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Cosmetics trade develops worry lines as make-up and plastic surgery sales slump

The cosmetic industry appears to be the latest victim of the recession – for those who wield the knife and those who wield the lipstick.

Yesterday, a cosmetics manufacturer in south Wales announced it was shedding more than 200 jobs because of a sales slump. The Budelpack COSi factory in Maesteg, near Bridgend, said it would be laying off 81 permanent staff in the coming weeks. It has already cut back 150 agency staff in the past two months.

Its Dutch owner Budelpack International, which bought the former Revlon factory last November, said it was "restructuring" the business after a 25 per cent drop in sales in recent months. Interim site director Steve Williams said: "It is very unfortunate that we have to restructure but in the current economic climate these changes are unavoidable." There are 417 full-time employees on the site.

Across the Atlantic, in the spiritual home of cosmetic surgery, plastic surgeons reported that they were also feeling the pinch, saying there had been a significant drop in a range of cosmetic procedures. About 60 per cent of plastic surgeons quizzed by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons said they performed fewer cosmetic procedures in the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year.

Breast-augmentation and liposuction procedures were down, according to about 60 per cent of the 385 doctors asked, and nearly half said they had performedfewer nose jobs.

Dr Richard A D'Amico, the president of the plastic surgery society, said the downward trend was likely to worsen and that it had started as the economy slowed earlier this year. He told The New York Times: "We won't see the bottom until the first quarter of 2009. It's not a pretty picture."

Demand for Botox is also down in the States, according to analysts from the healthcare investment bank Leerink Swann. Its survey found that doctors had reported a 12 per cent decline in the face-freezing jobs this September compared to September 2007.