Men - Do you want to look better?

Amaris B.

Updated On:

Aug 9, 2023

Archive Date:

May 29, 2023

Dr Ivan Puah looks at why men want to make changes and answers some questions on the popular aesthetic and cosmetic treatments for men.

Table of contents

An increasing number of men over 35 are moving from basic grooming, such as eyebrow shaping and skincare, to aesthetic treatments for men like wrinkle-smoothing, commonly known as 'Brotox', laser skin rejuvenation and dermal fillers. 

From skincare for men, pico fractional laser that improves texture and skin health, cosmetic injectables for fine lines and volume loss, and skin tightening such as Ultherapy to counter signs of loose skin, any stigma around men going for medical aesthetics treatment is disappearing. 

It's also ok for them to remove unwanted body fat, shape their body with liposuction, and tackle the hard-to-deal man boobs that do not respond to dieting or exercising. Sometimes it's just to look better – or "looksmaxxing" as it has been coined. But, there's also a real sense of them wanting to feel more confident in a competitive work arena. 

Cosmetic surgeries such as facial liposuction, pseudogynecomastia surgery, gynecomastia surgery and liposuction are also on the rise.

Dr Ivan Puah looks at why men want to make changes and answers some questions on the popular aesthetic and cosmetic treatments for men.

Key reasons for aesthetic treatments and cosmetic surgeries

Ageing in the workplace

Men in their 40s and 50s have usually gained plenty of working experience to be at the top of their career game. But many in this age group also fear being phased out and ousted by their younger colleagues.

"Most of our female patients opt for aesthetic treatments to look younger or to define their facial features. While the most common request I get from my male patients is to look well-rested. They want to look like they have the energy to go the distance and the confidence to 'ace' their work and career. 

Men, in general, would like to maintain their manly and rugged looks but revitalise their skin and soften ageing signs. These concerns will require a tailored approach combining procedures like anti-wrinkle injection (BoNTA)dermal fillers and PICO Fractional Laser," says Dr Puah.

As for those bothered with a double chin or sagging jowls, Dr Puah suggests facial liposuction. "It's an effective way to trim away excess facial fat, reducing one's perceived age rather significantly." There's been over a 30% increase in cosmetic surgeries from 2000.

In youth-oriented industries such as tech, executives want to appear relatable and relevant to their younger subordinates. 'Culture fit' is often used as an excuse when managers don't want to hire older people. So getting some aesthetic 'help' is not vanity, but rather a way to avoid ageism and boost career opportunities – or, in some cases in the current market, to help keep a job.

There are interesting stats about recruitment after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, when unemployment rose from 2.61% to 6.8%. One study stated that 80% of job recruiters in South Korea said physical appearance was an important factor in screening candidates.

The celebrity factor

One report highlights the role of reality television programs in encouraging the destigmatisation and normalisation of aesthetic treatments amongst men. Male cast members have openly spoken on-air about undergoing cosmetic procedures. Also, celebs like Simon Cowell and Gordon Ramsay have admitted to having botulinum toxin treatments. 

Personal reasons

On a personal level, these enhancements can improve your self-image and confidence. This is especially true if you find yourself back in the dating pool later in life. Yet, even within existing relationships, men can worry about their physical attractiveness to their partner as much as women. A 2012 study showed that people unsatisfied with their bodies were more likely to worry about it during sex. No one wants extra worries in that department!

Aesthetic treatments and cosmetic surgeries are not just to improve the exterior but also to enhance self-confidence and social attractiveness. Research has shown that when facial plastic surgery is done (done well, that is) on men, it can significantly increase perceptions of virility, likeability, social skills and even trustworthiness!

Types of Aesthetic Treatments

Regardless of what you have to work with, looksmaxxing is the practice of making the most of what you've got. The goal isn't to reach perfection, just to make a consistent effort to improve and enhance one's looks. 

This can be done by:

01. Pico Fractional laser for acne scars

Acne can be a huge confidence buster, especially when left with post-inflammatory scars and marks. Pico Fractional laser is a popular solution for acne scars. This FDA-approved 450-picosecond laser penetrates deep into the skin without causing damage to surrounding tissue. Energy is delivered in shorter bursts to improve the skin texture, which means each session is more comfortable and downtime is reduced. 

Who is suitable for the treatment

The Pico Fractional Laser treatment is suitable for those who have:

  • Wrinkles or sun-damaged skin
  • Pigmentations and  melasma
  • Rough or uneven skin texture as a result of acne scars

Prepping for the treatment

It is recommended that you avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, the use of tanning beds, and sunless tanning creams for FOUR weeks prior to your Pico Fractional Laser treatment. Patients should stop using topical retin A, retinol or retinoid products 48 hours before pico laser treatment. 

