Men look at themselves in the mirror too, but usually with the doors closed. They tend to be more private about their appearances than women are. Women will talk freely about their wardrobe, weight, or interest in cosmetics and plastic surgery. Men may skirt these issues, but don’t be misled – mens’ attitudes have changed. They are more aware of their appearances than ever before.
In the past, the aging male (think Clint Eastwood or Sean Connery) was considered “distinguished looking” because his crow’s feet gave him “character.” The aging woman, however, was looked at as just being old. Since women develop wrinkles instead of “character” as they age, age reversing options became paramount to them. As a result, women long ago discovered the value of preserving their youthful appearances with regular skin care and spa services, fitness and cosmetic surgery; all to prevent that worn, tired look before it ever arrives. As a result, men no longer joke about “turning in their 50-year-old wife for two 25-year-olds.” The joke is now on them when their wives are mistaken for their daughters! Reality strikes to the bone – you’re looking old and she’s looking great.
The market for products and procedures servicing male vanity is approaching $10 billion dollars annually. Yet this is still only the tip of the iceberg. With most baby boomers approaching 50, and Generation X and Nexers not far behind, the potential market for male vanity is explosive. So just what are men buying with that bundle of $10 billion dollars?
- Baldness Pills and Solutions, such as Propecia and Rogaine
- Hair Replacement in the form of hair transplants, hair extensions, hairpieces and other hair rejuvenation surgeries
- Salons not only for haircuts but manicures, pedicures, hair coloring, facials and back waxing
- Grooming Products for hair care, skin care, cosmetics, fragrances and powders
- Spa Services like massage, facials, aromatherapy and even balenotherapy (a blend of oils, mineralized sea salts and algae homogenized in a hydrotherapy tub)
- Cosmetic Surgery Men are discovering that they, too, can benefit from today’s cosmetic surgical and laser procedures. It only makes common sense that baggy eyes, a saggy neck and paunchy abdomen are just as unattractive on a man as they are on a woman. In today’s competitive business world, many men believe that their appearances directly impact their careers, and the business and executive community is getting younger every year. The burned-out looking executive may lose out on promotion and raise opportunities to younger looking, more energetic colleagues. This is the overwhelming reason why interest in cosmetic surgery among men constitutes the fastest growing segment of cosmetic surgery patients. Most surgeons have seen the percentages of male patients increase from 5% in 1990 to 20% in 1998. Increased consumer demand, public acceptance of cosmetic surgery (65% say they have had or would consider it), reduced cost and improved techniques of cosmetic surgery account for this surge in volume. Cosmetic surgery trends indicate that certain procedures are of greatest interest to men. These include:
- Eyelid surgeries are the most common and often give the most dramatic, immediate results. The procedure blepharoplasty removes the bags and drooping eyelids producing an alert, rested, refreshed appearance with a minimal recovery time. Blepharoplasty represents 20% of all male cosmetic procedures.
- Liposuction is the next most common male procedure, constituting at 18% of all male procedures. The most common sites to be auctioned are the “love handles” around the waist.
- Nose shaping (rhinoplasty), ear reshaping (otoplasty), cheek and chin implants make up 15% of procedures. Breast reduction accounts for 10%, while forehead and facelifts make up another 10% of all male procedures.
- Laser skin smoothing and hair removal are the fastest growing male cosmetic procedures. In a zap of light, the sun damage and wrinkles are vaporized into cosmic smoke. Similarly, men are rushing to have a new laser light to abolish unwanted body hair.
- But that’s not all, folks! Botox injections, wrinkle injection, pectoral implants, calf implants, six pack contouring and penile enlargement have recently surged in demand.
In my practice, I find men to be more goal-oriented than women with regard to cosmetic surgery. They have a specific reason for wanting surgery, they don’t ask many questions, they don’t doctor shop and they spend less time at office visits. When they are done, you don’t see them again until they want another procedure.
The men’s market for cosmetic surgery is now two-thirds the size of the women’s, but is growing faster. As men explore the possibilities of self-improvement, they find that cosmetic surgery can boost self-esteem and self-confidence. Many couples even find the time and opportunities to investigate and enjoy all of the cosmetic opportunities together. It enjoyable, healthy and brings the sexes closer together as they share improvement in their lifestyles and appearances. And as the saying goes, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Dr. Richard W Maloney is a board certified plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the face and neck.