Impact of Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Cosmetic Procedures on Consumers

Dermatol Surg. 2021 Oct 1;47(10):1384-1386. doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000003143.


Background: Direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising is a prominent type of health care communication.

Objective: This study aims to determine the impact of DTC advertisements on consumer opinion.

Methods: A total of 203 participants were recruited from dermatology clinics at an urban academic center. Participants viewed 2 cosmetically oriented DTC advertisements, and prequestionnaires and postquestionnaires were administered to assess consumer opinion.

Results: Postquestionnaire data highlight a 18.8% and 24.6% increase in participants reporting using commercials as an information source (p < .001) and seeking out additional medical knowledge (p < .001), respectively. After watching the advertisements, there was a 14.4% increase in participants who believed advertisements facilitate better discussions between patients and physicians (p < .001) and a 33% increase in patients reporting they would discuss the procedures with their doctors (p < .001). Of the participants, 60% believed the advertisements did not provide enough information about the possible risks of the product and 39.4% believed a physician was not required to perform cosmetic procedures.

Conclusion: Direct-to-consumer advertisements instill meaningful information to patients and promote patient-physician communication. They also seem to exaggerate the benefits while making the procedures seem simple and without risks, suggesting trained medical professionals are not needed for administration.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Cosmetic Techniques / economics
  • Cosmetic Techniques / psychology*
  • Cosmetic Techniques / statistics & numerical data
  • Direct-to-Consumer Advertising*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / statistics & numerical data