Post-treatment advice and recovery

Post-treatment instructions will be given. You are advised to follow the recommendations to facilitate proper and fast recovery.

A key component in aftercare is to be gentle on the skin. For example, when you are washing the face, ensure that it is done slowly and gently. Also, do not rub the skin during or after cleaning. Instead, gently pat dry. 

Moisturise your skin two to three times a day with a gentle moisturiser. Also, remember not to pick the skin, as you may run the risk of scarring your skin. 

Recovery Time

Redness and discomfort may be experienced immediately post-treatment, and these may last from several hours to a couple of days. These can be alleviated with the use of ice packs and moisturisers. Minimise skin's exposure to the sun and use the recommended sunscreen for protection and to aid in healing.

02. Sun Protection and Skincare for men

Many guys believe that skincare isn't important - unless they're dealing with issues like acne, wrinkles and saggy skin. However, your skin is the largest organ in your body; regular maintenance and protection are as important as brushing your teeth and regular exercise. 

It is recommended to gently cleanse the skin twice daily and use sunscreen that offers at least SPF50 protection. 

03. Facial liposuction

Men are also concerned about saggy jowls, double chins and weak chins. Fat can be effectively removed, and a well-defined and tightened jawline can be achieved with facial liposuction. At the same time, a weak or short chin can be enhanced with dermal fillers; these make the face more angular and, overall, the appearance is more manly and strong.

Prepping for the treatment

The preparation phase of any treatment or procedure is important. This can help avoid unnecessary issues during the treatment or procedure itself. 

Make Sure Your Doctor Has All The Vital Information

It is crucial that you inform the doctor of your medical history or  drug allergies. The doctor may schedule additional blood and other tests if deemed necessary. This is to ensure, among other things, that you are fit for facial liposuction. 

Stop Smoking Before Your Procedure

If you smoke - stop smoking at least TWO weeks before the procedure. Smoking hampers the recovery process and affects wound healing. 

Plan for some downtime

Downtime is minimal, although you may want to consider resting for a day or two. 

Stock Up on Everything For The Recovery Phase

Stocking up on items, for example, healthy snacks, ahead in anticipation of your post-treatment recovery is also recommended. Among others, this can help stave off unnecessary stress - something you definitely don't need during recovery. Have some books, magazines or even the TV remote nearby (so you can catch your favourite programmes) to while away the time as you heal.

Arrange for Transportation

Get someone or arrange transportation to and from the Day Surgery Center on the day of your procedure. 

Recovery Time

Do not engage in any strenuous activities until the doctor has cleared you to do so. Results will take about ONE to TWO months to realise, and it is best to follow the doctor's advice and instructions on post-treatment recovery matters to facilitate a safe, proper and fast recovery.

04. Enlarged male breast reduction (Gynecomastia surgery)

Often mistaken as only an aesthetic issue, gynecomastia, more commonly known as enlarged male breasts, is actually a common male breast disorder. It is a medical condition that involves the proliferation of glandular tissues and excess fat tissue deposition, often due to hormonal imbalance. If you are suffering from man boobs, you're not alone; 60% to 70% of men worldwide are bothered by it. Gynecomastia causes physical discomfort such as pain, soreness and discomfort. Most importantly, it affects many men psychologically and emotionally. 

Medical Evaluation

One of the most important things is engaging a qualified, skilled and experienced doctor. During the consultation, your condition will be assessed to identify if you are a suitable candidate for the treatment and also to help determine the gynecomastia grade you are experiencing. Medical history, including allergies, is vital information that should be shared with the doctor.

After the assessment, the appropriate approach to address the issue will be proposed, and you will be informed of what will happen and to be expected during the procedure.

Further tests

Additional tests may be ordered at the doctor's discretion. This is to ensure that you are fit to proceed with the surgery. 

Stop Smoking

If you smoke - stop smoking at least TWO weeks before the procedure. Smoking hampers the recovery process and affects wound healing. 

Stop Taking Certain Medications/Supplements

If you are on certain medications or supplements like anti-inflammatories, blood thinners, Vitamin E and some herbal supplements, you may be told to stop taking them. You will also be advised to avoid alcohol for at least 24 - 48 hours before the procedure. The doctor will be in a better position to advise on the dos and don't to prepare yourself ahead for the surgery.

