Life Stage Philosophy for Men

Think “Age Maintenance” — Not “Extreme Makeover”
Incremental treatments and procedures can help you maintain your best look over time

By Robert T. Grant, MD, MSc, FACS

Men’s esthetic needs differ widely from women’s. Men’s muscle mass and hormone levels begin to decrease after age 30, although nowhere near as dramatically as women experience during menopause. As a result, recommendations for men are not solely dependent upon changes in hormone levels.

As men’s circulating testosterone level begins to decrease after age 30, the most important thing a man can do to keep himself looking as youthful as possible is to work at building and maintaining his muscle mass to the best extent possible throughout his adult life. This means that a regular program of aerobic exercise for cardiovascular fitness as well as weight training in order to mitigate the natural aging consequences of decreased muscle mass is essential.

Skin care and sun avoidance is as important for men as it is for women. Men’s skin care regimes can be tailored to address factors including facial acne, the deleterious effects of too much sun, smoking, alcoholic beverages or loss of sleep, and more.

For men, skin care may consist of using a non-irritating neutral cleanser such as Cetaphil, topical treatments such as alphahydroxy acids, micro-derm abrasion, and light base treatments as the man ages through his 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. The use of Botox and fillers also becomes much more common in men in their 40’s and 50’s who are experiencing loss of skin elasticity due to environmental and genetic causes. Because men’s faces have a more robust blood supply than their female counterparts, treatments must be oriented specifically to the male face in terms of depth of peeling, energy levels for light base treatments and frequency of application of topical medications like Retin-A.

Once men reach their 40’s and 50’s, the commonest esthetic procedure involves rejuvenation around the eyes. Eyelid surgery when done well can help rejuvenate a man’s face without stigmatizing him as one who has had facial cosmetic surgery.

Brow lift surgery in men can be fraught with complications because the male brow has a flatter arch than the female brow. Men’s hair also thins with age, making it problematic to hide scars from endoscopic and open brow lifting procedures. As a result, use of neurotoxins like Botox (to achieve a chemical brow lift) can be very helpful as adjuncts to keep the man looking as best as he enters middle age and beyond.

After age 50, the skin along the jaw line in the neck often accumulates. Traditional face lifts and neck lift approaches do not work as well in men because the scars cannot be hidden under a hair line, particularly if the hair is receding or if the man chooses to wear his hairstyle in a short fashion. Men can have direct excision of excess neck skin, and the scar can be well hidden in the area between the bottom of the chin and the Adam’s apple. Many patients choose to camouflage the scar while it is healing by growing a beard. This surgery can also be well timed during the winter months when it is easy to camouflage the healing neck scar with a turtleneck, a scarf or other type of external clothing.

In summary, the most efficient ways for men to remain looking as youthful as long as possible include preventive measures:

  • keeping one’s weight under control,
  • aerobic and muscle-building exercise,
  • getting enough sleep,
  • avoiding stress, and
  • minimizing environmental effects like sun, cigarettes, and excess alcohol.