While few men care to be labeled a metrosexual—or its '90s predecessor, the SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy)—most aren’t shy of a spot of aesthetic maintenance. In the 21st Century, hair is professionally trimmed and pomaded into submission, gym bags sit alongside briefcases in the office and ‘manscaping’ is, like it or not, part of the vernacular.
Despite all the wishful thinking in the world, a man’s biggest organ is actually his skin: about 1.5-2.0 square metres of it. Medical director of All Saints Cosmedical and Fellow of the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery, Dr. Joseph Hkeik traces the skin’s changing fortunes over the decades and looks at the various lotions, potions, injections and treatments at the modern man’s disposal…
On the surface, a man’s twenties are pretty sweet. He’s come of age and is reaping financial and social independence. The hormonally erratic teenage years fade into the distance, along with acne breakouts and wet dreams. Underneath the wrinkle-free façade, however, mother nature is starting to pull the pin. “This is the time when our natural skin cycle starts to slow and skin cells take longer than the usual 28 day cycle to build up,” Dr. Hkeik says. Even with the outside holding up, it’s time to think long-term and set up a skincare routine before time marches on and across your face: opt for a mild cleanser (so as not to strip natural oils from the skin) and a moisturiser with SPF30+ to nourish and protect from the sun. The skin regeneration cycle can be sped up via high-grade exfoliation to remove dead skin cells. “Microdermabrasion is a great deal more effective at exfoliating the skin than a facial and there’s no downtime,” according to Dr. Hkeik.
Skin status: expression lines begin to form; collagen and elastin begin to break down.
- Microdermabrasion: mechanical skin exfoliation
- Glycolic or lactic acid scrub: at home exfoliation treatment
- SPF30+ moisturiser
By the time 30 rolls around, a man has a good many long hours on the job and late nights on the sauce under his belt and they start to make their presence known. Cells grow increasingly lazy and skin starts to lose its ‘spring’ as crow’s feet form around the eyes. Continued exfoliation helps keep cells on their toes and professional intervention may be worth considering, specifically microdermabrasion or phototherapy. “You can also use an eye cream with some vitamin A or AHAs to help promote cell turn over and make crow’s feet less apparent,” Dr. Hkeik says. For more stubborn crows feet, anti-wrinkle injections are an option and take just a couple of minutes.
Skin status: sun-induced wrinkles start to form; skin loses elasticity as collagen and elastin break down.
- Skincare regime using quality products
- Regular professional treatments
- Anti-wrinkle injections to relax muscles and prevent lines
No matter how many times people tell you 40 is the new 30, your hairline and laugh lines won’t get the memo. The former is growing thinner, the latter getting deeper and to keep things interesting, skin becomes discoloured. The mid-face—beneath the eyes and above the mouth—loses volume, aka looks tired and drawn. “This can be the decade of dry skin,” says Dr. Hkeik. “More dead cells are sticking around, darker patches may appear and expression lines can become entrenched.” On top of an ongoing skincare regime, a photo facial can deal with discolouration and sun damage. “[It] rejuvenates and brighten your complexion [and] kick starts collagen production again.” Volume can be restored via more serious cosmetic intervention. Dermal fillers last 18 months to ten years and can be used to soften lines, fill cheeks or chin and even straighten a bumpy nose. The over-enthusiastic embrace of fillers beloved of ageing actresses and Mickey Rourke is not recommended. “Less is always better,” says Dr. Hkeik. In fact, treatment differs for men. “Placement is key with fillers,” says Dr. Hkeik. “The practitioner needs to keep this in mind in order not to ‘feminise’ the masculine face... the filler [should] support the facial contours.”
Skin status:Dry skin; discolouration; dark patches; loss of facial volume
- Revise skincare routine as skin changes
- Photo facial: light-based technology to treat imperfections and boost collagen
- Microdermabrasion: mechanical skin exfoliation
- Dermal fillers: injected under the skin to create volume, fill lines or reduce scars
50s +: REVERSAL OF FORTUNES
From his fifties a man is contending with a plethora of physiological changes: knees ache, any remaining hair turns grey and waist measurements take on a life of their own. While still playing havoc with the face, skin takes the show on the road: lined hands, spider veins and age spots may crop up as the neck loses firmness. “At this stage it’s not about looking 30, it’s about looking your best and slowing the signs of ageing,” Dr. Hkeik says, recommending combination therapies tailored to target an individual’s skin issues. Resurfacing treatments can improve skin tone and texture: Fraxel is non-invasive, administered over three sessions with no downtime needed. More intensive is pearl laser resurfacing, an invasive one-off treatment that requires a four-day recovery. Less instantaneous are dermal thickeners which boost the body’s collagen levels. “They stimulate the skin’s natural rejuvenation, helping to restore lost volume and giving a gradual lift, with results developing over time,” Dr. Hkeik says. “Combine with anti-wrinkle injections for subtle but effective results.”
Skin status:Sun damage; age spots; spider veins; skin laxity; wrinkles
- Fraxel: laser treatment for scars, damage and pigmentation
- Pearl laser resurfacing: a more intensive laser treatment
- Dermal thickeners: injections to encourage collagen production over time