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It’s more than 25 years since Botox burst on to the scene as a way of combating wrinkles and men are signing up for the treatment in growing numbers. “From 2011 to 2013, men having Botox rose over 200 per cent in my clinics and the number continues to rise,” says Patrick Bowler, medical director of Courthouse Clinics in the UK. “Now 20 per cent of my clients are male.”
According to Bowler, “Divorce is a leading contributor. With more men on the market, they want to improve their chances and our data show treatments such as Botox increase men’s confidence, mood and self-esteem.”
Another reason behind the surge of “bro-tox” or “bloke-tox”, as it has been dubbed, is work pressure. “In the world of finance, men’s looks are important not only to get a job but to keep a job,” says Susan Mayou, consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic in London. “Men want to be seen as on top of their game and not appear angry or tense with a furrowed brow. With correctly injected Botox and fillers, they look, feel and perform at work better.”
Wives play a part too. “[They] often bring in their husbands but they nearly always say, ‘Don’t take away all his wrinkles, just make him look less tired,’” says Julius Few, a plastic surgeon with offices in New York and Chicago.
Despite its growing popularity, there are questions about why the treatment can look much more noticeable on a man than on a woman. “Doctors often treat men the same way they treat women, which gives them a feminine appearance,” explains Tapan Patel, owner and medical director of PHI Clinic, a plastic surgery and cosmetic facility in Harley Street, London. “There are clear anatomical differences between men and women’s faces,” he says, “and this is often not taken into account. The main issue is that women’s eyebrows are naturally arched but men’s are horizontal. If a man has Botox under the eyebrows, it will feminise his looks.”
Wendy Lewis, a cosmetic surgery consultant, adds: “Take David Beckham or Colin Farrell: if their brows were high, arched and skinny they would lose their ruggedness. Men should never look perfect, they need some lines and furrows. The best use of Botox on male faces is to soften the deep creases that form between the brows, making men look sad and even mean.”
Allergan, which makes Botox, says: “A core component of Allergan’s product training is a detailed understanding of anatomy and we use both male and female patients as models in our training sessions.”
Hair, or lack of it, is also a factor. “With a man who is balding, lines can appear much higher on the face than on a woman,” says Yannis Alexandrides, medical director of 111 Harley Street, a cosmetic clinic. “Doctors must adjust the treatment area according to whether the hairline is low or receding.”
Men should also be wary of fillers, which fill any deep crevices in the skin and increase lost volume. “Men have flatter faces, so although they ask for injections for higher cheekbones I won’t do it because they will look feminised,” says Susan Mayou. Likewise, Julius Few says he will only “concentrate restoration of volume for the cheeks to the front of the cheek”. Thinning lips age men in particular, but even more caution is called for. “Filler to the lips in men tends to look very obvious and female,” says Few. “It needs the greatest caution and expertise.” However, a little Botox by the sides of the lips reduces a down-in-the mouth appearance literally and metaphorically.
Subtlety is key because most men don’t want people, especially fellow workers, to know they have had work done. “I advise men to go for 80 per cent correction to eliminate any giveaway of treatment,” says Few. The best practitioners can now avoid tell-tale blemishes. “I use the thinnest syringe needles imported from Japan to inject and avoid bruising,” says Tapan Patel.
Others, like Simon Cowell, are open about their use of Botox. Daniel Evans, a London-based project manager who visits Alexandrides every six months, says: “I have a very stressful job and was looking tired and older than 40. I look much better and, five years on, I’m open about the treatments that I have. These days, no one judges me for it.”