From Plastic Surgery and Brotox to At-Home Lasers and Serums, the State of Men’s Skin in 2024

Written by: Jean Godfrey-June


Published on: April 9, 2024


The health and fitness optimization movement has reached a point where the modern man has worked his body into serious shape—now he’s getting ready for his close-up. Plastic surgeons and dermatologists report that more men than ever are getting eye lifts and Botox, and at the same time, they’re stocking up on active serums, eye creams, and at-home lasers, too.

Go down a rabbit hole about Bryan Johnson, the tech billionaire turned human longevity experiment, and you’ll be amazed and perhaps horrified by many things (chocolate-broccoli pudding! nighttime-erection monitors!). One of them is the amount of time and effort he spends on his skin, which puts the most devoted multistep beauty TikToker to shame. It turns out he’s not alone in wanting youthful, healthy-looking skin.

Men Are Having More Procedures

“The percentage of men getting cosmetic surgery has risen in our practice to around 15 to 17 percent, which is a huge number,” says top plastic surgeon Julius Few, MD, the founder of the Few Institute, a clinical associate in the University of Chicago’s plastic surgery division, and the author of a chapter in the textbook Male Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. “Ten years ago, it was more like 2 to 3 percent.” The American Society of Plastic Surgeons tracked search terms and reported a marked increase in interest in male aesthetics between 2004 and 2018. And American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery data show an approximately 55 percent increase in plastic surgery procedures in men from 1997 to 2018.

Nonsurgical Procedures

Few, who has practices in both Chicago and LA, sees the much wider variety of treatments now offered as a big part of the reason more men are getting procedures. “There are now so many nonsurgical options, so the idea of some sort of intervention is less intimidating,” he says. “The most common nonsurgical thing I do for men is neurotoxins like Botox and Xeomin, but I also do many thread procedures for them,” notes Few. “Our typical male patient is a high-level executive who flies in for multiple nonsurgical options, including threads.”

There’s also been a surge of male interest in skin care. At a recent Brunello Cucinelli dinner in LA, Few says, between a third and half of the people who approached him to ask him about their skin (specifically goop Beauty Youth-Boost Peptide Serum, which Few collaborated on, and his new eponymous skin-care line) were men. “It’s not just women who want to look and feel their best,” says Few.

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Men Are Going to Dermatologists, Too

Dermatologists are seeing a similar influx of male patients. “The percentage of men coming in has grown year over year,” says leading New York dermatologist Robert Anolik, MD, of the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of New York and the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, who’s coauthored two scientific papers on the subject because of the growing interest. “Lasers have been popular for quite a long time,” he says. “I feel it’s because they’ve clearly seen the benefits when women in their lives have undergone treatments to eliminate sun spots and capillaries and improve collagen.” Anolik observes that the changes people see with lasers equate to better skin, whereas injections are sometimes mistakenly associated with causing a feminine appearance. (Heavily augmented cheeks and lips could certainly make a male face look more feminine, for example.) “Injections don’t need to be feminizing in men, but those doubts linger in some,” he says. “The laser improvements tend to be about looking good for your age, which is a common priority for men as found in some studies.”

Differences in Men’s Skin Mean Different Treatment

The injectables that are most popular among men, Anolik says, are neuromodulators like Botox, Xeomin, and Dysport. And he notes that treating men with neuromodulators requires techniques that are slightly different from those used to treat women. “While men tend to show quite a bit of horizontal forehead lines, they tend to have thicker, heavier brows that can sit too low if overtreated,” he says. “A lighter touch is often required in this area, but sometimes higher doses are needed for the glabella area [the area between the brows] because of the size and strength of these muscles.”

Men might actually want to go in for Botox earlier than women, Anolik adds. “They can benefit from earlier forehead neuromodulator treatment, due to the heavier brow and the tendency to raise the brow strongly enough, etching in permanent lines,” he says. “But for other lines, like lip lines, men tend to not need treatment as much—or as early—because men have thicker skin.” He also fields more requests for fillers, usually for chin and jawline enhancement.

Men’s thicker skin makes them much more likely to have bruising and swelling after surgery, Few says: “And you have to adjust the way you work on their face because of the beard.” He also says men are generally more concerned about the pain involved in any procedure. “We have to do bells and whistles with most men,” he says.

Why Men’s Surgeries Looked Wrong in the Past

Surgical treatments for men have improved drastically, Few says. “Back in the day, with eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), for example, men so rarely had the surgery that the technique was exactly the same as the one used for women,” he explains. “The brows shouldn’t actually sit as high on a man, so the outcomes could be really feminizing,” says Few. “Of course, now the techniques account for those differences.”

The most common complaint men seeking surgery come in with is the eyes, Few says. “They’ll say they feel their eyes look weathered,” he says. The treatment, depending on the man, could involve lasers, Botox, a thread-lift, a blepharoplasty, or a face-lift. “It’s funny—everyone’s different,” he says. “I just did a face-lift and blepharoplasty on a man whose wife had come in 10 years ago, just for some Botox and little stuff. He said, ‘She looks great, but I don’t want to do the temporary things.’ Sometimes the one-and-done makes more sense, especially when people are busy.”