“First impressions count and can often make or break a deal. We are seeing men finally catching up with women in terms of taking better care of their appearance,” says Dr. Elias Tam, medical director at EHA Clinic, which has seen a rise in men seeking out cosmetic procedures in the last five years. While men previously made up about 5 percent of the clinic’s patients, they now constitute about 20 percent.
Dr. Tam also foresees that as the population ages, the number of men choosing aesthetic treatments will increase. “Men are not spared from ageing and competition,” he says, adding that wives are becoming more supportive of their husbands, often accompanying them during sessions at the clinic.
Similarly, Dr. Tan Ying Chien of The Sloane Clinic Plastic Surgery Centre within the Novena Medical Center has seen a 15- to 20-percent annual increase in male patients since around six years ago. Treatments that were done mostly on female patients, such as nose modifications, creation of double eyelids and liposuction of the tummy, are seeing more men.
There has also been an increase in those going for treatments usually preferred by men, such as fixing protruding ears or saggy pectorals.
“The world has changed because of information technology,” Dr. Tan explains. “We see photos of ourselves more than we did 10 years ago. People are more critical of what they look like.”
Dr. Tan says his clients include lawyers, bankers, doctors, accountants and even teachers, with the first two constituting 20 to 30 percent. “In the job market, if your competitor is equally qualified, how presentable you are is important as well,” he says.
For example, one of his male patients, a 42-yearold finance executive who declined to be named, says he often got comments from friends and clients that he looked tired, even if he had had sufficient sleep. The patient has since had his eyebags removed in a twohour operation that cost about $4,000.
“It definitely adds to my self-confidence,” the man confesses. “My wife agrees that I am a younger version of myself.”
Dr. Tan notes that with improving technology, cosmetic procedures have become more widely available, and recovery tends to be faster. “With today’s techniques, you can’t tell [that a treatment has been done] unless you’re trained and know what to look for,” he says.
The trend is seen elsewhere, too, as in America – where the term “Brotox” was said to have been coined in 2012, when hundreds of thousands of men began opting for the wrinkle-reducing injections.
In fact, one recent Bloomberg report noted that millennial men in the US are increasingly interested in cosmetic procedures, either surgical or non-surgical, and reasons ranged from the desire to feel better about themselves, to pleasing their partners or to remaining competitive in their careers.
By Lin Yangchen, The Straits Times, September 2017
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