Do Men Really Improve with Age?

Top Cosmetic Procedures for Men that Allow Them to “Age Gracefully”
Robert T. Grant, MD, MSc, FACS
Do men age as gracefully as we think? While a man doesn’t face the same hormonal changes with aging that effect a woman’s weight and muscle mass, his clock is still ticking. Whether he is constantly in the public-eye or an everyday delivery guy, most men want to maintain their healthy, youthful appearance just as much as a women. And, with cosmetic surgery’s increasing popularity, it is becoming more and more acceptable for men to turn to cosmetic procedures to continue to look their best.

In the American Society of Plastic Surgeons 2010 Report of Plastic Surgery Statistics, it was determined that out of the 12.6 million surgical and non-surgical procedures conducted, over 1.1 million were performed on men. So which procedures are men undergoing? The charts below illustrate the most popular surgical and non-surgical procedures for men in 2010.

After seeing these numbers you maybe wondering, “What would be an appropriate change be for me at this stage of my life?” And that word “stage” is the word to zero-in on. Following my Life Stage Personal Enhancement Philosophy, it’s the small changes that are done over a period of time that are more impactful in the long run than doing a dramatic reconstruction all at once.

A man’s cosmetic plan to maintain a life stage balance of his facial and body appearance remains pretty consistent throughout his adult life. The following is a guide to help men look and feel their best through their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and beyond.

  • Men in their 30’s: A man's circulating testosterone level begins to decrease after age 30. Because of this, the most important thing a man can do to keep himself looking as youthful as possible is to continue to work at building and maintaining his muscle mass. A regular program of cardiovascular fitness paired with weight training is essential to mitigate the natural aging process of decreased muscle mass.
  • Men in their 40’s: The use of Botox and fillers has become much more common for men in their 40’s and 50’s who are beginning to deal with the loss of skin elasticity in the face. Because a man's face has a more robust blood supply than a woman's face, any personal enhancement treatments oriented specifically to the face must take into consideration factors such as the depth of skin peeling, energy levels for light base treatments and frequency of topical medications applications. The most common aesthetic procedure for men in this age group involves rejuvenation around the eyes. Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, when done well, can help rejuvenate a man’s face without announcing to the world he had a cosmetic procedure performed.
  • Men in their 50’s and beyond: Men in this age group will typically experience increasing amounts of skin accumulation along the jaw line in the neck that we often refer to as jowls. Traditional approaches for face and neck lifts do not work particularly well in men because the scars cannot be hidden under the hairline as done in women. However, men can have the removal of extra neck skin through a geometric pattern that hides the scar in the area between the bottom of the chin and the Adam’s apple.

Regardless of your age, I ask that you take a realistic approach in your ideal body goal. Less favorable male cosmetic surgery outcomes, such as in Bruce Jenner, Mickey Rourke and Burt Reynolds, have taught us that too much is simply too much. I leave you with the same adage I advise my patients with when deciding on a cosmetic procedure: “moderation is key”.

Dr. Robert T. Grant is Plastic Surgeon-in-Chief for the combined Divisions of Plastic Surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, the University Hospitals of Columbia and Cornell, a position he has held since April of 2006. Board-certified in general surgery and plastic surgery, Dr. Grant is a member of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons (AAPS), the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).  He is included in the annual Castle-Connolly Guide of America’s Cosmetic Surgeons and Dentists and has been named to New York Magazine’s list of Best Doctors in New York.

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