If Don Draper were around in 2019, by now he would have traded his three-martini lunch for a little midday dermal filler. "Men in suits are lining up for their next fix," says New York City plastic surgeon Sachin Shridharani, MD, who has seen a significant rise in cosmetic procedures among his male clients.
And he's right. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, while men made up just 6% of injectable wrinkle reducer procedures in 2017, that number is a 347% increase since 2000. Certain invasive procedures, like liposuction, are showing a year-over-year increase as well. Still, because the majority of aesthetics marketing is targeted toward women — coupled with the fact that men aren’t talking about it with each other — it continues to feel taboo.
According to some experts, one of the biggest reasons men are seeking out these treatments is a changing workplace that increasingly values youth over experience. “Ageism is a very real thing, and many men feel highly pressured to stay relevant in their field,” says dermatological physician’s assistant Laura Dyer, MSHS, who has seen an increase in male patients asking for injectable wrinkle reducers and dermal fillers to help them look younger.
These men don’t want full-on makeovers, but rather subtle tweaks that won’t completely erase their age. “Men don’t want to look like they did 20 years ago, they just want to look like the best possible versions of themselves,” says Dr. Shridharani. “They want to look distinguished to add credibility, but young enough to not be irrelevant,” adds Dyer.
It’s a fine line made even finer by the fact that many men keep it a secret. Ahead, we talked to five men — who all requested anonymity — about their decision to get work done to get ahead at work.