Although everyone in the Northern Hemisphere is bundled up against the steady approach of winter, those in the Southern Hemisphere―where I am right now―are enjoying summertime. Although the concept of a warm Christmas drinking cold drinks by the barbecue is foreign to me, Australians swear by it. All of their decorations still involve snow and evergreen trees, and a Santa Claus who I think would be sweating quite a bit in all those layers in this weather, but summertime is in full tilt here.
One thing I’ve noticed is that in Australian summer, the amount of ads and billboards about protecting your skin are so much more prominent compared to Canada. The fact that skin diseases themselves are more common here is a well-known fact—according to the Cancer Council of Australia, skin cancer rates are two to three times higher here compared to Canada, the US, or the UK. There is therefore a bigger push among Australian health societies to encourage people to wear sunscreen and otherwise be careful about sun exposure. Although Australia is a bit ahead of the curve though, this reflects a trend worldwide toward greater awareness of the dangers of sun exposure and the resulting skin conditions.
Typically, skin condition rates don’t have a big effect on medtech markets because there aren’t a lot of devices that can fix or protect the skin. However, special cosmeceutical products meant for sun protection are gaining a lot of traction (although cosmeceuticals fall in a somewhat grey drug-medtech crossover area). Among those who may have enjoyed the sun too much in their youth, there is a ton of interest in devices that can reduce the appearance of sun-related skin damage. For example, aesthetic-based energy devices are improving in leaps and bounds. Some of these products are able to remove or reduce the look of pigmented lesions, which can be the result of sun exposure. However, if people really do a better job of covering themselves up in the long term, demand for these sorts of treatments might go down.
So while these products may not be thought of as “classic” medical devices, the growing awareness of sun exposure and desire to protect the skin are having an impact on the industry, and especially the aesthetic industry.
It’s just so hard to limit your sun exposure though when Australia has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.