on February 05, 2013 at 11:00 AM, updated February 05, 2013 at 11:21 AM
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — TLC’s “Plastic Wives” may be the latest show to cut open the skin-deep issue of cosmetic surgeries but, just wait, wives of Beverly Hills surgeons. One day your series will be canceled for a show that focuses on a more interesting trend: Men who are just as eager to nip this and tuck that.
And it’s not just male stars in show biz and the image-obsessed going under the knife. Ordinary guys who can’t find that elusive fountain of youth are turning to plastic surgery as a Plan B. Heck, who knows? Perhaps it’ll even be a show Spike, the heavyweight of manly TV, tackles one day.
It’s a phenomenon almost unthinkable in past decades, but cosmetic procedures for men swiftly are gaining popularity. According to statistics compiled in 2012 by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, males account for nearly 10 percent of plastic surgery procedures, which is a 121 percent increase from 15 years ago.
Though women still overwhelmingly make up his clientele, Dr. John Decorato reports an uptick in the number of men coming into his New Dorp office over the last year or two.
While fat-reduction surgeries, such as lipoplasty (liposuction) and male breast reduction, have been popular among this demographic for some time, the plastic surgeon says he is noticing more men interested in rhytidectomy (facelift), rhinoplasty (“nose job”) browplasty(forehead lift) and blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery).
“A motivating factor is the job market,” Dr. Decorato observes, noting, “Even though they have significantly more experience,” some veterans find it “harder to compete with younger guys” and “don’t want to appear outdated.”
Dr. Louis Cutolo, a plastic surgeon with an office in Castleton Corners, also lists “competing in the workplace” as the main reason more men have been seeking his services over the past couple of years.
Cosmetic enhancement “is now an accepted way to stay competitive [in one’s career],” he remarks, adding that post-divorce dating is another factor that gets guys in the door.
“Men tend to want the non-surgical treatments,” Dr. Cutolo explains, naming facelifts, Botox and wrinkle-smoothing gel fillers like Juvederm — as well as CoolSculpting, a non-invasive procedure that kills the fat cells underneath the skin — as some of the top procedures among males.
Stephen T. Greenberg, M.D., F.A.C.S believes the weak economy explains the paradoxical 20 percent bump in business he did last year. The plastic surgeon, with offices in Manhattan and Long Island, says men trying to hang onto or land a job are doing anything they can not “to look old compared to the competition.”
He says males also are starting to see that plastic surgery “isn’t as big of a deal” as it used to be, that “the technology is getting better, and it’s more natural-looking than ever before.”
Though the stigma may be diminishing, “getting work done” is not something men necessarily wish to advertise — as Robert, who had a breast reduction last week from Dr. Greenberg, can testify.
The 28-year-old body builder asked that his last name not be published so that guys at his gym wouldn’t find out the reason he’s going to be MIA for a month. (He’s telling people that he’s getting surgery to remove scar tissue from an accident he had as a child.)
Frank, who also requested that his last name not be published, is still recovering from the full facelift he received from Dr. Decorato about a month ago.
The 59-year-old Randall Manor resident says he opted for the surgery because he felt like he needed “a little maintenance” to help with sagging in his neck and around his eyes.
He didn’t want a drastic “Joan Rivers” look, just something to make him look “more refreshed.”
“Dr. Decorato told me it’d be three months before I saw the full effects,” Frank explains, but already, he says, “it’s paid off.”
Frank reports he didn’t feel any pain after the surgery, but shares that he looked swollen and “beat up.” After four weeks, his skin still feels a bit numb.
Despite the recovery process and costs — a facelift can run in the range of $7,500 to 20 grand — he insists, “It’s been well worth it.”
MORE IMAGE CONSCIOUS
Even men who are not ready to make the plastic surgery leap are investing in their physical appearance unlike ever before.
According to research conducted by Reportsnreport.com, males accounted for 47 percent of the volume of health and beauty products used in 2011.
And a study released by NPD, a market research company based in Port Washington, L.I., found that at least seven in 10 men are buying facial skincare products for themselves, including toners, clarifiers and sun-protection products.
“A lot of the stereotypes and gender walls have come down,” remarks Frank Bennett, who has seen an increase in men coming into his New Dorp salon, A.F. Bennett Salon & Wellness Spa, for the last five years.
“It’s a simple truth” that “opportunities in career and love life are much more accessible when they are well-kept and they look younger,” he adds.
Bennett sees a “big jump” in the number of men coloring their hair as well as getting facials, microdermabrasions and eyebrow shaping.
“It doesn’t stop with their faces,” he adds, noting more men also are getting pedicures.
Bennett says a wide range of men come in for such services, from construction workers to pizzeria owners, to deejays at dance clubs and businessmen with briefcases.
While he notes they might feel self-conscious the first time they come in, by the time they leave, many ask about which other services they can get.
Lareina Grispino, who works as a receptionist at Modern Male, a fairly new men-only grooming lounge in Charleston, reports there are guys in there every day getting manicures and pedicures.
Believing it’s not just about looking good, Ms. Grispino says men, like women, “need to make time for themselves and take a break.”