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  • By Wendy Lewis, Beauty In The Bag

    We have heard of ‘moobs’ (short for man boobs) and ‘manorexics’ (men obsessed with their body fat), and the ubiquitous metrosexuals. Although once considered taboo, men are becoming a major force in the realm of anti aging treatments ranging from cosmeceutical men’s skincare to SmartLipo and plastic surgery.

    Male interest in looking after their skin, faces and bodies is partially fueled by the natural course of baby boomers who refuse to age like their parents. Stiff competition for jobs and the need to defer retirement for a few more years as the economy stabilizes factor into their desire to maintain their health and vitality for longer. The attention given to procedures being offered for men has changed the mindset of the average guy from total apathy to rising interest bordering on obsession in some cases. There are more day spas catering to male clientele, upscale barbers offering massages, exfoliating facials and reflexology, and specialized pampering treatments geared just for guys. Of course, this mega trend of male grooming is also driven by women eager to see the men in their lives take more pride in their appearance.

    According to New York City Facial Plastic Surgeon Sam Rizk, M.D., F.A.C.S., (http://www.drsamrizk.com), “Men actually have a lot of the same concerns about the signs of aging as they relate to their image as women do, but they approach it slightly differently. Women will talk to their friends and follow what celebrities and beauty experts are doing. Men tend to do their research online before they make any decisions, and rarely discuss it with each other or admit to it later on.”

    In typical male fashion, they want the process of rejuvenation to be made easy for them without too many steps or products to buy into. They are less inclined to make long term commitments to time-consuming repetitive treatments, especially if there is travel or waiting time involved. Even more so than women, time saving and convenience rank high among men. They are not brand loyal and price, speed, and proximity are more important to men than the total experience. Whereas women are programmed from birth to invest in their beauty rituals, men want to see results fast with as little fuss as possible.

    Even when they want to take the plunge from just using deodorant into investing in a skincare regimen, they rarely know where to start and are often embarrassed to ask for advice. When it comes to ingredients, they don’t know a pentapeptide from a polyphenol, and they probably don’t care either. Multi tasking products such a daily moisturizer with SPF or shower gel that doubles as shampoo rank high among men who are quite happy to keep the number of products they use to a minimum. Men are also much less likely than women to have regular visits with a dermatologist or skincare specialist for maintenance.

    According to Beverly Hills, California dermatologist Zein Obagi, M.D., Founder of ZO Skin Health, “Men have an increasing incidence of skin cancer since they have the worst track record for performing monthly self exams or visiting a dermatologist every six months to a year for a body check. They tend to be more active and spend more time outside and need to be encouraged to wear a high SPF on exposed areas such as lips, nose, ears and scalp. It is more challenging to drive the message home to male patients on the importance of using broad spectrum sunscreen consistently, and to use enough of it to adequately protect their skin.” ZO Skin Health actually offer a 3 pack of their award-winning Oclipse Sunscreen SPF50 + Primer that is tailor made for men who may forget to replenish their stock. They can keep one bottle in their bathroom, toss one in their gym locker, and keep a third one in a golf bag, glove compartment or boat. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the number one cancer in men over age 50, ahead of prostate, lung and colon cancer. Men who have had the misfortune of being treated for basal cell carcinoma or who have a history of skin cancer in their family are more compliant about sun avoidance.

    Manly skin concerns also go deeper; male skin doesn’t wrinkle as early as the fairer sex because it tends to be thicker, oilier, hairier, and sweatier, with larger pores. In fact, acne and rosacea are among the most common skin complaints that drive men to seek professional help. As Dr. Obagi explains, “Clogged or enlarged pores, blackheads, and acne flare-ups are a problem for teenage boys as well as adult men. Too much sebum causes oily skin and when combined with bacteria, will result in frequent lesions on the forehead, cheeks, chin, shoulders and back. Offects® TE-Pads are hydrated in 2% Salicylic Acid which is the highest over-the-counter concentration are popular with men because they exfoliate without irritation and are easy to use twice a day.” Rosacea can also be an embarrassing issue that requires consistent topical therapy to keep it under control, along with light based devices and vascular lasers such as Syneron-Candela VBeam in more advanced cases.

    Ingrown hairs and razor burn from shaving also pose a huge problem for many men. According to Lincolnshire, Illinois dermatologist Amy Taub, M.D.,  “Laser hair removal has come of age and is a fully developed procedure that can yield long-term permanent hair reduction of the face, back, chest, ears and neck for men of all skin types and hair colors.” It has also become increasingly popular for men to request cosmetic medical procedures. Skin tightening treatments like Pelleve® Wrinkle Reduction and non-surgical body shaping like Zeltiq® Coolsculpting are picking up steam among guys, notes Dr. Taub. These office procedures are practically pain-free with no recovery time and they can get back to work quickly without any signs of intervention.

    Although the male threshold for pain, bruising and downtime is limited, injectables as well as surgery among men are definitely on the rise. According to Dr. Rizk, “I have found that more and more men are coming in for BOTOX® for their furrows and Radiesse® or fat grafts for their nasolabial folds.” In fact, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, men had over 750,000 cosmetic procedures in the U.S. in 2010. The actual percentage of men having cosmetic enhancements ranges from 8% to about 15% in a given year. In case you were wondering, Brazil has been ranked as having the most men who undergo cosmetic enhancements – approximately 30%.

    Among surgical procedures, Dr. Rizk says that the number one facial procedure for men is rhinoplasty, followed by eyelids and the lower face and neck. Young men in their 30s who have had a nasal trauma or sports injury, or have hated their hump or prominent nose since adolescence often find themselves more established in their careers and earning potential, and take advantage of having rhinoplasty. He remarks that an increasing number of younger men who have had previous rhinoplasty procedures and were not satisfied, also factor into the growing statistic of men seeking nasal surgery.

    “Men are less bothered by wrinkles, crow’s feet, and skin discoloration, but they zero in on their puffy eyelids and fat deposits that they think make them look tired and older. Men in their 40s and up are also concerned about a turkey gobbler neck and submental fat accumulation. I developed an isolated necklift to address this region that can get them back to work in about a week. I do not place drains and use tissue glue adhesives, so recovery is usually fast and very manageable. They can be on their Blackberries or iPads in 24 hours.” Dr. Rizk also claims that men are reluctant to undergo a full facelift unless they have severe laxity to correct, “Since they rarely want friends and colleagues to know they had surgery and it is more difficult to stay out of circulation for two weeks and to cover up bruising or swelling.” As one would surmise, getting men to follow pre and post surgical instructions and adhere to limitations, such as avoiding nicotine, alcohol, flying and tennis for a few weeks, is an ongoing hurdle for physicians as well as their nursing staff.

    Dr. Rizk adds, “The key to age defiance for men is long term maintenance. I explain it to male patients by comparing having small procedures done when needed to working out; you can’t just go to the gym once in a while to stay in shape. You have to invest in a trainer and work out on a regular basis to keep fit and healthy. I find that men relate to that concept well.”