Morsani College of Medicine

Dermatology & Cutaneous Surgery

Can men, like ladies, benefit from cosmetic procedures? Cosmetics for Men

Cosmetics for Men

The secret is out.  Long gone are the days of 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 (e.g., Restylane®, Juvederm®, Radiesse®), neurotoxins (e.g., Botox® and Dysport®), chemical peels, and lasers.   Nowadays it is not unusual to come across lotions and potions in the department store marketed “for men” due to the increasing demand by the male consumer.  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 with age like their female counterparts, males do indeed exhibit 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 however, the dermal thickness remains steady until menopause, after which a rapid decline occurs.  Higher amounts of androgen hormones in males are responsible for more oily 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 skincare products tailored to the specific needs of men.  Thus, 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 either never asked, were too embarrassed, or simply 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 treatment themselves. Currently men make up 6% of neurotoxin and 5% of dermal filler procedures performed.  Clearly, a change is happening. There are a multitude of reasons as to why men may seek aesthetic treatments, one of them being a mounting concern of age discrimination in the workplace.  The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has reported a steady increase in charges filed for age discrimination.  This being said, 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 clienete are seeking treatment because they are told by others that they look “angry” due to their accentuated scowl lines.  They are concerned with this perception of themselves in the workplace and at home. In our practice some men seek cosmetic treatment to simply enhance their appearance and self-confidence.

The presence of males in our Cosmetic and Laser Center practice is testament to the new norm.   In our experience, we also frequently treat men for skin discoloration, facial redness, facial blood vessel destruction, skin tightening, and softening of dynamic expression lines. Cosmetics 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 now more than ever before. 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.

By: Neil Alan Fenske, MD, Professor and Chairman of USF Health Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, Medical Director of the USF Health Cosmetic and Laser Center

Giacomoni PU, Mammone T, Teri M. Gender-linked differences in human skin [published online ahead of print July 1, 2009]. J of Dermatol Sci. 2009;55:144-149.