[By Jonathan Lau]

Over the last decade, we are seeing a slow but steady increase in the aesthetic needs of men. The male population seems to be changing his attitude and playing catch up about a number of issues that were previously viewed as the domain of the fairer sex. Driven by the need to look youthful and appear dynamic well into their 40s, 50s and 60s, men are re-thinking their attitudes towards pills, diet, exercise, skin care, facials, aesthetic procedures and even plastic surgery. Increasingly aware of the need for image maintenance and change as they remain active in the workforce much longer now with the average retirement age pushed back by at least a decade, male beauty is a worldwide trend with the net worth of the UK male grooming market estimated at a staggering $608 million GBP in 2017.

However, unlike women who usually seek out specific treatments they have in mind to correct the specific flaws they identify, men remain pretty clueless to their aesthetic needs. More often than not, men want to change things they don’t like to see in the mirror but nevertheless could not pinpoint the changes they need. To help unravel the ‘mysteries’ surrounding this,  RSB spoke to Dr. Toby Hui, senior medical consultant from the SW1 Clinic (formerly with The Sloane Clinic) with a keen interest in male aesthetics to help decipher what men really want and what they should be doing to get it.

Complaint #1: “I look angry and unapproachable.”

“This common complain which stems from the hyperactive frown lines between the eyebrows and the deep forehead lines is treatable with anti-wrinkle microinjections of Botox, at times supplemented with a touch of natural facial fillers.” explains Dr. Toby.

Facial muscles are generally thicker in men compared to women. With age, especially if one is very animated with loads of facial expressions and movements while speaking or pushing weights in the gym, lines and furrows can form and etched in as semi-permanent lines with time. It is seemingly easy to correct these flaws quickly with a couple of Botox jabs but this is nothing further from the truth. Extra care has to be taken in terms of dosage and injection technique to avoid ‘feminization’ of masculinity such as the arching of brows seen in individuals that are treated overzealously.

Having the perfect Botox for lines is like having the perfect haircut. A stylist who can give you the perfect head of bouncy curls might not fare well with men hair. Likewise, always check if the doctor you are consulting has the necessary working experience with male patients.  Once you have found a doctor that understands your anatomy and the unique way your facial muscles react to Botox, stick to him or her and chances of ‘Botox gone wrong’ will be much reduced

David Beckham is a great example of what good Botox should do for men, softening wrinkles without freezing up facial muscle

“To sum it up, we are looking to soften lines to give a natural, more approachable and more youthful look instead of completely erasing them and freeze up all movements.” Dr. Toby further elaborates.“Especially for men, less is often more and it’s definitely more about technique rather than the absolute amount of product used that gives the desirable outcome we sought.”

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Complaint #2: “I look gaunt and unhealthy.”

In our increasingly body conscious society, men are watching the up and down of their body fat as closely as the stock market. In order to achieve the lean and mean physique with an enviable six pack abs to boot, there has to be a dip in the body fat percentage which translates into overall fat loss and not focal around problem areas as we would have wished. One of the first areas to be affected is the face, with loss of volume under the eyes, in the mid face and over the temples; often adding years to one’s actual age.

“The older one gets, the more telling and less forgiving is weight loss on the face.” Says Dr. Toby. “Instead of looking healthier with a tougher exercise regime and stricter diet control, men in their 40s often get asked by friends and colleagues if they were tired or falling ill!”

Much like a deflated balloon, the loss of facial volume is best corrected with Voluma High-Definition Lift. Without the need of surgery, this procedure consists of microinjections of small amount of Juvéderm® VOLUMA®, a naturally occurring hyaluronic acid filler, into hollowed out areas to contour and lift at the same go to restore youthfulness to a sunken face.

In a clinical study of 102 patients with facial volume loss, each patient is treated with Juvéderm® VOLUMA® dermal filler. Six to 18 months after the treatment, an assessment found that almost 65% of patients’ rated themselves as being ‘very much improved’. In addition, more than 70% of patients described their facial volume as being ‘very good’ during the subsequent 6 to 18 months.

