New Delhi: Younger Indians are increasingly going for cosmetic procedures such as nose jobs and hair transplants, as growing awareness and better disposable incomes stir the demand for treatments that were once considered more discreet and expensive.

“A lot of youngsters are going in for these procedures, more in the age bracket of 25-30, especially people from customer-facing industries like aviation and hospitality," said Raghu Kumar, managing director, Allergan India Pvt. Ltd, which introduced a generation of American women to injectible Botox in the 1990s.

In India, Allergan introduced Botox in 2006.

Urbanization and awareness among Internet-savvy consumers will ensure that the industry grows over the next decade by 20-25% as newer consumers enter the periphery of accepting prescription-based or clinical cosmetic procedures, Kumar said.

The selfie culture, suggest experts, has a small but significant role to play.

The smartphone generation wants to ensure they look a certain way. The heavy indulgence in selfies is promoting a need to appear picture-perfect, says Rahul Sawakhande, head, aesthetic and corrective business (South Asia), Galderma, the local arm of Swiss dermatology company Galderma SA.

Bollywood celebrities, he adds, are a point of reference for most youngsters.

Procedures like body contouring, face lifts, forehead line correction and lip enhancements start from 5,000 and could cross 100,000.

A few years ago, cosmetic procedures were largely sought by customers aged 40 and above, mainly for functional purpose. Now, aesthetics is a big part of what we see in the market, according to G. Sathya Narayanan, managing director, Galderma India.

In the past two years, the average age has come down to 25-30, suggests Narayanan. Today, it’s more for glamour than for functionality, he adds.

At a clinic in New Delhi, a cosmetic surgeon explains how her profile of consumers has shifted over the years.

Trends have changed now, consumers are more aware. Instead of asking about procedures, they now know what procedures they are looking for, says Hema Pant, regional manager for medical services at Kaya Skin Clinic, part of Mumbai-based Marico. “They aspire to look a certain way," Pant said.

Years ago, such procedures were primarily restricted to expats, she explains. At present, 80% of walk-ins at her clinic are Indians, 30% of whom are men.

Procedures such as skin-lifting, anti-wrinkle treatments, eyebrow lifts and forehead lines correction are some of the most sought-after procedures.

As consumers become more discerning, companies are introducing more advanced treatments.

Galderma said it would launch its range of global hair care, skin care and aesthetic products in India, three years after the company started selling prescription-based dermatological brand Cetaphil. It will launch Emervel for correction of facial lines, contouring and volume loss for lip enhancement and Macrolane for body contouring in the next 12 months.

Although a more mature market in the West is driving invention of newer and more advanced procedures, India’s cosmetic services market remains hugely fragmented, with few companies and doctors offering the services. For now, density of clinics is largely restricted to the metros.

Companies such as Allergan and Galderma sell their products to dermatological clinics and plastic surgeons, who perform both invasive and non-invasive procedures.

“The concept is still not very big in smaller cities," said Kumar of Allergan. Development of new clinics, he says, will help the industry.

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