Understanding the Female Asian American Facial Aesthetic Patient

July 2019 | Volume 18 | Issue 7 | Original Article | 633 | Copyright © July 2019

Annie Chiu MD,a Kavita Mariwalla MD,b Andrea Hui-Austin MD,c Vic Narurkar MD,d† Carola de la Guardia PhDe

ªThe Derm Institute, North Redondo Beach, CA 

BMariwalla Dermatology, West Islip, NY

cBay Area Cosmetic Dermatology, San Francisco, CA

DBay Area Laser Institute, San Francisco, CA Deceased prior to journal submission

EAllergan plc, Marlow, UK


Background: As facial aesthetic procedures have become more widely accepted, the racial and ethnic diversity of aesthetic patient populations has increased. Asian Americans represent a growing segment of this population and have specific aesthetic concerns that should be differentiated from the broader Caucasian population. 

An online study was designed to survey facial aesthetic concerns, treatment priorities, and future treatment considerations among a US-based population of Asian American women.

Materials and Methods:
A total of 403 participants ages 30 to 65 years reported perspectives on facial aging, current facial conditions, most bothersome facial areas, most/least likely to be treated first, awareness of treatment options and consideration rates, and motives/barriers impacting the consideration rate of injectable treatments. 

Treatment interests reflected predominant issues; uneven skin tone, wrinkles, and sun damage. Most bothersome facial areas included the periorbital area, forehead, and submental area, and also among areas designated as most likely to treat first. The majority of participants would consider injectables. However, safety/side effects, cost, and concerns about not looking natural were primary barriers.

Understanding the aesthetic concerns and priorities specific to Asian American women may help guide treatment plans more aligned with the goals and expectations of this patient population. 

J Drugs Dermatol. 2019;18(7):633-641. 


As the number of aesthetic procedures increases, it is important for physicians to understand who comprises the expanding population seeking such treatments. In recent years it is clear that as procedures become more widely accepted and commonplace, the patient population seeking them has also grown in terms of its racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. While many published treatment algorithms in the US are suitable for Caucasian patients, there are far fewer that focus on the aesthetic concerns and needs specific to the Asian patient. In addition, very little data exists focusing on Asian Americans which is a broad community of people representing several countries.

Over the past decade, the total number of Asian patients who received cosmetic procedures in the US increased by 33% with a growing number of younger patients (ie, 18 to 40 years of age) among them.1-3 A predominance of minimally-invasive facial aesthetic treatments has grown to represent at least 90% of all cosmetic procedures performed in the US in 2017.1 Similar to this trend in aesthetics, Asian patients primarily seek non-surgical, minimally-invasive treatment modalities, and express concerns for maintaining a natural appearance.3

The descriptor “Asian American” encompasses a diverse population with ethnic origins in East Asia (eg, China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan), South Asia (eg, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka), and Southeast Asia (eg, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines). Among this diverse population, there is also a wide range of facial morphologies and Fitzpatrick Skin Phototypes (FSPs).4 Importantly, variations in skin type and underlying structural anatomy impact the rate, pattern, and severity of facial aging among different ethnicities.5-8 However, social and cultural influences ultimately have a defining influence in perceptions of beauty and motivations for seeking treatment.9-11 For the aesthetic physician, understanding not only the structural and cutaneous components of aging