Los Angeles is home to a booming medical industry.
And the demand for skin care in the city has grown exponentially.
But with an average of 1.5 million people per year spending $15,000 or more for cosmetic treatments, the demand can be overwhelming, especially for those with limited income.
That’s why a growing number of people are turning to routine skin care as a way to make ends meet, even as they struggle to pay for their expensive treatments.
The industry in Los Angeles has seen its share of busts.
In the first quarter of 2019, the city recorded $16.5 billion in revenue, according to a study by consulting firm McKinsey & Co. In 2018, the year before the outbreak, the industry was worth $12.9 billion.
But as the demand has grown, so has the cost.
In fact, McKinsey said that as of early March 2019, skin care treatments would cost an average $1,500, or nearly $100 more than they did in 2018.
For patients with disposable income, there’s a growing perception that skin care should be affordable.
But for those living paycheck to paycheck, that’s not always true.
That’s why it’s important to make the most of your time with your skin care regimen, says Lisa Zemmer, executive director of the Association of Cosmetic Surgeons, which represents more than 50,000 cosmetic surgeons.
The group advocates for skin-care consumers and has called for the elimination of the $1 billion barrier that prevents doctors and other professionals from charging patients for their care.
In fact, some of the most common barriers doctors face in their treatment of patients with skin conditions include the cost of a lab, which can be difficult to find, and the difficulty of getting insurance, which is expensive to cover.
In Los Angeles, where the median household income is just $53,000, a basic lab, a CT scan, and other tests can cost between $5,000 and $7,000.
The cost of treating a patient with an existing skin condition can run up to $100,000 a year, Zemfer said.
If your skin condition is an incurable disease, it’s even more of a problem, because you can’t just get the treatment on the spot and hope for the best, said Michael McElwain, executive vice president of the Cosmetic Institute of Southern California, which has about 2,000 members and is one of the largest skin care clinics in the world.
“We’re seeing this increasing trend where skin care is getting pushed to the edge of the insurance coverage,” McElwarain said.
“This means that people are getting treated at home and having to make difficult choices about whether to have an insurance cover or not.”
Zemmer said that for people in Los Angels who have a limited income, it can be even more challenging to pay the full cost of skin care, especially if they have a family or friends to cover the bill.
“It’s a great time to start the process of getting the money to cover skin care costs,” Zemmers said.
But even though the industry is booming, some cosmetic surgeons and others say that the barriers they face can be insurmountable.
In addition to the high cost of getting a skin test, a lab test, or a CT-scan, there are also other barriers that can limit a doctor’s ability to provide effective treatment for skin conditions, like the ability to find insurance coverage for a particular treatment.
In many cases, it might be too late to get insurance for a treatment, or the doctor may not have the time or expertise to do it, according the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery.
In some cases, the hospital or clinic may be unwilling to accept insurance.
And as more people find themselves at the bottom of the financial totem pole, more people are looking to dermatologists for help.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of patients coming to us for skin treatments in recent years,” said John Avila, CEO of the Los Angeles Cosmetic Institute.
He said that more than 5,000 people a week are going to a dermatologist to get a skin treatment, a jump from 2,600 patients a week in 2018, when the industry began.
Zemmers, McElwerain, and others agree that the demand is there, and that more people will be able to afford skin care once the cost comes down.
“I think it’s inevitable,” McEllen said.
The industry is working to change the way patients and providers shop for their skin care products.
For example, it has started offering skin care tips in the form of an online magazine, called Dermatology 101.
McElwalers said the magazine will help dermatologists identify and educate their patients about how to properly use the products they use.
“There are some things that dermatologists do that they may not necessarily know how to do, like using lip balm in