Procedures to Reverse the Signs of Aging Are No Longer Just for the Fairer Sex Remember actor John Wayne back in the day? His cowboy leading-man role was tough and manly. That meant squinty eyes- I guess those were supposed to scare the bad guys-a leathery face full of sun-induced wrinkles that resembled a road map, and a forehead that looked like an accordion. If high-definition television had existed then, Wayne would have made cosmetic surgeons hyperventilate. Fast forward to today. Brad Pitt. He has smooth, mostly wrinkle-free skin, a great head of hair, and a bod in super shape. It’s why the 43-year-old actor looks at least a decade younger.
And it’s not just Photoshop. Times have changed. Today’s hip men (don’t even think about the “metro” word, I hate it) use just about every health and beauty trick to shave off years and look their best. It’s just a fact of modern life: Real men moisturize.
Sure, not smoking, not drinking excessively and getting only a little sun keep your genes their best, but what if your gene pool stinks? What can you do if the men in your family lose their hair in their 30s, you’re stuck with a body that stays flabby despite gym workouts, and your face seems more like sandpaper than velvet? Don’t despair. There are bundles of fixes available, from your local drugstore to the doctor’s office.
As a Brit, I know a secret. For decades, European men-such as David Beckham-have stolen skin- care products from their girlfriends. After all, both sexes confront the same type of stress through wind, sun and pollution. Sorry, fellows, you don’t get a free ride when it comes to wrinkles and skin damage.
The easy part starts at the skin-care counter. Every night (it sounds tough, but isn’t-after all, you brush your teeth daily, right?), you should use a gentle exfoliating cleanser to remove the day’s dirt and grime. A good product, and there are plenty, won’t irritate your skin or clog your pores. Then apply a rich moisturizer. If you’re really into it, use a separate eye cream that targets puffiness and black circles. If you don’t want just a moisturizer Band-Aid, you should opt for a tretinoin-based prescription cream such as Retin-A or Tazorac. They are FDA- approved and restore the skin’s surface while eliminating tiny wrinkles. A little dab goes a long way, so don’t overdo it. As these are available in different strengths, start low until you see how your skin Anti-aging measures have long been the domain of women, but these days an increasing number of men are embracing advanced skin care, hair replacement and dental procedures to help make them look younger. reacts. They also make you a little more sun-sensitive, so limit your poolside visits. But if you use them regularly, you’ll see your small facial lines dissolve away. So now you’re into moisturizers, using Retin-A and liking the newer you, but you want to erase even more years. Okay, you have the youth addiction. Now let’s get to the serious stuff, where moisturizers seem like child’s play. Want to blast the skin and remove accumulated damage all at once? Try Fraxel or IPL (Intermittent Pulse Light). The first is a laser and the second a milder technology. Both will clear your skin of aging spots, tighten pores, plump the collagen and provide a smooth appearance. Technologies such as Titan and Thermage tighten your skin to what it was a decade earlier, and these are lunchtime procedures, with no downtime. Cool. If you want to keep it up, you’ll need two or three a year, and they run about $1,000 each. But hey, no one said looking great would be cheap.
So your skin is now in good shape, but what about your balding or receding hairline? Skip the toupee unless you like furry hats. A comb-over? Donald Trump will cure you of that thought. You can use over-the-counter products such as minoxidil that sometimes stimulate a little growth. The same is true with prescriptions such as Propecia. But the gold standard is still a hair transplant-and I don’t mean your father’s transplant, where a treated head ended up with a few sprouts here and there. Today, microsurgery has perfected the art of restoring almost a full head of hair. But beware: The balder you are, the more it costs, so start early. And once you have the hair you want, a little dye or highlighting can help you keep it looking perfect. Just remember, if you toy with your color, you don’t want it to look like shoe polish.
Now you have the hair and skin. Bad teeth? No problem, just get some clear braces to straighten out the crooked smile, and then blast them with a professional brightening system such as Zoom! or BriteSmile. And if your teeth are beyond help, remember veneers; they’ll give you white chicklets for just a small mortgage. Too lazy for the gym? Save your money on personal trainers and go to a cosmetic doctor. Liposuction is great for getting rid of love handles that are embarrassing when you remove your shirt, or cleaning up a fat neck where a double chin has become your trademark. Want more than mere fat removal? There are pec, butt and calf implants for that “I work out hard six times a week” look. Sure, it’s cheating, but if you have the money and can set aside the recovery time, it’s body building without the sweat. And if your face needs serious work, your plastic surgeon can help. Lifting droopy eyes and removing under-eye bags can erase years.
When the whole face is a goner, remember that almost 20 percent of face-lifts are now for men. Sure, you’ve seen the bad ones-Burt Reynolds?-but there are plenty of good ones that you almost never notice. Do I hear Arnold Schwarzenegger? So remember, fellows: In our culture, looking your best, and as young as possible, is not an option but a necessity. From business to dating to just simple socializing, we all make instant judgments about people we meet by how they look. Why live with the face you were born with when you can do so much to make it the face you wish you were born with? Go ahead, shave off some years, protect it with good creams, and then just tell your friends you’ve only had a relaxing vacation on the French Riviera.