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IT'S ALL ABOUT THE WOW FACTOR.

Men are all out to look their best and frequent spas and plastic surgery clinics as much as women do these days

IF YOU IMAGINED that beauty parlours and spas were female domain, think again. " Almost 80 percent of our clients include men between the ages of 20 to 50," says Saurabh Khanna, manager, Aura -- the spa at The Park Hotels.

Many guys say there's no excuse for not looking your best these days. " There are enough treatments, technologies and gyms around and people are earning enough these days to invest in themselves," says 45- year- old entrepreneur Raj Singh, who has run a salon for men for two decades. Singh says that the pressure on guys to look good is at an all time high. " Men want to look good as they are out much more at coffee shops, pubs and fancy cinemas. The media has also influenced their thinking," he says.

Singh recalls a period in his life when he was just 16 years old, and blackheads began forming on his face. " My mother took me to her beauty parlour to have them removed since there were no salons just for men at that time." The feeling that men needed parlours just like women for facials, pedicures and manicures led Singh to establishing a salon for men twenty years ago.

" Apart from hand and foot care, I also felt that men needed better, more stylish haircuts. So I offered these, as well as facial treatments and bleaching," he explains. While business was slow in the beginning, it has picked up considerably in the past ten years. His customers range from men in their twenties to those in their fifties. The largest group comprises of those in their thirties and forties. " This is the time men are established and have the money to spend on themselves.

Also, age is beginning to make its presence felt," says Singh. Many women accompany their boyfriends and husbands to the parlour, and in fact are responsible for the men seeking such services. " There is a huge pressure on men to keep up with women, who are so well groomed these days," quips Singh.

The drive to look good doesn't end at the beauty salon for many. Men of all ages are increasingly seeking cosmetic makeovers to enhance their looks. Botox injections and facelifts are a common request from middle aged men. They are also going for blepheroplasty or eyelid surgery for droopy eyelids that removes excess skin, muscle and fat from undereyes.

Whereas younger men want to change the shape of their noses, eyebrows and add dimples to their faces. The options are numerous and people's choices depend upon how keen they are to acquire a new look, and also how much they are willing to spend on it.

POPULAR CHOICES

WHETHERyou attribute it to a new-found consciousness or the availability of better techniques, aesthetic facial surgery is attracting more men. Right from ear angle correction, eyebrow lift, to neck liposuction, the list goes on.

A popular surgery among men is rhinoplasty or a nose job that reshapes the nose. This can shorten or lengthen the nose, change its shape, narrow the nostrils, or even change the angle between the nose and upper lip. "Men who have big nose or flared up nostrils are especially going for this surgery. It's extremely popular among young men coming from the Northeast who want a sharper and better defined nose," says Dr Ajaya Kashyap, medical director, MedSpa. This procedure involves making cuts inside the nostrils and readjusting the bone and cartilage underneath the skin.

Lip jobs are also popular among the men folk. While women long for the full pouty lips of Angelina Jolie, men prefer the thin-lipped look of Tom Cruise and Michael Douglas. "Many are going in for lip reduction surgery since it has become fashionable for Indian men to acquire a chiselled look or occidental features that include sharp eyes and thin lips," explains Dr Kashyap.

For 31-year-old Aman Khurana, getting his broad lips thinned became a priority before his marriage three years ago. This was partly due to peer pressure and partly due to his own desire; he didn't mind shelling out `26,000 for the surgery. Initially he developed some speech problems and took a while to adjust.

"It's like putting on braces or contact lenses. You need some time to get used to it and see the results. But there has been no problem since then. I enjoy the compliments I get from old-time buddies and relatives," quips Khurana.

Octoplasty or bat ear correction is another treatment that men are opting for. This is chosen by those who have ears that stick out. In some men, the angle between the head and ear is exceptionally large, pushing the ears outwards, much like those of bats.

This deformity can be corrected by a minor invasive surgery that takes around 1.5-2 hours and costs around `60,000. Done from behind the ears, it leaves no visible marks.

AUGMENTATION IS IN

FOR augmentation of features, implants are used, which could be either artificial or autologous where the person's own tissues are implanted in the affected area.

"Not many people choose autologous implants because their success entirely depends on how well the tissues are absorbed. Hence, one may have to undergo the surgery multiple times to get the desired result," says Dr Kashyap.

Artificial implants include silicone and porex implants or injectable fillers. One can opt for these as per one's need. " Most people go for silicone implants as these are removable," says Dr Charu Sharma, consultant, plastic cosmetic surgery, Fortis Group of Hospitals. In fact it's one of the most common procedures for chin and cheek augmentation, called genioplasty. A silicone cheek implant could cost around ` 80,000 and the person needs a month's precaution to recover fully. " But men who are heavily into sports don't go for it.

They rather prefer non- removable, medpore implants which gets fixed within two or three days and don't get displaced even during a facial trauma," says Dr Sharma.

Such is the popularity of these surgeries that some guys are opting for multiple treatments at a go.

Twenty- one- year- old business student Sumit Sethi underwent twin surgeries including chin augmentation and neck liposuction last month. " I had a weak chin that gave an ill- defined, rounded shape to my face. Hence I went for a silicone chin implant to get a sharper chin, and simultaneously underwent liposuction around my neck to get the extra flab removed," he says. The entire package costhim ` 80,000 and the procedure took 45 minutes. The pain subsided within a week and within two weeks the swelling was all gone. " I had a tough time convincing my parents.

Also there was a huge risk factor as nobody in my family had gone for such a surgery before," recalls Sethi. But his new look has made him more confident now.

KEEP CHECKLIST

WHETHER one goes for a fat reduction surgery or a feature augmentation procedure, doing some amount of research and enquiry becomes a must. To start with, one must check whether the surgeon is well- qualified and experienced in the procedure.

Also checking the credibility of the skin clinic helps in making the right choice. Secondly, the person must consider the potential risks involved. At times something may go wrong with the surgery, or the person may develop some complications.

For instance, rhinoplasty may lead to breathing problems, nosebleeds or sinusitis in some cases.

Simlarly, implants may cause skin infections. Moreover, one must be prepared for temporary physiological changes such as speech problems during the post operation healing process. Thirdly, one must set realistic expectations from the surgery. Most cosmetic surgeries are done in 30- 45 minutes, but the actual healing may take a few weeks or even months.

Discussing the nitty- gritty about the operation with the surgeon helps in setting realistic desires.

Don't expect a miraculous improvement in your appearance after the surgery.

OTHER OPTIONS

APART from surgeries, photorejuvenation techniques are also being widely used. Basically these are skin treatments that use laser beams, thermal light or chemicals to improve the skin texture and remove wrinkles, scars or pigmentation.

" Infrared and radiofrequency devices and laser treatments are being used for tightening the skin and removing blemishes," says Dr Ajay Rana, dermatologist and aesthetic physician, Skin Mantra. Laser beams remove the outer layers of the skin while heating the underlying tissues. This stimulates the production of new collagen or proteins in the skin, hence improving its tone and texture.

" Unlike surgeries, photorejuvenation techniques don't leave post operation marks, have a quicker recovery and involve lesser complications," says Dr Rana.

monalisa.das@mailtoday.in

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Aug 3, 2010
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