Russia’s plastic surgery industry hit by Western sanctions
Russia ranks ninth in the world for the number of cosmetic procedures performed each year
When it comes to looking good, Russian women are happy to spend even a little plastic surgery.
But Western sanctions following the Russian military intervention in Ukraine mean that the supply of products such as botox and breast implants – largely imported from countries such as the United States and Germany – could become increasingly more difficult to obtain.
“My beautician assures us that she still has stocks of botox,” she told AFP.
Russia ranks ninth in the world for the number of cosmetic procedures performed each year – 621,600 in 2020, according to the International Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Shortly after President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine on February 24, US drugmaker AbbVie, which is behind anti-wrinkle treatment Botox, withdrew from the booming Russian market following this which he described as “tragic events” in Ukraine.
Frangulova said it “causes concern for clinic managers accustomed to using this benchmark product.”
“In March, we saw panic among patients, doctors and providers,” said Oksana Vlasova, director of development at Grandmed beauty clinic in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city.
In April and May, there were no botox imports, said Nikolay Bespalov of RNC Pharma, which analyzes the Russian pharmaceutical market.
Russians also lack some Western-made facial fillers, especially hyaluronic acid injections for lip plumping – a very popular procedure in the country.
It is also increasingly difficult to obtain breast implants, due to the lack of Russian producers.
The sanctions are not aimed at the supply of implants, but disrupted logistics and other factors have affected both breast reconstruction and cosmetic operations.
– Patriotic breasts –
Saversky predicted that the problems will soon apply to the rest of the healthcare industry.
Rampant inflation and an uncertain future are also creating problems for beauty professionals, as Russians have started to tighten their belts.
“People’s incomes have gone down,” she said.
But amid dark times, plastic surgeon Dobreikin sees an opportunity.
At the end of May, he launched the idea of ”RosGrud” (Russian breasts) implants, which instead of being translucent are in the colors of the Russian flag or military fatigues.
“It’s my way of defending my homeland,” she said.
Dobreikin warns against mockery of his project, alluding to the harsh penalties introduced in the country for anyone who criticizes the military.