The rise and rise of male vanity

The male Botox generation is turning to treatments that were once the province of women. But how sexy is it?

Vanity, thy name has changed to Man, it seems. Increasingly, men are giving women a run for their money when it comes to spending on looking good, with latest figures revealing that record numbers are opting for a shot of Botox to keep the wrinkles at bay. The new figures showed a 30 per cent increase in men choosing the treatment.

Plastic surgery clinics are reporting a surge in business from men seeking a helping hand to stave off the ageing process. And men aren't just interested in looking younger, but also thinner and more polished.

Inspired by sportsmen such as the Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas, the number of men having laser hair removal has almost doubled in the past 12 months at one national cosmetic surgery chain.

Devotees of Botox include Pop Idol's Simon Cowell, Baywatch's David Hasselhoff and Sylvester "Rocky" Stallone; while John Schneider, The Dukes of Hazzard star, has admitted to having liposuction.

Liz Dale, director of the Harley Medical Group, where Fabregas spent 3,000 getting his chest and leg hair zapped, said: "Men are no longer embarrassed about having treatment done. They see film stars and think, 'Why can't I look like them?'"

One Botox advocate is John, a 41-year-old housing officer who works for local government. He said: "The frown lines on my forehead have now been refined, and I certainly intend to continue with whatever treatments there are available to keep me looking good."

A recent Mintel report revealed that the number of men who would consider plastic surgery is catching up with their female counterparts, at 9 per cent compared with 23 per cent. As with most body-conscious trends, the UK is taking its lead from the US, where new figures out last week from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery showed that more than 1.1 million men had plastic surgery in 2006, up 8 per cent since 2000. The figures also showed that more than 400 men had "pectoral implants", twice as many as the previous year.

Charlotte Hynes, an aesthetician at London Plastic Surgery Associates, said: "Men are much more conscious of the ageing process. They are keen to compete with their younger counterparts in the workplace by not looking old." The cosmetic surgery practice said that the number of men demanding aesthetic assistance has jumped by almost a third in the past year.

The Botox boom followed an explosion of interest in men's grooming products, which now make up a 800m-a-year market. Boots is among those retailers capitalising on this trend by launching a new range of its No 7 skincare line designed specially for men. This includes its cult anti-ageing product, Protect & Perfect Beauty Serum, which has been repackaged to appeal to men.

Fiona Lakin, marketing manager at Boots, said sales of men's skincare products were growing faster than the rest of the chain's products. "Huge growth is coming from intensive moisturisers, eye creams and, recently, self-tanning moisturisers," she added.

Dylan Jones, editor of GQ, said: "The men's grooming industry is still in its infancy but it will be huge." The UK male skincare market is worth 46m and growing annually at 13 per cent. Companies are dreaming up new products to take a cut of the market. The shaver maker Remington has just launched a new "performance body hair trimmer" for men who want to shave their chests without splashing out thousands of pounds on laser hair removal. Kamal Grewall, Remington's marketing manger, said it was mainly men aged 20 to 40 who are "much more interested in personal grooming".

Not all women approve of the crop of new men, who have been immortalised on a television show on Sky, Vain Men, which shows how the popularity of waxing, manicuring and cosmetic surgery has resulted in body fascism among men.

Lisa Smosarski, editor of the celebrity weekly More magazine, said: "When it comes to grooming, there is one simple rule: men should be men. That means hair that's allowed to go bald or grey with dignity, a face that creases when it smiles, and a healthy lack of interest in anything containing a pentapeptide or antioxidant. It's impossible to find any positive outcomes of excessive male grooming."

Celebrity vanity...

David Hasselhoff The 'Baywatch' star is proud of his Botox, saying 'Everyone has had it. It takes out the frown'

John Schneider 'Dukes of Hazzard' star had liposuction, frustrated that after '1,000 sit-ups, nothing was happening'

Cesc Fabregas Arsenal's midfielder caused a stir when he stripped off to reveal a smooth chest after laser treatment

Tom Cruise His nose has slimmed down since 'Top Gun'. Also believed to have had cosmetic dentistry

Kenny Rogers The country singer has that permanently surprised look after a facelift and a browlift

Matthew McConaughey Halted dramatically receding hairline, regaining a full head of hair two years ago. Surely a transplant

Clint Eastwood The actor-turned-director is believed to have resorted to blepharoplasty, or upper eyelid surgery

Simon Cowell He may have sworn blind that he has not had pectoral implants, but he's a committed Botox fan

Further viewing: The show 'Vain Men' can be seen on Sky Travel tomorrow at 3.30pm

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