The Manly Makeover: Why Facelift Surgery Takes a Different Approach for Men

Facelifts have traditionally been for women—but traditions are changing.

The male facelift is trending, partly due to changing perceptions of cosmetic surgery and partly due to improved surgical techniques. Since men have different anatomical and skin features, they require a unique facelift approach—one that experienced plastic surgeons can easily execute.


If you’re considering a facelift in Burbank, rest assured that you can get a masculine, natural-looking facelift. It just requires a different approach.

Biological Differences in Men’s and Women’s Skin

Before diving into the facelift approaches for men, it’s important to understand that there are biological differences between men’s and women’s skin. These changes can affect how the skin reacts to a facelift and impact the overall results.

For example, men’s facial skin is much thicker than women’s—often between 10-20% thicker. This can make it more difficult for plastic surgeons to lift and manipulate the skin and cause a longer settling time post-op.

Men also produce more collagen than women, giving their skin a firmer, tighter appearance. A higher collagen production also means a slower aging process. However, facial wrinkles are often much more prominent in men due to limited skincare routines.

Women are much more likely to care about their skin’s appearance and take proactive measures to protect their skin. Take, for example, an NIH report that found women are more than twice as likely to use sunscreen than men. Men, on the other hand, may see this as too feminine or unnecessary. The result is more prominent signs of aging—despite the higher collagen production.

These signs of aging are often what prompt men to consider a facelift. The good news is that the high collagen production can help promote the skin’s natural healing process after a facelift. It helps reduce swelling and strengthen connective tissues, potentially shortening the recovery time.

Of course, another major difference between men’s and women’s skin is hair production. Men have significantly more facial hair than women, which often results in regular shaving. This can actually cause excess stress on the skin and inflammation, leading to premature signs of aging.

A facelift in Burbank can help address these aging signs along the cheeks and jowls, but the plastic surgeon must be careful with the beard lines. Not only can the pulling make the beard line look unnatural, but the incisions and scarring can also disrupt hair follicles. An experienced plastic surgeon can navigate these challenges by strategically concealing the incisions around the ear.

Aesthetic Considerations for Men

There’s a general misconception that facelifts give an obvious, pulled look that appears both unnatural and feminine. With today’s advanced techniques, that is so far from the truth. Facelifts now look incredibly natural—and can either enhance feminine or masculine features.

While women typically want a softer, rounder look, men often want to enhance their jawline and create a more contoured neck. Another common request is to reduce the deep smile lines and jowls. A plastic surgeon can soften those lines and tighten the skin around the lower portion of the face—all while restoring youthful masculinity.

Since the masculine facial structure is typically much more defined, tightening or repositioning the skin does not give a soft, ‘feminine’ look but instead helps redefine the masculine chin and jawline. That said, male facelift patients should seek an experienced plastic surgeon that knows how to not pull the skin too tight and cross the line into a forced, feminine look.

While most male facelifts focus on the lower portion of the face, some patients request full facial rejuvenation—especially if they are experiencing significant sagging skin around the eyes. This, again, requires a unique technique to preserve a masculine eye and brow shape. Men naturally have more hooded eyes and heavier brows. Manipulating the skin too much can change the eye shape and create a more feminine look, so plastic surgeons need to help lift the skin while maintaining a natural, manly eye and brow shape.

Cultural and Societal Expectations 

While male cosmetic surgery is becoming much more common and socially accepted, there is still a significant gender disparity. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ 2020 report found that only 8% of all cosmetic procedures were performed on men. That accounts for over 1 million procedures, but the gap is still significant.

Regarding specific procedures, men commonly get rhinoplasties, eyelid surgery, and cheek implants. Facelifts rank as the eighth most popular procedure, but there has been a 19% increase in male rhytidectomies (facelifts) since 2000.

This increased interest in male facelifts is likely to continue, especially with the rise of hybrid and remote work. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons explained that there was a popularity boost in facelifts after 2020 since men became hyperaware of their flaws after spending so much time on video calls. Plus, the ability for remote and hybrid work allows for more flexibility with the recovery time.

However, there are still significant societal stigmas surrounding male cosmetic procedures. Several global studies have explored male versus female attitudes about cosmetic procedures, and, in general, women are much more open and accepting. And in some cultures, particularly Asian and African Caribbean cultures, even women are more hesitant to get cosmetic procedures due to ethnic identity and traditional values.

Even with these ongoing societal expectations, male cosmetic procedures—particularly facelifts—are rising in popularity. This is likely due to advanced techniques and more natural results. Men don’t have to worry about that ‘obvious’ pulled or feminine look, so facelifts are becoming a more prominent solution to address typical signs of aging.

Procedure and Technique Differences

male faceliftAs mentioned above, male facelifts typically focus on the lower two-thirds of the face (i.e., jowls, cheeks, jawline, and neck). Women can often opt for a mini facelift in Burbank to address this area, but that approach doesn’t always work well with men.

Because men have much thicker skin, the minimally invasive mini facelift approach can’t appropriately lift the tissue. Instead, men typically need deep-plane or SMAS facelifts. These approaches also help avoid that unwanted ‘pulled’ look.

Instead of just pulling the skin, the SMAS facelift pulls on the layer of tissue beneath the skin (called the SMAS). A deep-plane facelift completely separates that tissue layer from the muscles underneath so the surgeon can lift and reposition the skin and tissues—no pulling involved.

Plastic surgeons also take a unique approach to incisions with male patients. While they can usually hide the incisions in the hairline along the temple and behind the ears, men often have receding hairlines. And then the surgeon must also correctly align the beard line and ensure the incision does not interfere with the facial hair. The easiest way to do this is to hide incisions around the ear. Men also tend to have more prominent scarring due to their thicker skin, so the ear folds can help make those scars inconspicuous.

Post-op recovery is also different for men. Not only does the thicker skin require a longer healing and setting time, but men also tend to bleed more. This puts them at a higher risk of developing hematomas after the surgery, so they need to attend regular post-op checkups.


Women have been the main cosmetic surgery patients for many years. But the self-esteem struggle that results from typical signs of aging exists in both genders. Thanks to more natural results and advanced techniques, men are becoming more comfortable with getting a facelift in Burbank.

If you’re tired of seeing those jowls or deep smile lines in the mirror, know that there are facial rejuvenation options for men. An experienced surgeon can develop a personalized approach to your facelift, helping you accentuate your masculine features and restore a youthful appearance—all while avoiding a feminine or ‘fake’ look.