Scratch-Free Skin Resurfacing
This article was originally published in Start Up
In the red-hot skin cosmetic surgery market, Reliant Technologies and Rhytec aim for the market gap between ablative laser skin resurfacing and gentler, but less effective technologies. Their devices match the resurfacing and regenerative power of CO2 lasers, but with less tissue destruction and therefore shorter procedures and faster recoveries.
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The aesthetics industry is becoming increasingly competitive and there are very few intellectual property barriers to entry; as soon as one company develops a new wrinkle-reducing device, it's not long before others come up with something that sounds similar. Sales and marketing account for the biggest costs of medical aesthetic companies, and because a number of the newer one-product companies now find themselves bumping into their competitors in physicians' offices and at trade shows, consolidation in the industry appears to be in order. In this challenging environment, the recent merger of skin tightening company Thermage with skin resurfacing firm Reliant is designed to create a stronger competitor.
The medical aesthetics market is hot, and at the moment, much of that heat is coming from a tantalizing emerging market for the treatment of cellulite. Consumer demand is so great for cellulite treatments that a $3 billion cosmeceutical market has been created around lotions and massagers with minimal efficacy. To reach a potential blockbuster market--85% of women have cellulite--new device companies aim to demonstrate efficacy with the same discipline that they have brought to traditional therapeutic markets, hoping to create competitive and sustainable advantages.
Aesthetic device sales were $520 million in 2006, according to US Markets for Energy-Based Aesthetics and Therapies, a report recently published by the Medtech Insight division of Windhover Information Inc., and are expected to reach approximately $1.2 billion in the year 2011. In addition to cultural factors, the minimally invasive nature of the new devices themselves, which result in lower treatment costs and shorter healing times, is helping to drive growth in the industry.