Love the skin you're in

Imagine a lakeside setting. A building overlooks tranquill water, and a patient arrives for a session at an aesthetics center. The patient emerges from the car, enters the well-appointed lobby and checks in with the professional staff. Imagine the patient waiting to be called back, sitting by large windows perusing a magazine, or texting with a friend about how excited they are for the upcoming procedure. Chances are, you’ve imagined the scene well. And you’ve imagined the patient is a woman.

But if Aesthetic Specialty Centre (ASC) has anything to say about it, that stereotype could well change.

The clinical aesthetic centre located off Old Alabama Road specializes in dermatology and plastic surgery and offers a wide range of procedures for customers. But one of the largest trends they’ve seen in recent years — and one which they are actively cultivating for the future — is an increase in male patients.

“It’s so very exciting to watch men come to the office with a girlfriend, friend or wife,” says Kimberly Palmieri, ACS practice administrator, “and then start to ask questions like ‘What is available for me?’ Or many times they watch a friend go through the process, and then begin to ask the questions.”

A male patient’s visit to ACS usually starts small, the staff says, with something simple and non-invasive like a hydrafacial — a procedure to clean, revitalize and improve both the actual health of and the aesthetic look of the face. It uses water, unlike other procedures that rely on lasers or more abrasive chemical peels, and ACS is one of the few clinics in the area that offers the service. It’s popular for patients of a range of ages and for many reasons — from wanting to look best for prom photos to those getting ready for a job interview, first date or wedding, says Melissa Carranza, RN, who’s worked with ASC and founder Dr. Marc Yune, MD, for almost a decade.

Beyond that, male patients at ACS also seek treatment for double chins, love handles and breast reductions (gynecomastia). “Having a double chin is a big area of concern for our male patients,” says Palmieri, and two of ACS’s newest in-office procedures — Kybella and CoolMini — specifically treat that issue. Both Palmieri and Carranza cite the influence of social media, online dating and a general feeling that it’s time men take care of their physical appearance, too, as drivers of the trend.

And the latest data shows that the men of the Perimeter are in line with national trends. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) reports thaSt 2016’s most popular aesthetic procedures for men in the United States include liposuction, breast reduction, eyelid or nose surgery, and Botox.

That’s in line with what ACS sees its patients want.

“Botox is definitely popular in the area,” says Carranza, who adds that it’s often seen as an introductory procedure for men who may be reluctant to commit to larger undertakings for their first experience with a plastic surgeon, which can then lead to larger procedures like liposuction or gynecomastia.

In fact, in the United States in 2015, plastic surgeons performed more than 68,000 aesthetic breast reduction surgeries — and male patients accounted for more than 40 of the procedures.

“As plastic surgery is becoming more common and accepted in men, we’re seeing more of them undergo procedures to tighten and tone problem areas, like the breasts,” said  Dr. David Song, MD, MBA, FACS, and the 2016 president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) president, when the data was released. “This procedure is often done in younger men who face genetic challenges with the size and shape of their breasts, and when appropriate, surgery can make a big difference in their lives.”

So whether it’s social pressure, increased awareness in health, or even suggestions from a friend, spouse or significant other that are driving men to improve their physical appearance through procedures and surgeries, it’s clear that men are imagining the possibilities. And the professional team of medical doctors, registered nurses, patient coordinators and medical aestheticians at ASC is ready to help turn that imagined self into reality.

Just for Perimeter North readers in June: mention this story and men will receive $50 off Botox, a Hydrafacial or laser hair removal. Now that’s smart!