Women have traditionally been attracted to cosmetic surgery and procedures to hold back the years and boost confidence, but an increasing number of men are heading through the clinic doors. Heather Stephen found out why.
There was a time when men wouldn’t have been seen anywhere near a dermatology clinic and they would never have dreamed of going for a nip and tuck.
How times have changed. According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) the number of men having plastic surgery has nearly doubled in the last decade to more than 4600 procedures performed in 2015. It’s up 13% of the previous year and represents about 9% of the total number of procedures performed. It says the most popular operations for men are eyelid surgery, nose jobs, breast reductions or ‘moob jobs’ and liposuction.
And while you might think it’s the younger ‘selfie’ generation who are responsible for the growth, a Department of Health report found the biggest increase in number was in men over 35.
So why is it that men are becoming more willing to invest in clinic treatments and surgery?
Authors of a report into regulation of cosmetic procedures found ‘it was particularly clear that both television programmes such as ‘TOWIE’ and interest in celebrity culture were playing a role in both making cosmetic procedures topical and building levels of awareness.’
Dr Shirin Lakhani has seen a marked rise in men coming to her clinic Elite Aesthetics in Greenhithe, Kent. The proportion of her male clients has tripled over the last two years from less than five per cent to 15 per cent and she believes this is due to men being influenced by the media and inspired by the pleasing cosmetic results experienced by their partners.
‘Men see people like David Beckham in the press and are becoming more aware of how their appearance. With men that come to me a lot of their partners have already been having treatments for a long time and they think ‘well, she looks good so why shouldn’t I look after myself too?’
Dr Lakhani says although men are becoming more willing to try aesthetic treatments they tend to be quite secretive about.
‘Men are less open about having treatment,’ she says. ‘They tend to sneak into the clinic or tell people ‘I’m just here waiting for my partner’.
What men want
But despite the reluctance to fess up Dr Lakhani says increasing numbers of men are coming to her clinic for a wide range of procedures from the ‘P-Shot’ (Priapus Shot), where plasma is injected into the penis to boost size and performance, to facial fillers and non-surgical liposuction.
And she says, ‘A lot of men just come in for skin care to clear up their acne or rosacea.’
Dr Leah Totton who runs the Dr Leah clinics with Lord Sugar says her London clinic has always had a high percentage of male clients because of its location in the heart of the city.
‘About 40 per cent of clients are men and they almost always want Botox – either to treat lines or over the whole face for hyperhidrosis, a condition which causes excessive sweating. Hair transplants are really popular too,’ she says.
Dr Totton thinks the rising divorce rate and job insecurity because of Brexit is behind the increase in men seeking cosmetic treatments.
‘Men are under increased social pressure to look as young as possible for longer,’ she says. ‘They might want to look good for online dating and are very aware of younger men in the workplace snapping at their heels.’
Dr Ross Perry, founder of the Cosmedics group of clinics, has seen a similar increased demand amongst men from the business sector.
‘We have seen the most rise in numbers at our city clinic when professional men want to maintain or rediscover their youthful complexion,’ he says.
‘Men are seeking more cosmetic treatments, especially Botox and laser based treatments to clear up red blotchy skin on the cheeks and around the nose that can give the impression of drinking too much alcohol.’
But while men are seeking medical cosmetic treatments in increasing numbers they should be careful to select practitioners experienced in treating men to ensure they maintain a manly appearance.
‘There is a difference in male and female features so it is important to respect these when treating men otherwise they can end up looking feminine,’ says Dr Lakhani.
‘Fillers for the cheekbones and lips and liquid facelifts feminise the face so I would never give these men unless that was an effect they were looking for,’ adds Dr Totton.
‘And we commonly increase Botox for men as they have greater muscle bulk and it is injected to keep eyebrows in the normal position rather than raised or arched.
‘Men are very informed about optimising their appearance now,’ says Dr Totton. ‘The image of a clinic as somewhere you go to get your nails done is long gone and men are coming in greater numbers as they are now so much more aware of the benefits these treatments can bring.’
What men are having done:
Men made up 9% of all cosmetic procedures in 2015 and the most popular procedures were:
Number procedure % increase
976 Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) up 15%
812 Rhinoplasty (nose surgery) up 14%
796 Breast Reduction up 13%
586 Liposuction up 20%
521 Otoplasty (ear correction) up 13%
372 Face/Neck Lift up 14%
260 Fat Transfer up up 8%
163 Brow lifts up 15.5%
117 Abdominoplasty up 11%
10 Breast augmentation no change