Skin care for men and its marketing

Skincare Products

Male patients may be the forgotten consumer when it comes to cosmetics. There are many procedures that are marketed to men and can be successful, including laser hair removal, liposuction, Botox and fillers. With appropriate marketing efforts, the introduction and integration of a male-oriented cosmetic product branch within a practice can be effectively established. Methods of marketing include in-house efforts as well as media placements that allow male and female ads to be essentially co-promoted and potentially solitary ads aimed toward cosmetic sales. Various product types and problem-related cosmetic information is given in this article.


Male patients have, for a long time, been the forgotten cosmetic customer. Whereas women have been a marketing target for years, there is a new demographic today and it is time to start thinking of men as customers for skin care as well as cosmetic procedures. This is a burgeoning area, with an opportunity for tie-ins to cosmetic procedures from skin-treatment customers.

This article evaluates the process of male skin care decisions, with particular attention to products and procedures that are sold and performed in physician’s/dermatologist’s offices. Additionally, it will tie in the marketing of these products with involvement of appropriate ancillary procedures.

The number one cosmetic surgical procedure performed on men is chemical peeling, followed by nose reshaping and laser hair removal. Obviously, chemical peeling is a procedure that dovetails with products represented and sold in the medical office, but even patients undergoing nose reshaping or laser hair removal have skin concerns postprocedure. Microdermabrasion and Botox treatment are also popular among men, whereas filler substances, liposuction, eyelid surgery, hair transplantation, and breast reduction round out the top 10 procedures for male patients. If your office performs any of these procedures, ancillary product sales are nearly inevitable. Additionally, many male patients undergoing microdermabrasions and filler procedures will be grateful for advice on skin care regimens after the procedure, as they may wish to change to a more effective and synergistic treatment. If your office already carries skin care products, the present author recommends that you use very similar marketing techniques as those you use for women, with a simple mention of how these products apply to men and in-house ads that deal with male-oriented concerns. It goes without saying that the staff will need to work with the patients and introduce the concept of skin care regimens complementing the procedure and options for these regimens when appropriate.

Lines that have male-only products include Phytomer (www.Phytomer.com) and Sothys (www. Sothys.com), Osmotics (www.Osmotics.com), B Kamins (www.bkamins.com), Guinot, Jane Iredale (www.janeiredale.com), Murad (www.Murad.com), Neova Procyte (www.Procyte.com), and PCA (www. pcaskin.com), L&L Skin (www.llskin.jp) whereas most of the major lines such as Obagi (www.obagi.com), SkinCeuticals (www. skinceuticals.com), Skin Medica (skinmedica.com) and Biopelle (www.Biopelle.com) have product lines that are useful for either men or women. These products are not heavily fragranced. The lines tend to be well accepted and have packaging that should not embarrass a male if his girlfriend or wife sees them at the sink.

Individual product types

Reviewed in succeeding discussions are specific product types, with emphasis on products that can provide benefits when designed by the male client.

Are male skin care regimens necessary?

Although it may be easy to dismiss the differences in male versus female skin as minimal, thereby diminishing the need for specific male skin care products, there are certain differences in regimens that are quite important, affecting the gamut from over the counter regimens to cosmeceuticals. These may be divided among age groups and professions as well. Our practice has found that, although many products can be used interchangeably between men and women, there are certain areas where a male-oriented product is helpful.

Over the counter products

Many over the counter products are genderoriented, with or without intention. For example, certain deodorants obviously are marketed and designed for a specific gender, with containers that are uniquely styled for the gender targeted. On the other hand, it can be challenging in items like shampoos, to find clues as to the fragrance and/or perfume contained within the product. That may affect its use by one gender versus another. Because of this, the market has seen the entry of male-oriented cosmetic lines, with decisions made easier for men looking for a product.

Additionally, it should be noted, that in my practice, I have found that men have very limited willingness to try regimens with multiple steps. Whereas the occasional male will willingly submit to a complicated regimen, most are “turned off” when the idea of more than a couple of steps are mentioned.

