The W factor |

11 mins

The W factor

Consultant editor Vicky Eldridge looks at how wellness is transcending into the world of aesthetics and fast becoming one of the biggest sector trends of the decade

Wellness and aesthetic medicine used to be seen as two opposite ends of the beauty spectrum, with spa and pampering treatments at one end and cosmetic surgery and injectables at the other. But in the post-pandemic world, we have seen a shift in consumer demand for well-being at all levels and the two sectors have now become intertwined in a way that is heralding a new frontier in aesthetics.


The term “wellness” has an extremely broad scope encompassing any product or service that benefits physical and mental health.1

The six most popular wellness divisions are1:

1) Health

2) Fitness

3) Nutrition

4) Appearance

5) Sleep

6) Mindfulness

While some may still be dismissive of the term, wellness is far from fluffy with the health and nutrition sectors, in particular, encompassing emerging areas of scientific importance such as functional and lifestyle medicine.

Belinda Aloisio worked for many years within the aesthetics space as a sales director, before setting up her own consultancy business for clinics. She now runs a transformational coaching and profound energy healing business. She says, “Wellness covers anything that makes us feel good, that is for our health. So it really encapsulates the mental, the emotional, the energetic and the physical. People working in aesthetics usually want to help people look and feel better, and now they are taking it to another level by doing inner as well as outer work.”


The global wellness market is worth around $4.4 trillion, with an annual growth rate of 5-10% in recent years. It is forecast to reach $7 trillion by 2025 with a shift in consumer values, particularly for preventative rather than illness-driven medicine, driving growth.2

Unsurprisingly the US has the biggest health and wellness market, valued at $52.2bn, with China coming in second at $19.9bn and Australia third at $9.5 billion. The UK is not far behind, valued at $9bn1, which means there is an incredible appetite among Brits to optimise their health and feel their best.

In 2021 the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) released a report entitled “The Global Wellness Economy: Looking Beyond Covid”, which revealed a snapshot of consumer behaviour and important trends that lead to greater public health.3

It identified a number of key growth areas that are relevant to aesthetic medicine:

• Personal care and beauty – apredicted 8.2% annual growth to reach $1.4 trillion by 2025

• Healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss – forecast to grow 5% annually to reach $1.2 trillion by 2025

• Public health, prevention and personalised medicine – forecast to grow 5% annually to reach $478 billion by 2025

• Mental wellness – predicted to grow by 10% annually to reach $210 billion by 2025

• Workplace wellness – pegged to grow 4% annually to reach $58.4 billion by 2025.

Another report by McKinsey & Company showed that Brits spent most in the health and appearance categories, 47.8% and 24.9%, respectively.4


With increasing consumer demand for wellness across the board becoming more and more evident, it is no surprise that in 2022 we saw the aesthetics industry begin to embrace the idea that wellness could not only enhance the services they offered their patients but was an important part of helping patients to feel as good as they looked. This meant encompassing a 360-degree holistic approach to aesthetics and embracing ideas, concepts and science from other sectors. It spans three key categories:

1. Clinic environments that promote a sense of well-being

2. Mental health (for both patient and practitioner)

3. Well-being treatments and services, including those that fall into the categories of functional and lifestyle medicine, menopause support and weight management.

Dr Mayoni Gooneratne, the founder of Human Health and vice president of the British College of Functional Medicine, has been a huge advocate for wellness within the aesthetics sector. She comments, “Without wellness, we are nothing. What we see and hear in aesthetic clinics is patients who are unhappy with their skin, but that’s only because they can see something’s not right with it. What they’re not always seeing, and what is really happening, could be lack of sleep, poor diet, stress or other health issues, which should be prioritised before practitioners treat skin. It’s so important to address wellness first, and I hope to see this developing over the coming years.5Itruly believe our future lies in lifestyle medicine.”


The medi-spa is not a new concept, but the idea of fusing these two types of environments together is becoming more prevalent, with modern clinics creating a feeling of luxury and serenity usually associated with a spa rather than clinical space.

Also driving this trend forward is a better understating of how much customer service matters in a competitive market, and it’s the little touches: the relaxing space for patients to wait, the music playing in the background, the cup of tea on arrival, and the warm towel on their face before a treatment that makes a difference.

People want experiences. They want to feel good as they go about making themselves look good. No more does going in for a peel, filler injections, or a laser treatment at a clinic have to be a cold, clinical experience, it can be medical and results-driven and make someone feel nice all at once.

When Dr Sophie Shotter recently opened her new Kentbased Illuminate Skin Clinic, she created comfy private pods in the waiting area where patients could sit ahead of treatments, as well as a massage chair room with a galaxy lamp to relax in while their numbing cream takes effect. She also brought the outdoors into the industrial space by adding sky scenes to the ceiling so patients could lie back and look at the clouds while they had their treatments.

She says, “The sky ceilings are lovely. When patients are lying on the couch having their treatment, it just helps them feel a bit more zen.”


Mental health has been a big driver in the rise of wellness as a trend and is a key factor in safeguarding aesthetic patients.

Statistics suggest that of adults who suffer from depression and anxiety, 42% would be more likely than the average adult to consider a procedure in the next year.5

Dr Gooneratne says, “I have found that since the pandemic, the majority of my patients have a degree of anxiety; it isn’t always appearance-related, but it’s important they see medical aesthetic practitioners who are able to support them appropriately and ethically, which may mean not treating.”

Of course, when it comes to mental health, there is the everpresent link between aesthetic procedures and body image dissatisfaction or Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).

Kimberley Cairns, a specialist integrative psychologist and part of the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) Clinical Advisory Group, set up the Aesthetic Wellness Foundation6, a specialist mental health service providing psychological support to those suffering due to an adverse aesthetic experience.

