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Fuelled by social media pressures, men as young as twenty are turning to plastic surgery for a sculpted six pack or a more “masculine” jaw line
Dr Maher Alahdab
It may once have been the case that a sharply tailored business suit defined a man. In my childhood, my grandfather epitomized the suave male: with his hair combed back, a beautifully cut Italian three piece, and an air of quiet self-assurance.
Fast forward to 2018 and we live in a world where men are pushed to feel that they need more than well-fitted garments to capture the spotlight and be confident once they’re in it.
With increasing social pressures, men are becoming increasingly aware of the role that their appearance plays in their career progress, or to even be considered attractive by others.
And investment in your appearance has become a social calling card of sorts. I am seeing more and more men seeking plastic surgery to optimize their appearance, and who hope to achieve an edge over others or at least fit into a social bracket.
110 per cent increase
In America, the number of cosmetic surgeries performed on men has risen from just over 1 million in 2010 to more than 1.3 million in 2017, according to statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. And in Britain, the number of men undergoing cosmetic surgery has increased by 110 per cent in 15 years from 2000 to 2015, according to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps).
The case is similar in the Middle East, although accessible research and official figures are harder to come by. It’s estimated that male cosmetic surgeries have gradually increased in the region from less than 1 million in 2010 to way over 2 million a year today.
Czech & Speake
Czech & Speake
The numbers speak for themselves. Cosmetic surgery for men in the Middle East is on the rise because of an increased awareness of self-image. I’m seeing men as young as 20 pursuing cosmetic surgery. And this age group often associates having the financial ability to fund procedures with a higher social or economic status.
Six packs for the 20s
The younger generation of men today may exercise often and eat healthier than their predecessors, but there is a cross-section who are plagued by a seemingly inconspicuous flaw which preys on low self-esteem, and with it their self-worth.
This could be as minor as extracting a nagging layer of extra fat on their hips, straightening out a slight ridge on their nose or something slightly more invasive such as sculpting the perfect six-pack or a more ‘masculine’ jawline.
Frown lines for over 50s
Quite often, the growing cross section of my male clientele come to me knowing exactly what they want done and are quite prescriptive. Those in their 50s and older, mostly c-level executives, bankers and the like, focus on frown lines that have become more engrained in their foreheads or are fixated on a slight excess of skin on their eyelids.
This surge in male patients is not surprising. Over the last few years, the trend has become more apparent in places such as Dubai, with some of the highest per capita density of plastic surgeons.
Social media platforms have placed an increasing emphasis on the appearance of vitality, virility and youth so it’s hardly startling that we are comparing and contrasting ourselves on Instagram even while we’re off duty.
Insta-vanity comes at a price
However, vanity does come at a price. The all-too common obsession with selfies can unfold as a case of body dysmorphic disorder — a psychiatric condition where a person perceives themselves as unappealing regardless of their looks.
Another concern is obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), where a patient will continue on an endless path of surgery after surgery. No matter how many ‘tweaks’ they make, as surgeons we meet individuals who are consistently searching for the ideal look.
The writer is a leading double-board certified plastic surgeon, practicing and consulting across a range of clinics in Dubai, UAE and Riyadh, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
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