“For those who are afraid to ‘jump the deep end’ with Voluma High-Definition Lift, consider Dream Sculpture as an option for your aesthetic needs especially to deal with sunken cheeks.” Further remarks Dr. Toby.“By building up collagen reserves in your very own skin following a series of 3 or more treatments, microinjections of Sculptra, a collagen builder made of Poly-L-lactic acid not only help to make you look younger, but also allow you to age gracefully in an age-efficient manner.”

It’s indeed not a misnomer to label these collagen stimulators as “fertilizers” that’ll help age-proof your skin, giving you prolonged dermal benefits that stay on even when the initial biodegradable compound introduced had long since disappeared. Enhancing your skin in a natural manner by maximizing your skin’s inherent potential, you will still look like you but in a more rejuvenated manner.

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Complaint # 3: “My skin looks dull.”

Unfortunately, most men are not initiated into the world of skin care and sun protection from an early age. Often they present in their later years with skin ravaged by years of neglect and unprotected UV exposure, the single most important cause of premature aging. Fine lines, wrinkles, open pores, sun spots and uneven skin tone are some of the common factors contributing to a dull looking visage. When an overhaul is in order, light and laser therapy can help to delay and even reverse some of these signs of aging. Utilizing state-of-the-art Fraxel laser technology, the BB AquaTouch laser is designed to refresh dull, fatigued complexions and radically correct skin discoloration and texture irregularities without significant downtime. By utilizing the 1927nm Thulium which represents a new wavelength that is extremely efficacious at targeting the superficial skin layers for faster clearance of pigmented lesions such as freckles, sun spots and age spots, the Fraxel Dual laser which anchors the Baby Skin Program doubled up as a laser for scar when adjusted to 1550nm Erbium wavelength. Offering salvation to photo-damaged skin, melasma, troubling aged spots and scars, this superb pigment clearing & skin brightening protocol combines the synergistic effects of Pearl Éclat and LED Red with BB AquaTouch Laser, giving long lasting results especially when sun protection and skin care is observed concurrently henceforth.

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Complaint #4: “I look sad and grumpy.”

The ‘bulldog face’ is one of the commonest presentation of aging in heavier set men, characterized by heavy jowls, double chin, prominent nasolabial folds and marionette’s lines. When previously going under the scalpel is about the only option available to correct such flaws, it is now possible to address them with non-surgical modalities.

“At the SW1, we specially designed a “lunchtime facelift”— the Trinity Facelift Program which combines Ulthera and Thermage, two of the most effective FDA approved treatments for intense lifting and skin tightening to reverse the signs of aging.” says Dr. Toby. Ulthera utilizes medical ultrasound to treat deeper layers of skin to give it a deep and intense lift, fighting the effects of gravity and age effectively, while Thermage engages patented monopolar radiofrequency waves to smoothen, strengthen and tighten the collagen fibres in the middle and superficial layers of skin to give your visage the firmness and radiance of youth. Both treatments give good results when done separately, but work in synergy with better outcome than the sum of 1+1 when performed as a combo.”

Alternatively, the Infinity Neck Threadlift beautifully tackles sagging neck skin and double chin to restore jawline to more youthful and desirable proportions. Depending on the amount of skin laxity, more or less threads (usually 4 to 8) are inserted to give the best outcome. The Infinity Neck Threadlift uses 100% bio-absorbable PDO threads that dissolve safely over 6 months while intelligently stimulating a strong supporting matrix of collagen in its place to secure the skin lift with time. There’s little to no downtime, and generally shouldn’t prevent one from returning to work after a day or two. Slight swelling secondary to the anesthetic injections made for the procedure to be almost pain-free can last between 6 to 24 hours. As with all procedures that involved needles and injections, small pin-prick marks and bruises can happen at times. However, as these are usually placed on the underside of the jawline, visibility is much reduced unless closely scrutinized.

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