Consulting Male Patients

By Dr Teuta Berisha and Mr Benji Dhillon / 18 Jun 2021

Dr Teuta Berisha and Mr Benji Dhillon outline how to ensure male patients are comfortable when seeking aesthetic treatments

Men are beginning to find it easier to approach practitioners about their facial concerns and in turn, receive treatments which will help them look and feel more confident.

Whilst more men are seeking treatments such as dermal fillers, botulinum toxin, hair restoration and body contouring procedures, the majority of procedures continue to be performed on women. A 2019 report carried out by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons highlighted that men only make up 8% of the total number of cosmetic procedures performed in the UK.1

The majority of practitioners continue to have a predominately female patient base, meaning many of them will have less experience in male consultations than they do in female. But with an expected continuing increase in men seeking treatments, practitioners must be carrying out tailored and appropriate consultations for these patients. This article will aim to give clinicians some practical tips and things to consider when they are consulting men.

Conflicts men face when discussing treatments

If you spoke to a group of women, you will likely find that most of them know of someone who has had an aesthetic intervention. This has led to more conversations amongst women surrounding the treatments they have had and their experiences. However, in our experience, this is the opposite for men. Men are less likely to be open with others about their treatments, and this can result in them being less tolerant of longer periods of downtime. However, many may not be aware that a lot of the non-surgical procedures available are minimally invasive and have a quick recovery time, so more male-focused education is required.

Unfortunately, for men especially, there is still a stigma surrounding these treatments and, consequently, discussions on this topic amongst men tend to be limited. Fewer conversations about this means many men continue to be unaware of the vast range of treatment options that are available and the natural results that can be achieved. Many fear looking like they’ve had ‘work done’ which is further propagated by any overfilled and unnatural results that they may see on females and in the mainstream media. This work is easily noticed and if men see examples of these results, they fear being treated similarly.

Another conflict for men is the worry of someone seeing them in a clinic or finding out they have had a treatment done, as they believe it can make them look vain. This can make it difficult for men to book in a consultation to discuss their concerns with a practitioner. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in video consultations becoming the norm to keep aesthetic businesses going and, interestingly, we have found that video consultations have actually made men more comfortable in having a consultation in the first place. As the world reopens, we will be continuing video consultations for those who are uncomfortable coming in initially, and we recommend that other practitioners ensure that this option is clearly stated on their website, social media and booking page.

Talking to male patients

There are subtle differences when consulting men versus women. Usually, we find women are keen to know as much about the variety of options available to them. This therefore requires time to explore what their priorities are and map out and explain the varying treatment modalities. Men, on the other hand, usually prefer a succinct appointment and for the practitioner to identify the treatment or plan they should go forward with. They are unlikely to proceed with multiple sessions of any treatment and prefer to have the minimum number of visits possible. Of course, this has to balance with ensuring they understand what is available to them and managing expectations, which is usually to do with expecting ‘quick’ results. In our experience, men, tend to respond to direct and often honest explanations of what is and what isn’t achievable. Practitioners must also be prepared for the majority of men to not follow aftercare results, as we have found this to be a particular challenge.

A good consultation must be conducted before a patient has any medical aesthetic treatment. Specifically, for men, the consultation should be utilised as an opportunity to showcase examples of male patients you have treated. Using these visual aids will help to make it clear to the patient that the treatment you provide is bespoke to the individual and they are not going to be treated in the same way as female patients.

Men may worry about others knowing that they have had a treatment done, therefore, these before and after photos will aid in showing the impressive and subtle natural-looking results you can achieve. When showing examples of your work, patients viewing them can worry that you will similarly use their photos in the future. It is worth explaining that you place the utmost importance on confidentiality and will only ever share their photos if you have their consent as per the General Data Protection Regulations.2

Patients need to know and feel that you understand the goal of their treatment and education is very important. By educating patients on the ageing process and the different aesthetic ideals in men versus women, they will be able to trust that you understand their goals and have confidence that you will treat them appropriately.

Top tips on giving male patients the best experience

  1. Show male patients that you will treat them differently to females and will masculinise rather than feminise male faces (if this is indeed their requests). Do this by spending time during the consultation to educate them on the differences between male and female ideals and also on the ageing process.
  2. Carefully consider the marketing in your practice and ensure it isn’t tailored towards women only. Aim to include male marketing images in the clinic and have a gender-neutral clinic and website colour scheme. This will help make men feel less out of place in your practice.
  3. Offer a range of treatments that are popular amongst men, such as platelet-rich plasma for hair restoration and cryolipolysis for body contouring, to attract more male patients to your clinic. This can also lead to more cross-referrals within the clinic. 

Summary

Although fewer men seek treatment, clinicians need to be confident in how to consult these patients. It is imperative that your clinic and consultation will make your male patients feel comfortable and they should leave feeling educated on the aesthetic treatments that are available to them. This will help to dispel misinformation surrounding these treatments and aid in breaking the stigma associated with men seeking aesthetic interventions.

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