A Guy’s Guide To Injectable Fillers And Neurotoxins
“The magic of Botox® and filler does not discriminate on the basis of gender,” says Dara Liotta, MD, a double board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in New York City. “It’s magical for men and women alike.” As men’s makeup and aesthetic treatments become more popular, it’s time to talk to top dermatologists and plastic surgeons to get the skinny on injectables for guys. From techniques and areas of treatment to finding the right provider, here’s what men need to know about dermal filler and neurotoxins.
Injectable Techniques for Men
There are many ways that injectable treatments differ in men and women, explains Anne Chapas, MD, a board certified dermatologist and medical director at UnionDerm in NYC. They are based on biological differences in the aging process, the composition of muscle fibers of the face, and bone structure. And then there is the quality of the skin. “Men have thicker skin, so often a sturdier product can be used,” notes Jennifer Levine, MD, a double board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in NYC.
The perception of beauty also influences injectable techniques. “Our society’s impression of what are feminine or masculine features are considered when planning injectable treatments,” Dr. Chapas shares. For example, Dr. Levine says that, for men, you want to avoid placing filler on the lateral of the cheekbone (as you would with women) because it creates a more feminine effect. “In general — and generalizations are not always the rule, of course — the arched eyebrow is a decidedly feminine look, as is the very high cheekbone or narrow chin,” Dr. Liotta adds. Unless it’s the bone structure the patient started with, you likely wouldn’t want to create those classically feminine features.
And don’t discount societal impressions of fine lines and wrinkles. For women, injectables are often employed as a way to smooth the skin, yet lines don’t tend to be as big of a concern for men. “The ultimate goal isn’t so much wrinkle reduction as it is to give men back the angularity of their face and reduce the appearance of fatigue or stress,” says Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, a board certified celebrity dermatologist in NYC.
This difference in purpose also informs the type of product that is used. “Certain fillers, like Juvéderm®, which can retain a lot of water, may not be ideal for men, whereas other fillers, like Radiesse®, retain less water and provide more definition,” Dr. Frank says. The former is a hyaluronic acid (HA) filler, while the latter is made of calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHa). So, when it comes to achieving the best result, “it’s quantity, quality, and what brand of product that you’re using,” he adds.
The Benefits of Injectables for Men
“Fillers and neuromodulators are great anti-aging treatments and can also be used to enhance and define,” Dr. Levine says. When you consider male anatomy, non-surgical injectables actually serve an important purpose for men interested in facial rejuvenation. “Men don’t have the hair to hide real surgical scars,” Dr. Liotta points out. As such, “Botox® and filler that’s expertly-injected can be a powerful tool to rejuvenate without surgery,” she adds.
As we’ve covered in our guides to procedures for men in their twenties, thirties, forties, and after 50, neurotoxin (read: Botox®, Dysport®, Jeuveau®, Xeomin®) is often a staple to soften the appearance of wrinkles on the forehead and around the eyes. “It’s important to reduce — not remove — these wrinkles because men can appear too feminine without lines and unnatural without movement,” Dr. Chapas notes.
One of the first areas that men seem to show signs of aging is between the brows, where they develop vertical lines (a.k.a. the glabellar or ‘11’ lines). These lines result from frowning and squinting, and men are more prone to develop deep creases here because of the thicker and heavier nature of the skin, Dr. Liotta says. “Botox® can help to relax the ‘muscles of disapproval,’ medically known as the corrugator muscles, and help smooth this area and prevent deep wrinkles from forming and taking up residence,” she explains.
While some lines may be considered ‘handsome,’ others can express unintended emotion. “When men have [glabellar lines] at rest, I hear that they get feedback that they look angry or disapproving when they’re not,” Dr. Liotta notes. Dr. Frank agrees. “When it comes to neuromodulators, like Botox®, for most men it’s about opening the eyes and reducing the wrinkles,” he says. But discretion is key. “The end result is to not give the appearance that they have had something done,” he adds.
When it comes to filler, the under eye hollow (a.k.a. tear trough) is a popular place for men to treat. “We all — men and women — tend to lose volume here as we age, but the heavier quality of the skin of men and the bone structure of the face in this area make volume loss more apparent,” Dr. Liotta explains. The result? Deep shadows below the eye. This gives people the appearance of having dark circles and being tired. The solution? “A bit of filler in this area helps to eliminate the shadows and make people look better rested,” she says.
Additionally, guys are looking to better define their chin and jawline, soften nasolabial folds, and address volume loss in the lower cheeks. “Again, the goal is to appear masculine and refreshed, not flawless,” Dr. Chapas clarifies.
If You’re Not Ready to Try Neurotoxin or Filler...
Lasers often serve as good ‘gateway’ procedures that are popular with men. “The Clear + Brilliant® Complete treatment is fantastic for men who want to improve the appearance of fine lines and discoloration without significant down time,” Dr. Chapas says. For best results, she recommends three, 30-minute sessions over the course of three months. Most patients can return to normal activities right away — making it an ideal choice for those who want to fly under the radar and skip downtime. “It’s a great way to naturally rejuvenate the skin using two unique types of energy to create more collagen and even the skin tone,” she notes.
Maintaining Injectables for Men
Routine maintenance is an unavoidable part of any injectable regimen, and male patients are no exception. Neurotoxin tends to degrade over the course of around four months, while filler can last anywhere from six months to two years. The exact lifespan depends “on the area of the face injected” and “the exact type of filler used,” Dr. Liotta says.
Generally speaking, men are less apt to come in for regular maintenance appointments, so the longevity (or lack thereof) can be an issue for some. “Most men will come in, on average, twice a year, which is usually more than enough,” Dr. Frank says. And, while men and women can expect similar outcomes as it relates to how long injectable neurotoxin and filler lasts, the amount of product needed to achieve results differs. Men tend to need more product — almost double — than women, Dr. Liotta says. Consider it the blue tax.
Finding a Provider Who Specializes in Men
Finding the right provider is always paramount, but it is especially true for men who are interested in taking advantage of all aesthetic medicine has to offer. Dr. Liotta advises seeking out an injector who specializes in treating men, since the exact placement of injections and the amounts of Botox® and filler injected for a natural result are different from what’s needed for women. Asking for referrals from friends and looking at before and after photos can help you get a sense of a provider’s work. “With male patients, I look more to use injectables to turn back time,” Dr. Liotta says, “rather than to sculpt a particular look.”