NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Nearly half a million men seek it out each year. Botox is an increasingly common cosmetic procedure that some doctors say is growing by leaps and bounds with their male clients.
New Orleans resident Bryan Lichtenstein is 45 and visiting a cosmetic dermatologist for the first time. Like many men, Lichtenstein hasn’t done much to prevent the aging process. But over time, the lines on his forehead changed and the creases around his eyes became more pronounced. Plus, his younger significant other gave him extra incentive to look for a solution.
“She’s gorgeous,” Lichtenstein said. “I have some good friends who are doing it and some that I didn’t realize were doing it, and once I brought it up, they admitted that they have been doing it.”
He’s talking about Botox.
“My men numbers have increased 20 percent in the last 5 years,” said Dr. Deirdre Hooper.
Hooper, one of the founders of Audubon Dermatology, said more and more men are turning to her for help, despite societal concerns.
“I think in the South there’s still a little bit of a stigma,” Hooper said. “Men just don’t talk about the fact that they get Botox.”
But statistics show, the number of men who do get it is growing.
"It's a broad range of guys, from guys who don't want to look mad, to guys who are at work and seeing their younger counterparts and want to keep up and guys who don't like the way they look on social media," Hooper explained.
Of the more than $8 billion spent on cosmetic procedures in 2017, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery finds more than $1 billion of that was spent on injectables like Botox. It also says Botox is the number one non-surgical procedure for men in the United States.
“Men like this treatment because it’s quick and they can leave and not tell anyone that they did anything,” Hooper said.
Lichtenstein says he isn’t ashamed. His girlfriend has been getting Botox for years - and not just for cosmetic reasons.
“I’ve always had migranes, and so Botox has really helped me with that as well, so that’s why I enjoy getting it,” Shelby Steffeck said.
Having someone explain the process beforehand proved calming to Lichtenstein. Dr. Hooper said surprisingly, the same amount of men come in on their own seeking Botox as the ones who are brought in by their wives or significant others.
“A lot of my men patients come in for others reasons, and it’s just, ‘Oh, by the way doctor, what do you think about these lines?’"
She predicts the popularity of Botox will continue to grow.
“I think men are into taking care of themselves as much as women are," Hooper said. "Men, I think sometimes their stumbles are they don’t want to look unusual, they don’t want to look feminized, and as long as they understand that, then they’re more likely to come in.”
Having a skilled injector is key. As Hooper points out, treating a man’s face is much different than treating a woman’s.
“Females have heart-shaped faces, we want our eyebrows to be elevated. We want our cheekbone to be up. The male face is more rectangular,” Hooper explained.
Lichtenstein said being injected by a tiny needle all over his face wasn’t all that painful.
“It was much less than expected,” he said.
It will set him back a few hundred bucks several times a year if he wants to keep up with it. But overall, he said it’s worth it.
“I’ve always felt I wanted to age gracefully, but there’s things, if it’s not going to hurt me, why not?” Lichtenstein said.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, doctors used five percent more injectables, like Botox, last year on their patients than the year before, and 40 percent more over the past five years. Men between the ages of 35 to 50 make up the largest group seeking Botox.