Cairns also provided written evidence on behalf of the JCCP for the recently published report on The Impact of Body Image on Mental and Physical Health.⁷ The report showed that 80% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that their body image negatively impacts their mental health, with 61% saying that their body image negatively impacts their physical health.

She says, “Treating a physical symptom in isolation will not lead to lasting patient satisfaction if there is an underlying or unaddressed psychological need or motivation for seeking treatment. The HSCC report recognises this and strengthens the need for a contextual psychological approach within the sector.”

In addition, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) launched a new initiative to advance the mental health assessment framework in cosmetic surgery.⁸

“Carrying out a thorough psychological assessment before any surgery is crucial”, says BAAPS Council Member Caroline Payne. “As plastic surgeons, it is crucial to have a real insight into the psychological as well as surgical aspects of caring for patients undergoing aesthetic surgery and an appreciation of when referral to a clinical psychologist may be in a patient’s best interests.”

And it’s not just about patients’ mental health. Practitioners are increasingly realising their own well-being counts too, with many having suffered with their own mental health during the pandemic.

Aloisio says, “Doctors and nurses traditionally don’t make time for themselves. They are often more focused on others.”

Alan Madin, the resident psychotherapist for Safety in Beauty, which chose Mind as its charity for this year’s Safety in Beauty Diamond Awards, says, “Research carried out by The Safety in Beauty Centre of Excellence in 2022 indicates that eight in 10 clinic owners and professionals have experienced ‘Beauty Business Burnout’.

“The survey further revealed that seven out of 10 professionals running a business in beauty or aesthetics admitted to being overwhelmed most days of the week and are currently suffering with a mental health issue as a result.”9

Aesthetic nurse practitioner and founder of East Riding Aesthetics Tracey Dennison works collaboratively with nutrition, fitness and other experts to support her patients, but this came out of her own journey with mindfulness and well-being, working with mindset coach Lisa McMurtry. She says, “Lisa had some really powerful, but simple, tools to help me notice the positives and the gains and develop critical new skills. She helped change the trajectory not just of my business but every aspect of my life. I became much more appreciative, more grateful and much, much more abundant.”

Taking the need for time out for practitioners to another level, aesthetic nurse prescriber and founder of Perpetual Aesthetics, Kornelia Hauck, set up a retreat. Originally designed for patients, she found the idea was popular with her peers too and ended up hosting a week-long getaway in Morocco, which she promoted through the Aesthetic Entrepreneurs and which allowed industry people to really unplug with yoga, healthy food, self-care and relaxation. The retreat was so successful that Hauck plans to run more in future.


It is widely acknowledged that being in optimum health can enhance the results of aesthetic treatments. Clinics have long given patients advice to quit smoking, reduce alcohol intake, up their exercise and change their diets, but many are now upping the ante in the way they support patients through such lifestyle changes and embracing wellness as part and parcel of what they do.

As such, 2022 has seen a huge increase in the appetite for bolt-on wellness-focused services to aesthetic clinics, such as weight management, gut health, supplements, menopause/hormone replacement therapy and even DNA and genetics being added to the mix to improve ageing on a cellular level.

We are even seeing a shift in the industry vocabulary with terms such as “self-care”, “well-being”, and “mindfulness”, once the realm of the yoga studio being used, and with words such as “agelessness”, “longevity”, “skin health”, and “ageing well”, replacing “antiageing” as the phrases du jour.

Dr Nima Mahmoodi re-thought his business proposition post-Covid-19 by creating a new concept and co-founding the London-based Remedi clinic, which brings together things like reiki to help with injection pain, the use of sound therapy, biohacking, yoga, vitamin infusions and meditation alongside its aesthetic services.

He spoke at Aesthetic Medicine Live in London about incorporating health, wellness and spirituality into his practice.

He says, “Since lockdown, mental health has been rife for a lot of people. For me, it was a shock to the system going from working six to seven days a week to 0. I felt lost and didn’t know what to do with myself, but it was a blessing in disguise because it allowed me to take a step back and reflect on life and what would fulfil me as a person. As humans, we are multi-dimensional beings. Aesthetic medicine traditionally focuses on one aspect, external beauty, but a lot of the time, our clients are coming to us because they might have a certain something missing on the inside. We are building this new concept at Remedi that we are looking after all aspects of the human form – the external, the physical, the emotional, the intellectual and the spiritual.”

Other leading clinics are also following suit. Dr Benji Dhillon recently announced on LinkedIn he would be opening a new space in London for his Define Clinic that encompassed aesthetics, dentistry and wellness all under one roof. While leading plastic surgeon Mr Jonathan Britto and his wife, Dr Shyamala Moganasundram, have developed a Lifestyle Medicine programme that integrates positive lifestyle habits into modern medicine to create good health and well-being using an evidence-based, holistic approach.

Dr Moganasundram says, “The growing body of evidence undisputedly demonstrates we can significantly reduce the risk of chronic poor health, facilitating healthy longevity through lifestyle interventions.”

While all these additional services are fantastic ways for clinics to expand their offerings, we cannot forget about the bread-and-butter aesthetic treatments, which themselves are starting to be seen as acts of self-care and not just something that services vanity.

Dr Gooneratne comments, “In my clinic, a lot of our messaging is about ‘self-care, guilt-free.”10

With the appetite for wellness growing at a global level, aesthetic clinics are well-placed to meet demand. Not only does this broaden their own scope of practice, but it has the potential to enhance results for patients moving services away from treating lines and wrinkles towards helping people to age well, live longer and look good in the process.












This article appears in January 2023

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This article appears in...
January 2023
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Happy New Year and welcome to the January wellness issue of Aesthetic Medicine!
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