By Evan Rosser
LIKE IT OR NOT, vanity – or perceived vanity – is a trait that’s a lot more acceptable in women than men. Only fair when you consider that as women are left struggling under the pressure of living up to increasingly unrealistic ideals of beauty, it’s almost universally agreed that the worst a man can expect is the prospect of looking ever more dignified, rugged and worldly. But what about those men who aren’t yet prepared to be rugged dignitaries? How do they address appearance-related anxieties without sacrificing their sprezzatura?
“Men are different than women when it comes to aging in that they are often looking for non-surgical options to avoid the ‘over-done’ look,” says Toronto-based dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett. “The great thing about Thermage is that the onset is gradual, so the effect is very natural.”
Thermage is a non-invasive, non-surgical cosmetic procedure that uses radiofrequency energy to repair and remodel collagen beneath the skin’s surface, smoothing out lines and wrinkles and tightening areas of loose skin anywhere on the body. Kellett explains that male skin is about 25 per cent thicker and much more resilient than women’s. “The structure of men’s collagen differs due to hormones and, as well, men generally take less care of their skin and tend to be exposed more often to damaging environmental elements,” she says. “As a result, we customize settings for men.”
Toronto and New York-based cosmetic plastic surgeon Dr. Trevor Born – who has had the treatment three times himself- says he’s seen his Thermage clientele double in the past year, and many of them are men. “Their primary motivation is competition in the workplace and also for the social environment, where people are more concerned than ever with looking good and appearing healthy.”
One of Kellett’s male patients, Howard Lende, a realtor, had his first treatment in January. “It’s not something where you have the procedure, walk out and everybody says, ‘Wow! What happened to you?’ It’s gradual, which has its own advantages.”
The effects of a single treatment appear over the course of about six months and can last up to three years. While not a painless procedure, a topical anaesthetic reduces the heat from the wand to a tolerable level in most patients.
With treatments starting at $2,500, Thermage isn’t cheap, but, like the procedure itself, no one ever has to know.