The secret is out. Long gone are the days of a female-only clientele in the cosmetic and laser office. Men have discovered the fountain of youth and are
now making their presence known in the aesthetic world.
The use of minimally invasive cosmetic procedures in men has increased substantially over the past decade. This means that males, like their female counterparts, are choosing to undergo treatment to enhance their appearance with fillers (Restylane, Juvederm, Radiesse), neurotoxins (Botox and Dysport), chemical peels, and lasers.
Nowadays, it isn’t unusual to come across lotions and potions in the department store marketed “for men” because of the increase in demand. Medical spas labeled “for men only” are popping up all around the country. Looking at these trends, one may ask, “Do men really need cosmetic treatments, and why are they becoming so popular in this demographic?”
In order to answer whether or not aesthetic treatments may be beneficial for
males, we must first visit the skin on a cellular level. Although men experience
typical wrinkling and volume loss that women do, there are some differences.
Researchers have found that males possess thicker superficial layers of the skin.
Moreover, there is evidence of dermal thickness deterioration starting 30 years
earlier in males than females. In women, the dermal thickness remains steady
until menopause, after which a rapid decline occurs.
Higher amounts of androgen hormones in males are responsible for oilier
skin and larger pore size. In comparison to females, men have a lower skin pH
and are prone to more robust skin discoloration after UV exposure. For these
reasons, there are skin care products tailored to the specific needs of men.
It is important for men to understand that their skin is not as tough as once
thought, and that it does deserve a little TLC every now and then.
For years, men didn’t take advantage of cosmetic procedures, simply because
they were never asked, were too embarrassed or simply were too “macho” to
inquire. Over the last few years, we have seen more men asking about aesthetic
treatments. Globally, aesthetic procedures are on the rise, exposing men to
cosmetics through their significant others and in turn prompting them to seek
Currently men make up 6 percent of the neurotoxin and 5 percent of the dermal
filler procedures performed. Clearly, a change is happening. There are many
reasons why men may seek aesthetic treatments, including increasing concerns
about age discrimination in the workplace. The U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission has reported a steady increase in charges filed for age
discrimination. Many men may feel the pressure to maintain a more youthful appearance in order to keep or land a job.
Today’s society is in tune with the way we are perceived by others. A vast
majority of our male clientele are seeking treatment because they are told by
others that they look “angry” because of their accentuated scowl lines. They are
concerned about this perception in the workplace and at home. In our practice,
some men seek cosmetic treatment to simply enhance their appearance and
The presence of males in our Cosmetic and Laser Center practice is testament
to the new norm. We also frequently treat men for skin discoloration, facial
redness, facial blood vessel destruction, skin tightening and softening of dynamic
Cosmetic treatments no longer come with the stigma of being called a “metrosexual,” as evidenced by the many masculine gentlemen who partake in
aesthetic procedures today. Regardless of age or socioeconomic status, men are
taking the initiative to make a change in their appearance.
While the saying goes, “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus,” both
genders should agree on one thing: Aesthetics are essential for everyone.
Dr. Fenske is professor and chairman of USF Health Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, and medical director of the USF Health Cosmetic and Laser Center.
Neil Alan Fenske, MD