Skin cancer and cosmetic procedures continue to rise

2018 Procedures Infographic

2018 ASDS Survey on Dermatologic Procedures
(click to enlarge)

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill., August 19, 2019 — American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) member dermatologists performed more than 12.5 million medically necessary and cosmetic procedures in 2018 – 7.5 percent more than 2017 and a 60 percent increase since 2012.

Now in its seventh year, the 2018 ASDS Survey on Dermatologic Procedures revealed skin cancer treatments are persistently the most-performed procedure with more than 3.5 million treatments performed by ASDS members confirming the growing incidence of the disease as well as member expertise in treatment. Additionally, sun damage treatments were up 29 percent this year and a striking 63 percent in just two years. Both skin cancer and skin aging are magnified by increased ultraviolet light exposure, which damages the DNA of skin cells playing a role in these conditions.

Members also performed nearly nine million cosmetic treatments in 2018, a more than seven percent increase over 2017 results. Body sculpting saw the largest increase up 43 percent from last year with more than 623,000 treatments, injectable soft-tissue fillers and laser / light /energy- based treatments grew 78 percent and 74 percent respectively in the last seven years.

“From skin cancer treatments to cosmetic procedures, patients continue to entrust ASDS members with their skin health and beauty needs,” said ASDS President Murad Alam, MD, MBA. “Our annual procedures survey reinforces our members’ expertise, their innovative techniques and the quality care board-certified dermatologists provide.”

Skin Cancer Rates Still Rising
More than 9,500 patients are diagnosed with skin cancer in the U.S. each day, per the Skin Cancer Foundation. Dermatologic surgeons are supporting the solution by providing gold standard treatments and a steadfast commitment to create awareness and support prevention education.

ASDS members performed more than 3.5 million skin cancer treatments in 2018. Melanoma – the deadliest type of skin cancer – was up over 19 percent over last year. This data underscores the need for sun protection education, especially for younger patients. Fostering sun-safe behaviors earlier in life – such as wearing sunscreen daily and reducing ultraviolet light exposure – will to lead to healthier skin for a lifetime. ASDSA, the advocacy arm of the Society, has been championing this cause with its SUNucate model legislation, which has passed in 22 states and allows children to use over-the-counter sunscreen at school and camps without a physician’s note or prescription.

“Reducing incidence of skin cancer takes a comprehensive approach,” said Dr. Alam. “From prevention to treatment, ASDS members offer leading techniques and procedures. They consistently advocate for sunscreen use in schools, educate patients on early detection and promote sun-safe behaviors through community education and free skin cancer screenings.”

Cosmetic Procedure Popularity Continues To Grow
The top cosmetic treatments in 2018 were:

  • 3.4 million procedures using laser, light and energy-based devices – Treats a variety of skin conditions including facial redness, excess hair, age spots, sun damage, scars and birthmarks.
  • 2.1 million neuromodulators – Injectable wrinkle-relaxers to smooth fine lines on the face.
  • 1.6 million soft-tissue fillers – Restores fullness to the face, plump lips and raise depressed scars.
  • 623,000 body sculpting treatments – Procedures ranging from “fat-freezing” to injectables that help remove stubborn fat and tighten skin.
  • 497,000 chemical peels – A solution applied to the skin causing it to exfoliate and eventually peel off, revealing new, smoother skin.

Skin cancer was the most performed procedure for the seventh consecutive year.

ASDS members performed nine million cosmetic treatments.

Injectable treatments to smooth or fill lines continue to lead cosmetic procedures with over 3.7 million treatments performed by ASDS members. Wrinkle-relaxing injections have grown by 42 percent in the last seven years with fillers increasing 78 percent.

Body treatments gain increasing popularity, rising over 43 percent from 2017 and growing over four times since 2012. In the last seven years, both cryolipolysis, also known as “fat-freezing,” and radio frequency treatments have increased over three times. For 2018:

  • Deoxycholic acid  – a treatment that reduces fat below the chin – rose more than 43 percent.
  • Microfocused ultrasound – used to tighten skin – increased 38 percent.
  • Tumescent liposuction – a minimally invasive technique pioneered by an ASDS member that uses local anesthesia to permit fat removal – grew 17 percent.

Skin conditions treated with laser / light / energy-based procedures have risen 74 percent since 2012. For 2018, wrinkles, sun damage and facial redness lead the types of conditions treated with over 2.2 million treatments performed.

The survey also reported other ground-breaking treatments which include non-surgical options supporting hair rejuvenation such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) with over 72,000 procedures. A collagen induction therapy called microneedling is becoming more popular, showing a 45 percent increase over 2017 data with more than 262,000 treatments performed. Thread lifts – an innovative treatment wherein temporary sutures visibly lift the skin around the face – are gaining awareness with nearly 33,000 procedures performed.

“The coupling of scientific research and technology are driving innovative options for consumers seeking non-invasive cosmetic treatments,” said Dr. Alam. “ASDS board-certified dermatologists offer medical guidance the public can trust, helping each unique patient choose the right procedures for the health and beauty of their skin.”

To see the survey’s full results, visit

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About the Survey
Data were collected for the 2018 experience and generalized to represent all ASDS members. The survey was conducted January 15, 2019, to May 21, 2019, for data reported in 2018. The survey link was sent to 3,853 practicing members. Survey results are reported based on 596 physicians, or a 15 percent response rate.

About the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS)
The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) is the largest specialty organization exclusively representing dermatologic surgeons who have unique training and experience to treat the health, function and beauty of your skin. ASDS members are pioneers in the field. Many are involved in the clinical studies that bring popular treatments to revitalize skin and fill and diminish wrinkles to the forefront. Their work has helped create and enhance many of the devices that remove blemishes, hair and fat, and tighten skin. Dermatologic surgeons also are experts in skin cancer prevention, detection and treatment. As the incidence of skin cancer rises, dermatologic surgeons are committed to taking steps to minimize the life-threatening effects of this disease. For more information, visit

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About the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA)
With a membership of 6,400+ physicians, ASDSA is a 501(c) (6) association, dedicated to education and advocacy on behalf of dermatologic surgeons and their patients. For more information, visit