Male cosmetic patients need tailored education, procedures

Jan 01, 2005, 5:00am

National report - As men continue to show more interest in cosmeticprocedures, dermatologists will need to anticipate their needs for information and support, William P. Coleman III, M.D., says.

"There are few cosmetic procedures that are uniqueto men, but men may have differentquestions than do women," he says. "Women typically have an informal grapevine and discuss their experiences with cosmetic procedures, while male patients may feel isolated and have more questions when they come in."

In an interview with Dermatology Times, Dr. Coleman discusses the types of cosmetic procedures in which men may be interested, as well as the types of questions men may have and their needs for anesthesia and analgesia. He is a clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.

Men tend to seek the same cosmetic procedures as do women, although their anatomic focus may differ, he says. "Until 10 or 15 years ago, hair transplantation was predominantly a male procedure, but now women are getting hair transplants, also."

"Men have seen ordinary people undergoing these procedures and are becoming more comfortable with having them done themselves," he says. "Twenty years ago, it was very rare to see a man inquiring about cosmetic procedures, but this is no longer the case."

Second, as the population ages, baby boomers in particular want to fend off the effects of growing older as long as possible.

"This is the generation who never wanted to grow old," he says. "The marketplace wants to see younger-looking people, and men are anxious about their ability to compete in that environment." One procedure to which men are very open is botulinum toxin (Botox) treatment for crow's feet and glabellar frown lines, he says.

Common procedures In addition to hair transplantation, one staple procedure that men have elected for some time is blepharoplasty. Because excessive eyelid skin can impair vision while driving and reading, men have typically seen the procedure as a medical necessity. Therefore, the number of men requesting blepharoplasty has remained stable, rather than increasing.

Men have shown a slightly increased interest in liposuction, Dr. Coleman says. "More older men want to have their necks addressed so that they look good in business suits," he says. "Therefore, some will request neck liposuction, while others need repair of the muscles in the neck, and botulinum toxin injections in the platysmal bands. These procedures are often ancillary to resection of loose skin under the chin area."

Laser removal of excess body hair has also attracted men's attention. Although men and women are interested in laser hair removal procedures, "women want hair off all over their bodies," and men are more focused on hair of the back and excessive neck hair, he says. Typical prospective patients are men with darker hair. Not surprisingly, the ideal patient has dark hair and light skin. The contrast enhances the laser's ability to recognize the difference between the hair and the skin and thus reduces the risk of hyperpigmentation, Dr. Coleman says.