At this point in time—early 2018, in case you don’t have a calendar handy—it should come as no surprise to anyone that men are increasingly comfortable with doing something about their looks. This goes beyond buying a nice razor and applying a daily moisturizer. The male demographic is actively and increasingly seeking out ways to get a rejuvenated and refreshed (as opposed to overworked and stressed) look via such nonsurgical treatments as BOTOX® and Voluma®. Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Derek Jones knows this better than most, considering that his practice is located in the heart of one of the most image-conscious cities on the planet and he has worked for years as a researcher and investigator into the products and treatments that have gone from speculated-about novelties to mainstream cosmetic choices for both men and women today.
In light of the growing interest males are showing in their appearance, Dr. Jones created a list of three things men should know about nonsurgical skin treatments:
1) Not All Providers Are the Same: The American Academy of Dermatology recently emphasized the importance of selecting a qualified provider to perform any procedure of choice. Board-certified dermatologists, who voluntarily undergo training and testing in their specialty, represent professionals who can command a greater degree of trust than, say, a salon owner who also happens to offer wrinkle-fighting injections. Manufacturers typically require that anyone who provides their products must undergo training specific to the brand, but there’s still a difference between someone technically competent and someone with years of skin-focused education and experience—as well as a medical degree.
“Unqualified providers may theoretically know how to avoid causing serious injury, but nothing replaces a physician’s thorough knowledge of the skin, especially when it comes to how it relates to underlying muscles, bones, and more,” said Dr. Jones. “Really, there is no question. The likelihood of a safe, effective, and satisfying outcome for any skin treatment increases when choosing a dermatologist—and particularly a board-certified dermatologist.
There are multiple boards that handle certification, and they typically offer online databases so anyone can search for dermatologists near them. Many physicians also make their affiliations public, so prospective patients can do their research ahead of time, exploring education, experience, and more in addition to board certification.
2) Not All Treatments Are the Same: While injectables that smooth out wrinkles are popular, they represent only one available type of treatment—and even that injectable category is divided into several sub-categories and brands:
- Neurotoxins like BOTOX® and others make use of botulinum toxin to relax the muscles that cause furrows to appear when they contract.
- Dermal fillers add volume where they are injected, which can be used to reduce the appearance of lines etched into aging skin or to change facial contours. Many fillers use hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring molecule in the skin, as a base. Juvederm® by Allergan, for instance, is an “HA” derived line that includes Vollure™ to address “parenthesis lines” that form around the mouth and Voluma® to restore structure to the apple of the cheeks. A different filler, Radiesse®, uses water as a base and contains tiny calcium spheres that stimulate collagen production.
- So far, there’s only one Food and Drug Administration-approved injectable that attacks fat cells: Kybella®. Based on hyaluronic acid from the digestive system, the formula disrupts fat cells it encounters, freeing their contents to be naturally processed and eliminated. The FDA gave the green light to this product for use only in addressing a double chin.
Beyond these, there are light-based treatments that make use of specific frequencies to benefit the skin directly or activate compounds applied topically, lasers that ablate the surface of the skin or deliver energy into deeper levels to trigger revitalizing changes, heat-based devices that create remodel collagen and disrupt fat, cooling devices that chill fat cells for reduction, ultrasound-based technology that uses sound waves to tighten skin, and more. A dermatologist can recommend the specific treatment or combination of treatments best suited for generating results based on each unique patient’s desires.
“Patients may have in mind a treatment they learned about, but board-certified dermatologists are educated and experienced to work with a patient to determine his or her aesthetic goals, then tailor the appropriate treatment,” Dr. Jones explained. “Since each person is different, each treatment plan will be different in its combination of devices, products, treatment doses and frequency, and more. Skin is complex, so conditions to be addressed may require complex solutions.”
3) Men Have Unique Skincare Needs: Male skin is different from female skin. In general, it’s oilier and thicker. Skin’s relationship with underlying tissues can also be determined by sex, since male muscle mass tends to be more significant and men’s bone structures typically have different proportions than women’s. This all means that men choosing a skincare provider should look for a dermatologist who understands the unique aspects of male skin.
Men also tend to want treatments that do not so much give them a younger appearance, but instead give them a refreshed look.
“For many men, an air of authority and wisdom is important to maintain, and a youthful face can run counter to that,” Dr. Jones said. “With the judicious application of carefully selected treatments, an experienced dermatologist can smooth out key lines and subtly alter contours, reducing signs of stress or fatigue without sacrificing character.”
Some men seek to have their crow’s feet relaxed, but their forehead lines preserved. Others want a double chin reduced, but other facial contours to remain the same. In general, whatever a patient’s reasonable end goal, a board-certified dermatologist can accommodate it.
Dr. Derek Jones is founder of Skin Care and Laser Physicians of Beverly Hills, clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles, author of textbook chapters and more than 80 papers published in peer-reviewed medical journals, and a physician who has served as principal or lead investigator for multiple facial aesthetic clinical trials, including Voluma® and Kybella®. Learn more at skincareandlaser.com.