'Daddy-do-overs' on the rise: SA men turn to surgery to tap the font of youth
Mark Gibbons is 61 but could pass for a man 15 years younger thanks to the many nips, tucks, lifts and fills he's had over the years.
Gibbons, a retired US executive living in Cape Town, has botox and fillers done every six months to maintain his youthful look. Prior to that he's had a facelift, a nose job and liposuction.
Gibbons is among an increasing number of men in SA embracing non-invasive procedures and even going under the knife to enhance their features.
The move is part of an international trend that has been dubbed the "daddy-do-over", where men seek to reverse the toll that parenting and work stress has taken on them.
In a first-of-its-kind study, plastic surgeons at Georgetown University Medical Centre, in the US, found that when a man has a nip or a tuck on his face, it significantly increases perceptions of attractiveness, likeability, social skills, or trustworthiness.
Plastic surgeon Lionel Jedeikin of the Alchimia Clinic in Cape Town has seen an increase in the number of men seeking procedures during the past five years.
"Five years ago I had about 10 to 20 male patients per year. Now it's up to 100."
Jedeikin attributed the increase to men mostly wanting to "remain younger in the workplace".
He said advanced surgical methods with shorter downtime made it easier for men to have work done.
Jedeikin said his more unusual requests included penile thickening - which involves injecting fat cells into the penis to increase the girth - and breast implants for a man transitioning into a woman.
Many men in the 25 to 45 age group seek botox, fillers, rhinoplasty and liposuction. Those between 50 and 70 want eyelid surgery as well as face and neck lifting.
Gibbons has been having procedures done for the past 20 years. "People noticed something different but couldn't quite put their fingers on it. I got a lot of compliments.
"[When] men and women have work done in their 60s and 70s, everybody would know and be talking about it. That's why I started early and phased in what I wanted done over a period of time."
[Highly-driven corporate types] enjoy the feeling of having control over their appearance as well as their careersAesthetic doctor Anushka Reddy
Johannesburg aesthetic doctor Anushka Reddy said men booking nonsurgical procedures were highly driven corporate types.
"They enjoy the feeling of having control over their appearance as well as their careers."
Psychologist Rakhi Beekrum said more men were exploring plastic surgery because they felt pressure "to look youthful to prevent being overlooked in favour of younger candidates in the corporate world".
Frank Graewe, a plastic surgeon in Cape Town who performed the world's first penile transplant five years ago, said since 2000 cosmetic surgery among men in SA had increased at a similar rate to that in high-income countries such as the US, which had seen an increase of about 29% in 10 years.
There's also been an increase of more than 200% in nonsurgical procedures such as botox and fillers.
He said procedures to increase penile length and girth had also shot up recently.