Some local plastic surgeons have seen as much as a 20 percent increase in male patients annually in the last 10 years.
Nationally, men made up 9 percent of all plastic-surgery patients in 2011, compared with 5 percent 10 years ago, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, a national trade group.
“Men are living longer and healthier, so there’s that attitude of, ‘why not invest in my appearance?’ ” said Peter Schmid, a plastic surgeon and owner of the Institute of Aesthetic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in Longmont. “In many cases, there’s encouragement from a girlfriend or spouse, and men are open to looking younger.”
Schmid said about 25 percent of his plastic-surgery practice is men.
From wrinkle-erasing Botulinum toxin, or Botox, (a non-surgical procedure) and liposuction, to eyelid lifts and jaw sculpting, male patients specifically want less “down time” when they have a cosmetic procedure done, Schmid said.
Many procedures take less time these days and leave less bruising and swelling, especially Botox and filler injections, said Claude Burrow, a Boulder plastic surgeon. Eyelid-lift surgery also is common at Burrow’s practice, he said.
“You want friends to say, ‘Were you on vacation? You look terrific’,” Burrow said. “Less is more for men. … That’s what gray hair and experience give you.”
Machines used in cosmetic surgery have become “kinder and gentler” and patients are back to work in two to three days after surgical procedures, said Winfield Hartley, who practices at Boulder Plastic Surgery LLC. Office-based procedures last 45 minutes there, and patients get back to normal life “pretty immediately,” Hartley said.
“You can have surgery on a Thursday and be back to work on Monday,” he said. “It’s not a big, ‘ask’.”
Schmid is marketing specifically to the growing male market, pointing out that men also are getting a variety of “medi-spa” nonsurgical procedures done, too, including facials, microdermabrasion on their facial skin and complexion-related chemical peels, among other things. Schmid’s website includes a sculpted, tanned male torso.
“What we see on television and the Internet on male attractiveness makes it more acceptable,” Schmid said. “For a square appearance to the jaw or a chiseled appearance, there’s a strong influence from the media.”
Liposuction — rebranded as “liposculpture” — is increasingly popular, Schmid said. That includes the sculpted “six-pack” appearance to the abdomen of a man who is of normal weight or slightly overweight. Popular male fitness magazines and health magazines often show weight-lifter bodies on their covers, giving more men a wish for a strong and powerful physique, Schmid said. “This really enriches their self-confidence.”
As the baby boomer population continues to age, Burrow says he is seeing more male patients as well.
Eyelid procedures also reduce bags under a person’s eyes, Burrow said, brightening a man’s look and making him seem less tired.
“If they’re still in the workforce, they’re competing with the 40-year-olds,” Burrow said. “They want to look younger and better, and they don’t feel their age.”
Male patients seem to want to consume cosmetic services differently than women do, local doctors say.
For instance, while potential female patients often bring a friend, relative or spouse along for support, Burrow said, men do more research online and come in by themselves — ready to sign on the dotted line.
“The men really know what they want done,” he said. “They’ve made up their minds when they come in.”
It also seems to be more acceptable these days for men — especially younger men — to address things they don’t like about their appearance than it was 10 year ago, said Eve Bluestein, a doctor and owner at Boulder Surgical Arts in Louisville, owned by Bridging Your Health Inc. The number of male patients pursuing cosmetic jawline surgery has risen in recent years, for example, she said.
And both male and female patients are less likely to try to hide cosmetic surgery procedures they have done as it has gotten more accepted in society, she said.
“There’s less societal inhibition or negative influence toward cosmetic surgery,” Bluestein said. “(Patients) feel secure in themselves.”
Nonsurgical skin care is offered by the Susan Melching Inc. skin-care practice in Boulder, which offers preventive and corrective care to young professional men mainly in their 30s and 40s, according to owner Susan Melching. She said she has male clients into their 80s as well.
Popular nonsurgical procedures include chemical peels, microdermabrasion and laser hair removal, Melching said.
“Guys who are in their 30s and 40s are just trying to look the best they can,” Melching said. “Older guys are trying to stay competitive.”