Arrange for Transportation

Get someone or arrange for transportation to and from the clinic on the day of your procedure - ideally, a family member. If you live alone, arrange for someone to stay with you and accompany you for at least 24 hours following the procedure. Remember to wear comfortable clothing on the day of the procedure.

Reschedule Your Appointments

Reschedule any non-procedure-related appointments that you may have following the procedure. Your body needs some time to recover, so ask for the doctor's advice on when it would be ideal to resume your appointments and other daily activities.

Recovery Time

In terms of exercise, you will need to take it easy for the first week following surgery. Avoid strenuous exercise and physically taxing activities until you receive clearance from the doctor. Wearing a compression vest is a must for SIX to EIGHT weeks post-op as this reduces swelling and encourages skin retraction. Do listen to and heed the doctor's advice regarding recovery period matters. 

05. Better body definition

Men are mainly bothered by fat tissue accumulations on the chest, abdomen and waist. Fat in these areas is hard to remove and requires surgical intervention as they often don't respond to exercise, diet, creams or non-surgical fat reduction. This is where liposuction can help. 

Liposuction is more than fat removal. It is an art form involving 30% science and 70% art. "I don't just remove fat, but during the process, I will improve the body shape and sculpt the area, creating more definition for the patient," shared Dr Puah.

Prepping for the treatment

The importance of the preparation phase of surgery can never be overemphasised.

Make Sure Your Doctor Has All The Vital Information

Inform the doctor of your medical history and drug allergies. The doctor may schedule additional blood work and other investigations if necessary. This is to ensure that you are fit to proceed with the surgery.  

Stop Smoking Before Your Procedure

If you smoke - stop smoking at least TWO weeks before the procedure. Smoking hampers the recovery process and affects wound healing.

Stop Taking Certain Medications/Supplements

You may be told to stop taking certain medications or supplements before your scheduled procedure. These may include anti-inflammatories, blood thinners, Vitamin E, and herbal supplements. The doctor will be in a better position to give advice. 

Plan for some downtime

Recovery is a critical part of realising results. Plan for some downtime post-procedure as it is needed to facilitate proper and fast recovery. Try to complete any work that needs to be done in advance.

Stock Up on Everything For The Recovery Phase

Stock up on items, for example, healthy snacks, ahead in anticipation of your post-treatment recovery. Have some books, magazines or even the TV remote nearby (so you can catch your favourite programmes) to while away the time as you heal.

Arrange for Transportation

Arrange for a family member or friend to be with you for transportation to and from the Day Surgery Center on the day of your procedure. 

What are the post-op tips for recovery?

For the first 24 hours post-procedure, get adequate rest. You can engage in light exercises, such as short walks after a day, to help the body recover. Avoid intensive or physically demanding activities during the first few weeks after the procedure. The doctor will advise you on this matter, so his recommendations.

Avoid Soaking In A Bathtub

Do not risk getting an infection by soaking yourself in the bathtub. This is best left until all stitches have been removed and on the doctor's clearance.

Manual Lymphatic Massage (MLD)

Manual Lymphatic drainage massage (MLD) can aid in facilitating a quicker recovery, and it can also minimise discomfort and pain. The doctor may recommend this to help you go through the recovery period better.

Recovery Time

Recovery time after surgical body sculpting procedure

24 to 48 hours after surgery

Soreness and discomfort are expected during the first 24 to 48 hours after the procedure. You will be provided with pain relief medication to cope with the discomfort. You will need to put on your compression garment 24/7. 

1 to 2 weeks after liposuction

Soreness and bruising will improve gradually over the next 7 to 14 days post-op. You will still need to use the compression garment 24/7 during this period. 

2 to 5 weeks after surgery

Any bruises and soreness should have fully subsided TWO to FIVE weeks post-procedure. Incisions will have healed, and results may start to appear. Intensive exercises should be avoided pending the doctor's clearance.

6+ weeks after surgery

Results are more noticeable, but wearing a compression garment is still required until week eight.

Looksmaxxing as a tailored approach

There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Talk about your concerns with Amaris B. Clinic, and they can devise a tailored plan for you. 

Headed by medical director Dr Ivan Puah of Amaris B. Clinic has over 25 years of clinical medicine practice, including 19 years in surgical body sculpting treatments, laser skin treatments and injectables. On top of being accredited by the Ministry of Health Singapore to perform liposuction, he has also received dedicated training in gynecomastia surgery and various liposuction techniques in the United States, Italy and Argentina.

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