Wrinkle Removal Isn't Just for Women

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If you think you don’t know any guys getting work done, you’re probably wrong. While traditionally a female’s game, it seems women haven’t cornered the market on wanting a more youthful appearance and the old gender stereotypes are fading right along with the wrinkles.

Dudes are Doing It, Too

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the number of men undergoing injections of a neurotoxin called botulinum toxin type A, more commonly known as Botox, has skyrocketed by more than 300% since 2000. And the use of cosmetic fillers for men has jumped 87% since 2000. From the middle-aged “guy’s guy” to the health-conscious, regular Joe, men all over are taking the plunge. Whether it’s to look better, feel better, or get a (perceived) leg up in the workplace, more and more men are opting for ways to smooth out smile lines, thicken lips, and turn back the clock—without looking back (or around to see who’s watching).

Neurotoxins vs. Fillers

Neurotoxin injections relax or “paralyze” the facial muscles to minimize lines and wrinkles, but there are other ways for men to achieve the same effect. Cosmetic fillers (also called dermal, soft tissue or facial rejuvenation fillers) are injectable implants that fill in wrinkles or depressions and essentially lift them up. But don’t be fooled by the term “cosmetic”—it’s a surgical procedure, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for both women and men.

With neurotoxins, the wrinkle-reducing effect typically lasts a few months, but even when it wears off, the wrinkles that come back aren't nearly as deep. Results from cosmetic fillers last anywhere from six months to two years.

Men also use fillers to:

  • Create a smoother and/or fuller appearance in the face

  • Reduce lines that run from the corner of the mouth to the chin (marionette lines)

  • Bring thickness back to thinning lips

  • Correct nasolabial folds (laugh lines)

  • Improve the appearance of recessed scars

  • Correct under-eye hollowness

  • Camouflage lower-face jowls

Both neurotoxins and cosmetic fillers are injected by a physician, and the procedure usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the number of areas being treated. A local anesthetic and/or topical numbing cream helps minimize any discomfort. You may feel a slight burning or stinging sensation during the injection.

Side effects usually include some bruising, tenderness and swelling for a few days after the procedure, but most people can return to their regular routine right away. Less common to rare side effects include:

  • Infections

  • Lumps and bumps

  • Changes in skin color

  • An allergic reaction

  • Development of hard nodules

  • Skin or lip damage

  • Migration or leakage of the filler material

  • Problems with vision or blood supply

  • Stroke

Worth the Cost?

Botox is priced by the unit—which can run anywhere from $10 to $16—and the number of units needed varies widely (from a few to 30 or more), depending on the area being treated and the person (with men often needing more than women).

The cost of a filler can also vary—anywhere from $500 to $1,800, depending on the type of filler. Though health insurance typically does not cover elective surgical procedures, many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans, so be sure to ask.

Give It a Shot

Still too macho for manipulation? It’s understandable—you don’t want to be “feminized,” just tweaked here and there. You may be afraid of looking too primped or perfect. For example, men tend to have flatter cheekbones, but they don’t want the high cheekbone or “apple cheek” look that women desire. You may be seeking more of a smooth appearance, say from the lower eyelid to the upper cheek, without adding volume. It’s this balance between masculine and feminine that will help you achieve your desired outcome.

Whatever your goals, there are a few good rules of thumb when considering injections:

  • Do your research.If talking to friends about what they’ve had done is not at the top of your list, seek out the professionals. Since injecting neurotoxins or fillers is a medical procedure, be sure to find a specialist in dermatology or plastic surgery, and ask about his or her experience before giving the green light.

  • Talk to your doctor.Schedule a consultation to discuss the various options and all risks and benefits. Be sure he or she understands your needs and concerns, which may be very different from female patients.

  • Take it slow.If you’re worried about getting that “frozen” look by going overboard start with a small area of the face, ask your provider to use a very small amount, and see how you like the effects. If you are pleased and see other areas you’d like to fill, you can ask for more. Keep in mind, sometimes more filler is required for men since they have more prominent musculature with more pronounced wrinkles.

  • Follow up.While you may not want to miss work or sneak off to a dermatologist on your lunch hour, it’s important to keep your follow-up appointments to address any safety issues and results. Once you find a regimen that works well for you, you can ask your doctor about combining treatments to minimize return visits.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Feb 28

  1. Botulinum toxin therapy. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/cosmetic-treatments/botulinum-toxin-therapy

  2. Fillers. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/cosmetic-treatments/fillers

  3. Botulinum Toxin Injection for Facial Wrinkles. American Family Physician. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2014/0801/p168.html

  4. Filling in Wrinkles Safely. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm049349.htm

  5. Soft Tissue Fillers (Dermal Fillers). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/productsandmedicalprocedures/cosmeticdevices/wrinklefillers/default.htm

  6. Dermal Fillers. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/dermal-fillers.html

  7. Dermal Fillers Cost. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/dermal-fillers.html?sub=Dermal+fillers+cost

  8. 2018 Cosmetic Surgery Gender Distribution. American Society of Plastic Surgeons.  https://www.plasticsurgery.org/news/plastic-surgery-statistics

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