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Brotox, fat-freezing… The rise in men’s tweakments – part I

19th July 2023

Every few months, another article heralds the ‘rise of male tweakments’ – declaring that the men are fast catching up with women in pursuit of looking their best selves. What’s interesting is that within the aesthetics industry, there’s a perennial debate about whether men are actually having more procedures or not. So is there a dramatic shift going on just now? I spoke to leading aesthetic practitioners to find out.

What does the data tell us? 

According to the world’s largest association of facial plastic surgeons, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, women do still dominate the industry, but the demand for facial plastic surgery and cosmetic treatments is rising across the board.

In the 2022 member survey, 75% of AAFPRS facial plastic surgeons reported a rise of more than 10% in patient demand, but for 16 of the 18 tracked procedures, interest was still powered by women. Only hair transplantation, perhaps unsurprisingly, was skewed towards men, and otoplasty, surgery to diminish ear prominence, saw interest split more equally.

Men may not be rivalling women in terms of cosmetic demands just yet, but the statistics do suggest that men are at least increasingly curious about tweakments. The latest British Association of Accredited Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) audit demonstrated that while men still only made up 7% of all cosmetic procedures in the UK in 2022, that figure was a 118% rise from 2021.

Practitioners themselves are noticing an increase in male footfall through the clinic door too, with some doctors even increasingly tailoring their resources to men on the hunt for aesthetic enhancements.

 

So, why are men suddenly so much more interested in tweakments? 

Everyone has their individual reasons for seeking treatments, but according to practitioners, there are a few key reasons for increased interest among men right now.

 

  1. Changing beauty standards

Traditionally, the beauty services industry was a very female-orientated affair, but society’s beauty standards have evolved significantly. In fact, rightly or wrongly, a well-groomed, youthful appearance can now provide a competitive edge for men in certain professions.

“I’ve always had a strong male client base but over the past 10 years, I have seen an increase of male patients requesting procedures,” says the plastic surgeon and founder of Mallucci London, Patrick Mallucci. “This has come from a generation that wants to look and feel good. There is no longer a stigma with wanting to invest in your appearance and also an increased understanding that some of the signs of ageing that lead to the loss of masculine facial planes and angles can be maintained through skin boosters, fillers and energy-based devices.”

 

  1. Tackling tweakment taboos

Tweakments are now being more widely discussed across the board, and this means that the societal taboo around them is slowly being broken down. That’s to the benefit of both sexes.

“Male tweakments are definitely on the rise, as well as there being more conversations being had about them,” says the advanced aesthetic doctor and founder of Dr Preema Clinic, Dr Preema Vig. “I have seen an increase in male clients coming to my clinic and wanting to learn more about the different treatments available, whether that be looking at improving their skin or facial enhancements. As many men are now being more outspoken about having treatments, this seems to have opened a door for those who may not have felt comfortable before.”

It’s not just trail-blazing men within your everyday social circles either – male celebrities are becoming more honest about the tweakments they have had. Joe Jonas, Simon Cowell, Gordan Ramsay and Peter Andre have all spoken about their ‘tweaks’, helping destigmatise injectables for men.

 

  1. The pandemic ‘Zoom Boom’ has helped

Another development that affected the entire aesthetics industry was the Coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, many practitioners reference the ‘Zoom Boom’ – where the increase in video calls during lockdown made both men and women more aware of their faces, leading to a surge in demand when clinics reopened.

“I think the pandemic had a huge part to play, particularly for men’s interest in tweakments,” says Mr Mallucci. “As people started to prioritise their health and wanted to be the best version of themselves, they began looking into non-surgical treatments to achieve this.”

 

  1. Men are being targeted for tweaks

Combined with decreased stigma and the normalisation of male grooming practices, clinics are now actively marketing their services to men as well. Some businesses have included ‘male tweakment’ tabs on their sites to make navigation easier, while others are emphasising the unisex capacities of their procedures, by removing gendered language and marketing materials. Sometimes it is as simple as actually seeing more male faces on a practitioner’s website and especially in before-and-after photographs.

“Until recently, 5% was the average of male patients having treatment,” says the aesthetic doctor Dr Joney De Souza. “But, just before the pandemic, at our clinic, 15-20% of patients were male. One important factor was that our advertising previously strongly focused on women. Another reason for this higher rate now is our reputation for very natural results without noticeable changes of facial features, which is at the top of the list for most male patients.”

 

  1. There are more options – and less pain

The aesthetic industry has advanced massively over the past decade or so, meaning that both men and women can get better results: “With advances in technology and medical aesthetics, tweakments are effective, safe and virtually painless, let’s not forget about this little matter. Pain is a no-no! Men tend to not accept the need to undergo a painful procedure requiring downtime,” says multi-award-winning aesthetic doctor Dr Rita Rakus. “Over the past decade, we have seen increasing numbers of male patients at Dr Rakus Clinic. Approximately 30-40 per cent of my patients are men, and I believe it is because we offer such a vast range of technology-based treatments for face and body, and men tend to trust technology.”

There’s also been a reevaluation in technique, as the aesthetic doctor Dr David Jack explains: “Nowadays, most sensible practitioners who treat patients in a subtle way will use fairly light doses of Botox to gently treat the face. In the past (and in some dodgy clinics!) Botox was injected with the aim of completely obliterating all movement in order to treat the lines. For men, in particular, this is a key concern – most men will generally not want to ever look like they’ve had anything done so choosing your practitioner is of key importance.  I’d always go with a personal recommendation, from someone you think looks normal (after treatments), and I’d obviously check the credentials of your doctor to make sure they are GMC registered.”

 

  1. The pressures of social media

Social media has a massive influence on many of our day-to-day lives, as well as our self-perception, as Dr Rakus explains: “Social media filters are not gender specific and often depict men with idealised appearances too. These edited images create a pressure on both men and women to look a certain way, and this exposure has made men more conscious and open to aesthetic treatments.”

In more positive news, social media is becoming a tool for productive information sharing too. “Social media offers a platform that shows the variety of treatments that are now easily accessible, with minimal downtime,” says the aesthetic doctor and founder of Remedi London, Dr Nima Mahmoodi.

Dr Jack agrees: “I’ve noticed that a large proportion of new male patients find me through social media. When I first started doing injectables about 13 years ago, only a few patients were men – now, the proportion is about 30% men, from all sorts of backgrounds. Social media platforms have provided a space for men to openly discuss their experiences, showcasing their before-and-after transformations, and normalising the idea of male tweakments.”

 

Coming up soon: Men’s Tweakments Part II: Becki Murray on The Top Tweakments for Men

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