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Anti-aging treatments stretch the definition of natural

By Guy Montague-Jones , 06-Aug-2007

For many US consumers growing old naturally does not necessarily mean avoiding anti-aging products altogether, concluded a recent Focalyst study.

The market research firm estimated that 31 million Americans believe that everyone should age naturally, but nevertheless plan to buy anti-aging products during the coming year.

After surveying 30,000 adults over the age of 42, the report estimated that 48 million mature consumers plan to buy anti-aging products in the next twelve months.

Based on this figure, the research company estimated that these Americans will spend over $4bn over the coming year on anti-aging products.

Remarkably, 65 percent of those who said they planned to buy anti-aging products in the year ahead also said they thought that everyone should just age naturally.

Many anti-aging products are simply moisturizers with sun protection, which perhaps explains why so many people do not consider it unnatural to use them.

Commenting on the conclusion of the survey, Heather Stern from Focalyst said: "We are seeing a true dichotomy between attitudes and behaviors around appearance and aging.

"This is particularly true among Boomers, who may perceive methods of fighting aging through any means that is not surgical or invasive as still being natural."

Indeed, surgical procedures seem to appeal to a small minority. Only 2 per cent of the survey respondents said they were planning to fight the effects of time with plastic surgery or botox injections.

The survey also explored the influence of ethnicity on attitudes, with Asian-American women standing out as a key target group for producers of anti-aging creams and treatments. People from this category were about twice as likely to plan to buy such products.

Dividing the anti-aging market into two age brackets revealed that older Americans were less concerned about holding back the aging process. Those respondents aged 42 to 60 were 50 percent more likely to be planning to buy anti-aging products than those in the over-60 group.

Nonetheless, recent research from L'Oreal indicated that more and more older women are buying age-defying lotions and creams. The cosmetics giant reported that around 40 percent of 65 to 69 year olds used an anti-aging cream in 2005, compared to just 20 per cent in 1996.

The anti-aging market continues to grow and is now worth $56bn worldwide, according to FIND/SVP. On the back of this trend the first consumer magazine dedicated to anti-aging products and services, ELIXIR, was launched in the UK this February.

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