Women aren't the only ones who want to revitalize their looks. Men want rejuvenated faces, too -- and in higher numbers they're seeking cosmetic treatments to achieve a younger, smoother look.
"Men today are more interested in all aspects of their appearance. They're paying attention not just to their clothing but to everything, including their faces," said Michael Eidelman, M.D., a member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery whose New York City practice treats many men. "Men are now asking for treatments my women patients have been getting for years."
These procedures include soft-tissue fillers to restore volume in the face and soften facial creases, plus wrinkle-relaxing injections to smooth and relax wrinkles and lines.
"There's been a huge upswing in wrinkle-relaxers over the years, and we're seeing an appreciable increase in fillers as well. The treatment is relatively easy, and there is little downtime," Eidelman said.
Other dermatologists also are treating more men. According to the recently released ASDS 2013 Survey on Dermatologic Procedures, ASDS member dermatologists performed nearly 1 million soft-tissue fillers last year. Ten percent of the treatments were for men, compared to 8 percent in 2012.
In both years, men made up 11 percent of patients having wrinkle-relaxing injections.
The competitive workplace, a desire to freshen their look or simply wanting to look less tired all contribute to the trend, Eidelman said.
"A number of clients have told me, 'I'm 50-something competing against 30-year-olds. I want to look my best.' Or they want to look current to fit in with the younger generation."
Terrence Keaney, M.D., treats the vast majority of the male patients at the Washington (D.C.) Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, and he helped launch a cosmetic and dermatologic laser surgery center for men. He, too, has seen growth in the number of men seeking to improve their appearance, from clothing to medical aesthetics.
"Men are slowly coming around," he said. "They see that treatment can be very successful."
Beyond the results they see in others, many men also like knowing that certain filler treatments are reversible. Eidelman said few patients ask to return to the way they looked before treatment, but knowing they can provides a certain level of comfort.
"There's a perception that people who have 'work done' will look obviously altered, and that's just not the case," he said. "We can do lots of things to help men soften their looks and look more vibrant without looking 'overdone.' "
Keaney said the misconception many men have that fillers will feminize their appearance is fading. "Treatments can very effectively augment and maintain masculine features," he said.
Both physicians urged patients not to entrust their faces to just anyone. Dermatologic surgeons are experts in the health, beauty and function of the skin with extensive training and education, Eidelman said. "We can set realistic expectations," he said. "We know both the art and science of medicine, and we know about the newest products and techniques."
Anatomy and physiology dictate procedures for men are not the same as those for women, said Keaney.
"The 'ideal' man's face is different than the 'ideal' woman's face," he said. "Dermatologic surgeons study these differences, study how people age, how to treat patients appropriately."
He wants to expand the academic study and clinical care provided to male dermatology patients.
Both see the trend toward men choosing treatments continuing to grow. Men in the 20-to-40 age range already are more aware of their appearance, buying higher end clothing and adopting a skin care regimen, Keaney said. "As they age, you'll really see them turning to aesthetic procedures."
"More men see how great their friends, their business associates look," said Eidelman. "They learn how easy fillers and other treatments can be and how little downtime is involved. And they want to look that good, too."
• The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) is the largest specialty organization exclusively representing dermatologic surgeons. For more information, visit www.asds.net.