David McDaniel, a dermatologist in Virginia Beach, Va., recalls an awkward scene in which a husband bumped into his wife at Dr. McDaniel’s office. Both were there for Botox, but the husband hadn’t told his wife he was getting treated. The man quickly threw his arm around Dr. McDaniel, pretending the doctor was an old buddy he had stopped by to visit.
“Men are stealthy,” Dr. McDaniel says.
However stealthily, men are having a little work done in increasing numbers these days, plastic surgeons and dermatologists say. Total cosmetic procedures for men rose 22% from 2000 through 2012, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
From 2011 to 2012, men’s use of minimally invasive cosmetic procedures, including botulinum toxin (sold under the brand name Botox), rose 6%, according to the society.
One theory for the trend: pressure to look young to find employment. While the unemployment rate for people 55 and older is lower than for other ages, it takes baby boomers much longer to find work if they lose their jobs. The duration of unemployment for job seekers 55 and over is 50.4 weeks, compared with 34.2 weeks for those under 55, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by Sara Rix of the AARP Public Policy Institute.
Women visit plastic surgeons, too, of course, and face similar pressures at work. Men account for just 9% of overall cosmetic-procedure patients, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Dr. McDaniel does laser skin resurfacing on the faces of men who have done too many rounds on the golf course without wearing sunscreen. He sees men in their early 30s for “pre-juvenation,” or treatments such as micro-dermabrasion designed to delay the onset of wrinkles.
Cosmetic treatments generally aren’t covered by health-insurance plans. Botox is typically sold either by the unit or per treatment area—a dosage for crow’s feet, for example. One unit costs around $15, says J. Shah, a doctor of anti-aging medicine and chief medical director of Amari Medical in Scarsdale, N.Y. Areas might cost $200 or more to treat. Treating laugh lines around the eyes alone would cost less than laugh lines plus forehead and frown lines, for example. Facial fillers that minimize the appearance of wrinkles are sold by the syringe and typically run $500 to $600 per vial, with a usual minimum of two shots per treatment, Dr. Shah says.
One catch: As with gray roots, wrinkles resurface. Botox typically lasts about three months, while fillers can last about a year, Dr. Shah says.
Men have a tendency, doctors say, to make the mistake of shopping for cosmetic procedures the way they shop for cars. It isn’t a matter of getting the best price for a menu of features, experts say. Fillers and Botox aren’t commodities that perform the same no matter who injects them, and even “minimally invasive” procedures can go wrong in unskilled hands. (Think of a frozen look from bad Botox, or “duck lips” from too much filler).
Dermatologists and plastic surgeons have plenty of competition these days when it comes to administering cosmetic treatments, from dentists to medical-spa technicians who aren’t doctors or nurses. Unsurprisingly, experts say the doctors who get the best results tend to be those who specialize in cosmetic procedures and do them all day long.
Some doctors also advise patients to go to a practitioner who offers a full range of cosmetic treatments, from minimally invasive to more involved procedures, such as face-lifts. Eric Swanson, a plastic surgeon in Kansas City, Kan., sees men in their mid-60s who want to get rid of their “turkey wattle.” In these cases, injections usually aren’t the answer and a face-lift is needed instead, says Dr. Swanson, a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Face-lifts are pricier, running between $8,000 in some parts of the country to the $20,000 charged by some New York City or Beverly Hills doctors.
Such procedures last longer, but require more down time, which may be tough to fit in to an executive’s schedule. For his part, Dr. Swanson thinks patients are fine with this: “They want results.”
The article was written by ELIZABETH O’BRIEN and published in the Wall Street Journal on October 17, 2013