said the technologies in China have reached a level comparable with other nations after years of development since the sector started to boom in 2009, and now many complications that may have happened to clients before can be avoided.

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