These are the treatments Singapore men are getting according to an aesthetic doctor
8 March may be International Women's Day, but men should also get their day in the sun in the fight for equality. One area where men do not get as much attention? Aesthetics. Women are allowed to be 'vain' and more open when it comes to makeup, aesthetic treatments and even surgery, while for many men, it's sometime.
We say if women are expected to look youthful, vibrant and well-rested, then men should too. Dr Rachel Ho of La Clinica, gives us the lowdown on the biological differences between men and women's skin, what treatments male clients typically seek to battle the signs of ageing, and how little tweaks can help them achieve a younger look.
What are the main skin concerns of your male clientale?
Like my female patients, male patients are also concerned about their appearance. The main concerns they present with are acne and acne scars, ageing-related changes such as wrinkles, sagging and pigmentation and hanging their facial contours or features. For the majority of my male patients, retaining their masculine features is a very important aspect of their treatments. So they might want to strengthen their jawline versus achieving the V-shaped face that is preferred by females.
There are also fundamental differences between the male and female facial bone and soft tissue structures and these also affect how treatments are performed for them. For example, males tend to have stronger facial muscles and deeper wrinkles than females and they require a slightly higher dose of Botulinum toxin. Another example would be chin fillers in males; the desired outcome is a slightly squarish chin, which is a marker of masculinity, compared to a sharper chin that is preferred among females.
Not surprisingly, some of my male patients prefer to retain some of their wrinkles because they feel that it makes them look more mature and masculine. However, problems like sagging, jowl lines and the loss of jawline definition are problems that they will not hesitate to correct because they do feel that it is a major part of their youthfulness and masculinity that are lost. The most common complaints that they have is that they look tired and haggard. Wanting to look more refreshed is a motivating force for them to seek treatment. They want to look mature and reliable without looking past their prime or have their wrinkles distract their colleagues or clients.
An interesting trend that has emerged in recent years is younger male patients preferring an androgynous look, perhaps due to the popularity of Korean and Japanese pop culture. These patients usually want to attain dewy and smooth skin and a fairer and more even toned complexion.
What are some of the procedures that are popular among Singaporean men and what are the kinds of visible changes they are hoping to see?
Acne and acne scar treatments are the most popular treatment among males in my clinic. For acne scars, the gold standard is Fractional CO² laser; which also works for pores and other types of depressed scars. Essentially, the Fractional CO² laser stimulates the dermis of the skin to form new collagen and break down scars bands holding down scars to 'lift' up depressed acne scars.
This results in improvement of the skin texture, with improvement seen as early as one to two weeks after the laser is performed. I usually combine the laser treatment with a serum that contains growth factors to enhance healing and results. Growth factors have been found to improve collagen synthesis and reduce the recovery time required by the skin in injuries, surgeries and dermatological treatments.
Injection of Botulinum toxin (or Botox) is another very popular treatment among Singaporean men who want to remove their wrinkles which make them look old and tired. When injected into the glabella, frontalis and orbicularis oculi muscles, these muscles relax and are prevented from contracting, thereby removing the appearance of wrinkles and making them look less angry and old. Some of my male patients feel that although these wrinkles make them look old, these wrinkles also give their looks a masculine and mature character, so they opt to remove some and not all of the wrinkles. Botox is a quick in-clinic treatment with no downtime and results are seen within a week.
Another problem commonly faced by males is sagging which leads to jowl lines, nasolabial folds, loss of jawline definition and loss of mid face volume. A popular way to treat this among my male patients is a combination of Silhouette Soft thread lift and fillers. Thread lifts involve the placement of fine, dissolvable threads under the tissues of the face to mechanically lift up the saggy tissues for immediate results. Tiny cones on the threads also anchor these tissue that have been lifted up for additional stability and longer lasting results. These threads have the additional benefit of stimulating the tissues to form their own collagen so the results of mechanical lift will continue to improve over months as the threads gradually dissolve. It is a treatment that has no downtime and patients need one to two pairs for their face in order to lift up the saggy tissues. They'll see instant improvements in the nasolabial folds, jowl lines and jawline definition.
What lasers, peels or alternative treatments would you recommend that males try for specific signs of ageing, and why?
As a start, lasers and chemical peels are suitable for males of all ages — including males in their twenties, which is when signs of aging like pigmentation and adult onset acne begin to appear. Combining the Q-switched laser and chemical peel is an effective way to stimulate collagen synthesis and treat pigmentation, comedones and fine lines without any pain or downtime.
Wrinkles can start appearing as early as when males are in their late 20s due to habitual frowning. If left untreated, these wrinkles can deepen and worsen to form static wrinkles at rest, giving rise to a resting angry face. The only way to remove these wrinkles is with botox injections into these muscles. If the wrinkles start appearing at rest, combination treatments with fractional CO² laser is needed.
For saggy skin, jowl lines, nasolabial folds and loss of jaw line definition, thread lifts are very effective in lifting up saggy tissues to restore the face to its original youthful appearance. The results are immediate, very natural and physiological with minimal downtime.
A good way for male patients to treat general signs of aging in their skin is with Rejuran Healer, a non-invasive anti-ageing treatment that uses polynucleotides, the building block of DNA, to reverse signs of ageing and repair damaged skin. The beneficial effects on aging are plenty-enhanced collagen formation to reduce and prevent fine lines and wrinkles; repair of tissues damaged from sun exposure and wear and tear; and anti-inflammatory effects to prevent further damage to skin and tissues which causes signs of ageing. In this aspect, Rejuran Healer has a preventive aspect on top of actively treating ageing signs. Patients experience reduced fine wrinkles, improved skin hydration and elasticity and reduced scars.
How can you treat a loss of volume in the face?
Dermal fillers are a good way to restore facial fullness that is lost with ageing. Volume loss in the face is due to loss of facial fullness and bone resorption with age. The nasolabial folds and marionette lines are common areas where dermal fillers are injected to soften these lines and folds. Fillers typically contain hyaluronic acid which have the property of drawing water molecules into the site where they have been injected to plump up or add volume.
Dermal fillers also have the advantage of lifting up tissues to treat sagging — for example, strategically placed cheek fillers can lift up saggy skin to reduce the appearance of the nasolabial folds. This lift can be seen immediately and the results are very natural looking when done in a gradual approach.