When you think of Botox, you might reasonably picture a woman in her 40s or 50s seeking to banish her wrinkles.
But, believe it or not, an increasing number of men are now getting the injections – including some who are desperate for a chiselled jaw.
In a trend being dubbed ‘brotox’, clinicians say appearance-conscious young men are seeking to emulate the sharp features of ex-One Direction star Liam Payne and Hollywood heartthrob Ryan Gosling.
NHS doctor and GMC-registered aesthetician Dr Ed Robinson says a quarter of his cosmetic treatment patients in 2023 were men.
For comparison, the figure stood at just 10 per cent one year earlier, he says.
In a trend being dubbed ‘brotox’, clinicians say appearance-conscious young men are seeking to emulate the sharp features of ex-One Direction star Liam Payne (pictured)
Barbie became the biggest box office hit of 2023, featuring Ryan Gosling as Ken (pictured), which experts said depicted the ‘ideal male body’, leaving some men looking for ways to boost their image through aesthetic treatments
And Dr Robinson, who works in clinics in Manchester and Cheshire, said: ‘That number is showing no signs of slowing.
‘The taboo around male cosmetic enhancement is gradually breaking.
‘More men are getting more treatments that they didn’t get before.’
The increase has primarily been seen in men in their late 20s and early 30s seeking ‘feature enhancement’, according to Dr Robinson.
Botulinum toxin (often just shortened to Botox) and dermal fillers were among the most popular options sought by men.
Both can be used to create a supposed ‘masculinisation effect’, such as making the jaw line more slim or defined.
Botox works by relaxing muscles in the face to smooth out lines and wrinkles and, when injected into the masseter muscle – a rectangular muscle in the face used for chewing – it makes the jaw appear slimmer.
Meanwhile, filler adds volume to the face and can be used to define the chin and jowl area, creating a better defined jawline.
‘I have had many patients bring in photos of celebrities like Liam Payne as inspiration for treatment, asking for fillers and Botox to achieve his look,’ he added.
Experts speculated last year that the former One Direction member had had jawline filler and buccal fat removal — a procedure that cuts out the fat between the cheeks and jaw bones — as well as Botox to lift his eyebrows and eyelids.
Meanwhile, demand for ‘Brotox’ in the US has risen by 400 per cent since 2020, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Dr Robinson doesn’t expect the trend to fade this year.
He said men are now happy to hand over £250 and more for cosmetic treatments, from changing the shape of their jaw to improving their hairline.
Barbie became the biggest box office hit of 2023, featuring Ryan Gosling as Ken, which experts said depicted the ‘ideal male body’, leaving some men looking for ways to boost their image through aesthetic treatments.
Additionally, Joe Jonas has openly discussed having injections of Xeomin, a Botox alternative, into his frown lines.
Celebs speaking out is breaking down the taboo around male cosmetic treatments, according to Dr Robinson.
Filters on TikTok and Instagram has been another factor for the surge in popularity.
‘The increasing complexity and intelligence of filters which can change the shape of your face even down to your nose and lips as well as skin quality is also driving demand,’ says Dr Robinson.
Popularity of male Botox has undoubtedly soared, says Simon Thorpe, an advanced aesthetics practitioner at Thames Valley Aesthetics in Berkshire.
Last year, he only saw two to three men a month enquire about treatments, now he sees two to three a week come to his clinic.
‘There’s an obvious greater acceptance in men having treatments in the last few years,’ he said, which he believes is partly to do with some men ‘secretly admiring the effects that their wives and girlfriends enjoy’.
He also suggests the amount of high-street clinics has made more treatments readily available.
But experts at Save Face, a Government approved register of accredited practitioners, say social media, advertising campaigns and reality TV programmes have driven a significant growth in the number of men seeking non-surgical cosmetic treatments such Botox and dermal fillers.
Joe Jonas has openly discussed having injections of Xeomin, a Botox alternative, into his frown lines
NHS doctor and GMC-registered aesthetician, Dr Ed Robinson, says a quarter of his cosmetic treatment patients in 2023 were men
And the demand is not just for Botox — there has also been a surge in men seeking treatments to reduce hair loss.
One treatment offered by Dr Robinson involves injecting platelet-rich plasma from a patients’ blood into hair follicles, also known as a PRP injection.
It involves putting a sample of a patient’s blood into a centrifuge — a device which spins at high force, separating platelets from the blood. This mixture is then injected into the scalp in a bid to boost hair growth, with platelets thought to trigger follicle growth.
While the procedure is deemed safe and has shown some success for specific types of hair loss, experts say more research is needed to determine how effective it is and warn that other treatments are often needed in combination with PRP jabs.
NHS clinics already offer PRP injections to patients with injured knees or tendons to stimulate the healing process.
Private providers also give the injections cosmetically, with claims they can slow and even reverse the ageing process by plumping the skin and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
‘Platelets contained in the plasma secrete growth factors which encourages hair growth by nourishing hair follicles and providing the optimum conditions for them to grow,’ said Dr Robinson.
‘It is also anti-inflammatory which helps treats hair loss driven by inflammation.’
Although he doesn’t perform buccal fat pad removal, because it is a surgical procedure, he has still noticed a considerable proportion of his patients have had it or are considering getting it done.
But the surgery creates a gaunt look, which can strip people of their youthful appearance, Dr Robinson warns.
‘It can cause premature ageing in some people,’ he said. ‘Women are more likely to develop a gaunt appearance from it as the fat pads make up the structure of our face which contribute to a youthful appearance.
‘In fact many anti-ageing dermal filler procedures are aimed at replacing fat pads in the face.
‘The same can happen to men too, but there is more muscle bulk in the mid face which reduces the gaunt effect a bit.’
Dr Robinson, who has clinics in Manchester and Cheshire, credits celebs including Joe Jonas and Liam Payne for getting ‘Brotox’ for increasing its popularity
Botox costing £250 to £400 can also be expensive to maintain, says Dr Robinson.
But he stresses this does depend on a few lifestyle factors.
Smoking, using sunbeds, sunbathing, not wearing SPF every day and not exercising will increase the chances of aging faster.
As a result, you will require more frequent treatments to upkeep the look, he warns.
‘If you adhere to a good skin care regime and have good lifestyle habits, you’ll spend less on Botox as your results will last longer — and require less frequent treatments,’ he added.
But as popularity for treatments soar so have the complications.
Last year Save Face received over 2,000 patients with complications from procedures that had gone wrong, 10 per cent of which were men.
The previous year Save Face received less than five reports from men.
‘Over 83 per cent of all complaints were relating to treatments administered by beauticians, hairdressers and laypeople,’ said Ashton Collins director at Save Face.
’62 per cent of these patients found their practitioner on social media and chose them because they were offering cheap deals and that were promoted using celebrity pictures,’ she added.
She stresses that Botox and other masculinisation treatments are not cheap and are often only temporary and need updating every few months.
However, once you become accustomed to the way you look after cosmetic treatment it can make you reluctant to give it up, says Ms Collins.
‘It can be tempting to try and seek out cheap deals on social media which inevitably leads to poor outcomes and increased risk of complications,’ she said.
‘Don’t cut corners, find a reputable and trustworthy practitioner who has the expertise to help you get the most effective treatments to suit your budget.’