NO MATTER WHAT YOUR BODY LOOKS LIKE UNDER YOUR CLOTHES, DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU CAN’T HIDE? YOUR FACE.
Roberto Olivardia, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and lecturer at Harvard Medical School, literally wrote the book on male body image. Since he and his coauthors published The Adonis Complex in 2000, he’s noticed a dramatic increase in men’s preoccupation with their face. “The everyday person has become the celebrity,” he says. “To have a picture taken these days, you have to look good, because with social media, everyone has access to it. This has heightened body image in a significant way.”
Photo-editing apps have too. “People can alter their faces very easily now,” says Olivardia. “They can see what they look like with a more angular jaw [for instance], and it’s sending people to cos-metic surgeons’ offices quicker.” A decade ago, patients would show up to their consultations with photos of celebrities. Now they come with their own doctored photos, a phenomenon Dr. Steinbrech calls “Snapchat dysmorphia.” It presents new issues to plastic surgeons, who spend more time adjusting a patient’s expectations because of things like basic anatomy and genetics. Facetune might be a magic wand, but surgery is not.
“The sharper the jaw, the stronger the man” is such a natural way to think that we don’t even question it. A study in 2013 discovered a link between a wider jaw and higher levels of circulating testosterone in men. A Duke University study found that CEOs with stronger facial features were seen as more competent. Another study reported that voters preferred leaders with more masculine features in wartime. In comic books (and conference rooms and the Oval Office and, I don’t know, a Cheesecake Factory), a square jaw suggests power. And more men like me are looking for ways of getting one.
So why do some guys have chins, and other’s don’t? Amaris B. Clinic’s Dr. Ivan Puah, who has more than 14 years of experience in aesthetic medicine, reveals: “The shape and size of your chin depends on your bony jaw structure. For those who seem to be missing out, the mandible’s frontal projection is not fully developed and leads towards a weak or recessive chin. Guys who have weak chins tend to have weaker facial proportions, which is less aesthetically pleasing and also appear to have double chins and rounder faces. A guy with more prominent chin does look more alpha-male, and examples of celebrities with strong chins include Brad Pitt and Jason Momoa.”
One of the few plastic surgeons in the U. S. to specialize in men, Douglas Steinbrech, M.D., reveals no matter what surgical options a patient goes for, adding fillers gets optimal results. In 2014, Dr. Steinbrech created what he calls the Male Model Makeover, which commonly includes enhancing the angles of the face. The jawline is his focus. “That a strong jaw is associated with respect and authority has become hardwired into our brains,” he says. “You see it more now because of the hypersexualization of superheroes.” Just look at Michael Keaton’s 1989 Batman next to Ben Affleck’s in 2016.
The secret to contouring a man’s face with only injectables, according to Lisa Goodman, founder of the antiaging clinic GoodSkin Los Angeles, “is really just about straight lines,” meaning that instead of making gentle curves that would feminize the face, the goal is to create angles. It’s achieved by weightier fillers like Radiesse which are injected deep and can visually enhance bone structure.
Locally, how do doctors like Dr. Puah assess what chin size should you get? As he shares: “It depends on the facial proportion of the patient and patient’s expectations. The idea is to design a chin which is proportionate to the facial size, shape and features.“
He elaborates on how the fillers work: “ In the case of Radiesse, it’s composed of small calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA) microspheres suspended in a soft gel matrix. They are synthetic CaHA microspheres (30%) suspended in a carboxy-methylcellulose resorbable aqueous gel carrier (70%). “ It stimulates your skin’s own regeneration abilities – new collagen is produced over the following weeks and months, making your skin stronger and more elastic. So, the acid test-how’s the procedure like and does it work? I popped to Amaris B. to let Dr Puah weave his magic. First up, some topical numbing cream and local anaesthetic that’s prepared into the filler prior to the procedure. I sat under the bright lights of the patient’s chair for uabout 20 minutes and several injections-which, with Dr Puah’s technique, seemed to minimize the pain, discomfort, and bleeding.
Did it work? Pretty well, actually-it took several blinks to realize what was once a full on slope at my chin was now a fairly raised slope-though Dr. Puah did mention that a side effect would be slight swelling, bruising and dull aching for a few days. But the result was fairly clear-a chinless DNA doesn’t mean you have to live chinless with modern medicine!
“THAT A STRONG JAW IS ASSOCIATED WITH RESPECT AND AUTHORITY HAS BECOME HANDWIRED INTO OUR BRAINS," HE SAY. "YOU SEE IT MORE NOW BECAUSE OF THE HYPER-SEXUALIZATION OF SUPERHEROES"