Mounting financial difficulties do not seem to have dented the zeal of the Australian women to 'look better.' Interestingly men too seem to want to spruce up. More and more of them go for hair removal, says the Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia (CPSA).
Dr Gabrielle Caswell, Public Relations Officer of the CPSA, said, "This time of year will generally see an increase in people visiting cosmetic physicians for non-invasive procedures. People want to look good for the summer - the main social season of the year. However, it's not just social reasons - women are also telling us they want to look their best at work. Whether or not this has to do with the competition for jobs in the current climate we cannot be certain.
"Our members continue to report growth, particularly, with injectable treatments, such as anti-wrinkle treatments," said Dr Caswell.
CPSA members reported, in the society's 2008 annual survey of members, a year on year increase of 16% more women seeking anti-wrinkle treatments. Dermal filler use in 2008 also increased, with those seeking lip treatments rising by 21%, and other areas of the face up by 28% from 2007.
"These increases may be due to the greater selection of medicines now available in Australia, and increased awareness of how they can be used. People want to look youthful without the cost, risk, downtime and permanency associated with surgery," said Dr Caswell.
"Traditionally in times of financial hardship, retailers often refer to the "lipstick index" - where there is an appreciable increase in sales of lipstick and intimate underwear. However, the savvy modern woman can also now turn to medically proven treatments, with proven efficacy and results," said Dr Caswell.
Also, in a recent survey of its members, the association found that nearly a quarter have seen an increase in hair removal treatments for men - up 8% on last year.
"Manscapeing", as some call it, has become much more widely practiced - whether it's using moisturiser, getting a manicure, a facial or even removing their body hair, men are increasingly paying more attention to their appearance.
CPSA President, Dr Mary Dingley, says there are a number of reasons why men are choosing hair removal.
"With summer upon us, people are more conscious of how their bodies look and men are no exception - whether they want to look buff in a singlet at the beach, or their partners are encouraging them to get rid of back hair that they find embarrassing.
"We also treat a lot of athletes for permanent hair reduction - cyclists or swimmers for example, who don't want the hassle of constantly shaving their legs, and even rugby players want to be hair free. Permanent hair reduction also solves the problem of in-grown hairs which many athletes suffer from as a result of shaving," said Dr Dingley.
Laser or light source hair reduction involves the use of lasers to affect the hair follicle. The most common treatment sites include lip, chin, back, underarm, abdomen, buttocks, pubic area, face, chest, arms, and legs.
"If you are considering hair removal using laser or IPL equipment, ensure that you are seeking treatment from a trained medical practitioner, using TGA approved equipment.
"The use of the term 'medical' in advertising by beauty therapists - for example 'medical laser' or 'medical hair removal' - is very misleading for people, as they are led to believe they are receiving treatment from a fully qualified medical professional. It's important that those considering such treatments do their homework and feel safe in the knowledge they are being treated by a professional with a focus on their chosen procedure ," said Dr. Dingley.