New IMSA definition and 3 key trends

The International Medical Spa Association has revised its definition of a medical spa to cover those providing medical oversight for medical services. IMSA has also identified the three most notable spa trends for 2019: natural beauty, technology, and personalisation.

The International Medical Spa Association, an association with over 1000 members worldwide, has revised its definition of a medical spa. It is now:

“A medical spa is a facility that provides medical oversight for medical services. Healthcare professionals and staff operate within their scope of practice, defined by their individual licensing board if licensure is required. The facility may offer traditional, complementary, and alternative health practices and treatments in a spa-like setting.”

Spas around the world are generating over US$99 billion in revenue each year and, this market is set to maintain a growth rate of 6% during the period 2019-2023. This means that the prospects for individual spa businesses to grow their own revenues are good. Conversely though it also means that the competition within the industry will increase.

IMSA says adapting to major beauty industry trends is exactly what spas need to keep their business profitable. In 2019 the most notable of those trends are likely to be natural beauty, technology, and personalisation.

Natural Beauty

The demand for natural beauty solutions is growing, with celebrities and fashion opinion leaders supporting and providing ‘no-makeup’ looks.

In 2019 the imperative will be to focus on offering treatments that benefit the complexion so well that no makeup will be necessary. IMSA says that spas can complement those treatments by giving customers advice on how to enhance their natural beauty further. By providing daily skincare tips that people can put to use at home without paying more could boost customer loyalty to the spa.

The natural beauty trend is not only about looking good without makeup, it is also about using beauty products made from natural and/or organic ingredients.

Technological Beauty

Technology is evolving in the beauty industry, with solutions ranging from intelligent gadgets such as smart mirrors, to advanced systems such as the Skintuition platform from Cambridge for skin diagnostics.


Personalisation is a leading trend, as consumers today want individualised treatment from businesses. Spas can respond positively to this by improving their customer service as well as developing customised products and service packages aligned to the customer’s needs.

Spas are combining personalisation with tech using a variety of VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) solutions, including for example using specialised software to let people see exactly how makeup will look on them before any products are applied.