Why are men ashamed to talk about their cosmetic procedures?
Why are men ashamed of their cosmetic procedures?

Increasing number of men are visiting aestheticians for invasive treatments but not enough are talking about it 

While many questioned my choice of career when I decided to pursue beauty journalism, my father was the first one to support me. The reason was not just his love for his daughter, it was also his awareness and intrigue towards beauty and grooming. I am talking about a man who owns a fragrance wardrobe, uses the best anti-ageing creams, and cannot stand a single grey hair in his brows. 


A few years ago, I remember him, standing in front of a mirror plucking extra hair from his brows, that he said while giving a closer look to his skin, "I think I should go for a face lift, the skin on my neck looks like it’s sagging." I stood behind him, proud but flabbergasted, wondering why he was the first man I heard talking about getting an invasive treatment. 


The buzz around ageing has changed; we are now leaving behind the idea of anti-ageing as pro-ageing takes over our routines. While anti-ageing talks about slowing down the process of ageing, pro-ageing is embracing age with a holistic approach towards self-care–taking care of nutrition, lifestyle, wellness, and skincare. According to the Anti-Aging Market Report by Demography, “The global anti-ageing market size reached US$ 71.6 Billion in 2023. Looking forward, IMARC Group expects the market to reach US$ 120.4 Billion by 2032.” This has also boosted the popularity of invasive treatments or ‘tweakments’ exponentially. According to a GlobalData’s report, the injectables market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5 per cent till 2030. Is it enough to prove that more people are walking into a clinic for an invasive procedure? The answer is yes. But wait, are men part of this growing interest and awareness around tweakments?  

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I reached out to a few cosmetic dermatologists and certified aestheticians when I started researching this story. The first reply I got was from Dr Jaishree Sharad, celebrity dermatologist and author of Skin Rules, who sent me a testimonial video of one of her male clients talking about his frequent clinic visits for skin and face treatments. “Males make up 30 per cent of the demographic that undergo these procedures,” says Dr Sharad about the male footfall at her clinic. It’s intriguing that while more men are opting for these procedures, there are a few talking about it. So, what contributes to this hesitation among men? Beauty procedures are traditionally considered a woman’s domain which results in men shying away from either opting for one or accepting to have gotten a tweakment done. “In our practice, we witness a daily inflow of men seeking consultations, changing our belief that skincare is universally transcending gender distinctions,” says Dr Veenu Jindal, dermatologist and founder of Rasa Derm Skin Clinic.  


What Do Men Prefer? 

First things first, men do believe in self-care—even if it’s under the pretext of grooming. But is it common for men to opt for beauty treatments beyond traditional face clean-ups and hair or beard trimming? Of course, you can ask Rajkummar Rao! There are a few invasive procedures like botox, dermal fillers, face lifts and invasive facials that are popular among men. Think of blurred fine lines, lifted and plumper face skin, and zero neck jowl—you know that saggy skin that adds to a double chin. Case in point: Even men get affected by these issues and opt for in-clinic treatments. “Initially male clients used to approach us for guidance on skincare issues like razor burns, acne, and dry skin, we've observed a significant interest in more invasive treatments. Currently, about 10-15% of our male footfall opts for invasive procedures such as botox, fillers, and laser hair removal,” says Dr Jindal.  


With invasive treatments, men usually come in for laser hair reduction/ removal especially for ears and cheeks, Platelet Rich-Plasma hair growth treatments, HydraFacials, and chin and jawline fillers. “For younger men, monthly HydraFacials are a good choice. But if you do have acne or hyperpigmentation, you could go for a monthly chemical peel,” says Dr Sharad.  



However, she adds that for mature and aged skin, men can opt for a HydraFacial with radiofrequency that helps in skin tightening. It’s also interesting to note that most men opt for jawline and chin fillers to achieve that ‘macho’ look without changing their appearance. Adding to it, Dr Jindal says, “With the fast-paced and stressful lifestyle many men lead, wellness infusions such as IV drips and signature IV shots have become a trend to support a healthy lifestyle.”  The bottom line is that men do desire to fit into the definition of ‘ideal looks’, however, are not comfortable to talk about it. “Beauty treatments are often associated with vanity and femininity, which is wrong. With age, skin sag and wrinkles are going to happen irrespective of your gender,” explains Dr Sharad. The treatments cost between Rs 5,000 to Rs 12,000 depending on the choice of the procedure, number of sessions, the clinic and experience of the professional, and severity of the condition. While a laser hair treatment may start at Rs 5000, a HydraFacial session may cost about Rs 8,000 to 12,000 per session.  


Why Men Prefer to Stay Off Record? 

The pressure to fit into the traditional idea of flawless looks is overwhelming, and to do that without revealing the details tweakments is almost impossible to manage. People, especially in a country like India, often find inspiration from their favourite muse on and off-screen. Therefore, even celebrities bear enormous responsibility and pressure to confess their routine openly. Most of them don’t as these treatments are subjective and personal experiences but those oblivious to the advanced world of beauty treatments often think their favourite celebrities don’t age and look the same through decades.  

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It was a couple of years ago that celebrities like Marc Jacobs and Joe Jonas openly spoke about their cosmetic procedures. While Jacobs opened up about his facelift, Jonas, as quoted by BuzzFeed, said “There's this stigma, especially with men, around getting injectables. I have many guy friends who have done it, and they're shy to speak on it." Does this mean that we need more celebrities to speak up to make it a normal norm? Perhaps, yes! But does that often bring judgement with it? Also, yes. “The misconception that real men don’t need skincare of beauty treatment, which couldn't be further from the truth, connects masculinity with a lack of self-care. Taking care of one's skin, addressing skin concerns, and wanting to look one's best is a sign of self-love and has nothing to do with one's masculinity,” adds Dr Jindal. Apart from it becoming a massive point about one’s masculinity garnering undue judgement, self-care is often considered too time consuming for men.  


However, it’s the fear of judgement that makes it difficult for men to open up about their tweakments. Beauty and grooming are tagged as feminine and general expectations and peer pressure keep men away from anything that’s slightly feminine. “Norms for men have forever been looking macho and rugged. There is always that fear of being judged and ridiculed for getting skincare treatments,” says Dr Sharad. But experts also believe that times are changing and there’s been a gradual shift in perspective around men and tweakments. “There is a gradual shift in this temperament now due to increased representation of men doing skincare treatments who are open about it on social media and also because gender roles aren’t so rigidly defined anymore,” Dr Sharad adds. So, while I have started to share my vanity with my partner, often handing him under-eye patches and blackhead removal strips (don’t recommend these!), it’s about time that he walks-in into the clinic with me to ‘fix’ his hollow under-eyes without hesitation and fear of judgement. 

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