Demand for aesthetic skin care drives growth


When Apex Dermatology’s new $8 million headquarters opens in Mayfield Heights this summer, it will include dedicated space for aesthetic services, including injectables (like Botox and fillers), chemical peels, lights and laser devices, and more.

Advances in technology have made procedures more affordable, less invasive and dramatically cut recovery time, contributing to a growing demand, said Dr. Jorge Garcia-Zuazaga, founder and president of Apex, a physician-owned and locally managed practice offering aesthetic, medical and surgical dermatology.

“There’s more demand; there’s more options,” he said. “There’s different tiers of pricing, so that really, the patient or the customer can really pick and choose. You don’t have to go with the, you know, 10-grand procedure from day one. You can do a few things here to get you to where you are.”

Aesthetic dermatology is a “rapidly growing field,” said Dr. Alexandra Zhang, vice president and surgical director of Lucent Dermatology and Skin Surgery Center.

“There is a large demand out there, and I think a lot of my colleagues are doing a great job in providing this service, and so are we,” Zhang said. “I think the market is out there, the demand is out there. I think as long as you’re providing a solid, safe practice and able to deliver the results, I think the business will continue to grow. And I think it is true to everybody, not just me.”

Zhang and Dr. William Camp each left practices at major health systems in the region to open Lucent Dermatology in 2019, starting with a location in Beachwood and adding a their second location in Akron the following year.

It’s difficult to say how much of their practice’s work is aesthetics, surgical or medical, because so much of it overlaps, Zhang said. For example, it’s difficult to separate removing a skin cancer from the aesthetic work that comes next.

“Reconstruction is actually a big part of my practice, meaning that after we finished removing the skin cancer, how to reconstruct the wound afterwards?” she said. “We have to understand what is the aesthetic concern.”

She agreed that technological advances have improved accessibility for a wider range of people, helping drive growth in the field as an aging population has concerns about aging gracefully.

Plus, social media, celebrity culture and the rise of influencers have all played a role in popularizing the procedures, Zhang said.

“The advances in technology and techniques also have made many procedures safer and more effective, which also contributed to the increased demand,” she said. “In the past, people would hesitate to go to certain invasive procedures. … With all the available minimally invasive procedures and advances in the technology and techniques, we can safely provide and meet the needs. That also helps a lot.”

Garcia-Zuazaga also noted that better information and growing awareness of aesthetic procedures has helped to drive the growth.

“Especially when dealing with aesthetics, when you’re spending out of pocket, you want to make sure that you’re comfortable with the procedure (and) you understand the risks and benefits, you understand the training that we’ve done, you understand what’s going to happen before and after,” he said. “There’s a lot that goes into a cosmetic consultation.”

Garcia-Zuazaga said Apex is on schedule and on budget to open its new 18,000-square-foot corporate headquarters in July in Mayfield Heights at the corner of Landerbrook Drive and Cedar Road. In addition to the dedicated aesthetic clinic and corporate offices, the single-story facility will include a clinical office, lab and research center. Apex’s Mayfield Heights practice will move into the new building.

Since its founding 12 years ago, Apex has been steadily growing, most recently opening its 13th location in Avon at 6855 American Way.

Aesthetic dermatology has always been part of the physician-owned and locally managed practice’s services, and each year “we’re raising our aesthetic menu,” Garcia-Zuazaga said. Today, aesthetic services account for about 10% of Apex’s business, with room for growth, he notes.

Some of the most common non-invasive technologies or procedures people are doing right now at Apex are laser hair removal, chemical peels, injectables such as Botox and fillers, and laser for skin resurfacing and redness. The headquarters, including the 2,000-square-foot aesthetic clinic, was created with growth mind, he said.

“I think that we’re positioning ourselves at the forefront of aesthetics in that location,” Garcia-Zuazaga said.

Professional skin care brand Linder Health in April announced it is moving its operations from California to Avon to support the company’s growth. Linder sells products formulated by a dermatologist and an organic chemist to professionals working in the aesthetics market, including spas, dermatologists’ offices and more.

“We provide products and formulas for back bar treatments, mostly like chemical peels, and exfoliating treatments and products to prep for those types of services that you might find in an esthetician office, a dermatologist’s office or a medspa,” said Linder Health CEO Lisa Girolamo.

Linder launched last year with professional products, which Girolamo notes require certification and training to use. This spring the company is coming out with a supporting line of at-home products. The move to Avon offers Linder a larger operations center to accommodate growing demand for its products, as well as a more central location.

“We knew we wanted to be in the Midwest for speed of access to all of our customers, you know, to be able to better service the country as a whole in terms of speeds of shipping, and just in order to be more centrally located,” she said.

Linder ships globally and is in more than half of the 50 states — primarily the coasts and the Sun Belt or “kind of like the smile of the United States,” Girolamo said. It also has a strong foothold in Ohio, which she credits in part to native Ohioan Bob Sivik, Linder Health’s head of sales.

Skin care services — be that estheticians or dermatologists — are really seeing a boom, Girolamo said.

“Especially post-COVID, people really want to get out there and go back to services,” she said. “The skin care market has been growing across the country.”


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