16 October 2008

An increasing number of men are turning to Botox and other wrinkle-relaxing treatments to achieve a more youthful appearance, reports have revealed.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, doctors performed 856,000 cosmetic Botox procedures in 2001, 106,000 being on men. By 2007, however, 4.6 million procedures were performed, of which about 300,000 were on men.

Doctors have said that the most common reasons men turn to wrinkle-relaxing treatments are to look better from social and romantic perspectives, or to remain competitive in the workplace.

Allegran, the makers of Botox, have even started marketing more directly to men - there's a pitch on the Botox website saying that the product is "certainly not just for women," and a pamphlet featuring the Olympic gold-medal swimmer Mark Spitz, who started using Botox this year.

Dr. Alan Matarasso, who practices cosmetic surgery in Manhattan, New York, told the New York Times: "In general, the pressures for aging are far greater for women. However, when we see a blip in the economy and how many people are going to be laid off today, you now have a 40- or 50-year-old advertising or bank or media person looking for a job."

"People have a tendency to look for vibrancy and youth. At times of economic downturns you will often see greater interest. It really ranks up there with an expensive haircut.

A 45-year-old publisher from New York spoke of his motivation behind getting Botox, saying, "I was starting to get three long lines and I was like, 'Thats definitely a sign of aging,' and I thought if I slow it down, that wont be a bad thing. I spent $4,000 on a suit, why not use Botox?"

Medically, speaking, there are only minor differences in the way wrinkle-relaxing treatments affect men and women - predominantly that men have thicker skin and stronger muscles, prompting doctors to administer higher doses.

The facial areas targeted on men are also different from those targeted on women. Men often complain of "angry" brows and horizontal forehead lines, while women are more worried about crows feet and the vertical line that starts between the eyes.