We have found that many of the over-the-counter and cosmeceutical acne regimens are more complicated than men are willing to consider. For this reason, we have alternatives for men available in our office that include only one or two steps. Additionally, when the nurses or patient coordinators in our office bring in regimens, we deliberately skip steps in some of the regimens, if and when appropriate. For example, many men already have oily skins and do not care to moisturize. Toners tend to be less useful in men as well.

Hyperhidrosis, as referenced in previous discussions, is the other area where men may have needs that are specific to fragrance-related concerns. Fortunately, this area tends to be one where men have suitable choices for treatments. The present author feels it is unfortunate that “wrinkle treatments” in over-the-counter preparations are mainly marketed to women. It is the present author’s hope that companies over time will see the benefit in marketing to men with products that are designed specifically toward the male consumer.


As of the time of publication, there were 60,000 Google entries for male cosmeceutical products, as opposed to 478,000 entries for female cosmeceutical products. It is encouraging that many companies are starting to carry these sorts of products in response to demand from men.

Hair products

We carry several hair care products for thinning hair in our office. Some are “unisex,” but many tend to have a female-oriented spin. Rogaine and its ancillary products are marketed to men, but that is unusual in this field. This is another area of potential growth. When we see a male in office concerned with hair loss, we always bring Rogaine (now the foam) into the office for potential sale of this product to the patient. Many men will go on an expensive regimen such as oral Propecia and forget the more simple products that can increase results significantly. Although we oftentimes start a patient on this product only to see them purchase it elsewhere in the future, I view this as a service provided that enhances the treatment success.

Additionally, Osmotics has several products aimed at thinning hair in both men and women. These products, although they do not contain medications, can be useful in male regimens.

Shaving products

There are several types of shaving products aimed at men who may have ingrown hairs or pseudofolliculitis barbae. These products have been found to be very helpful to men in the present author’s practice, and it is surprising to see that they often had no idea they were available, even after visiting many physicians and/or dermatologists. Razors, such as the Bump Fighter Razor (American Safety Razor, Cedar Knolls, NJ), are helpful as well for men with pseudofolliculitis barbae. Additionally, the PFB Vanish is a cream that have been found to be helpful in our patients who have ingrown hairs. Other companies, such as Osmotics, carry various products for ingrown hairs as well.

Acne regimens

Whereas most acne regimens are fairly equivalent from men to women, the addition of toners, face creams with fragrance, and other extra steps, makes a male-oriented product helpful. There are several that we sell in the office, including the Obagi Clenziderm program and SkinMedica’s threepart acne care treatment.

Stretch mark creams

Men are frequently consumers for stretch mark creams. The present author carries several brands, including Neova Procyte Striae Cream, Phytomer Seatonic Stretchmark Cream and others by Sothys. All of these creams are fragranced, however, so clients need to be aware of this prior to purchase.

Wrinkle treatments

For many men, wrinkle treatments are rejected because of the fragrances contained. However, there are several regimens that are fragrance-neutral. These include the Biopelle line and Osmotics Male Facial Cleansing Scrub. Other companies with suitable products include the L&L Skin, Murad line, Phytomer, and PCA.

Marketing to the male consumer in conjunction with product sales

Previously, it was mentioned that our office markets products at the time of performing procedures. It goes without saying that whenever we bring products in the room for our male patients, we invariably will inquire as to any other cosmetic concerns as well. This open-ended question will often lead to questions about other products or procedures. Probably the most common procedure asked about is Botox treatment, but other fillers are commonly discussed, and liposuction is also a common area of discussion. Additionally, we place brochures prominently in the rooms, dealing with such procedures as tattoo removal, laser treatments and other gender-neutral procedures such as laser hair removal. This author’s office has brochures that cover laser hair removal of the back that are prominently displayed, as well as pictures in the room of procedures that were performed in the office for this and other cosmetic concerns.

It should be emphasized that it is important to make the male patient feel comfortable in the environment, such that they are willing to ask questions and explore alternatives to drugstoresupplied materials. We also have displays in the reception area that are male-oriented from time to time.

Eye treatments

Many men come in with concerns about dark circles under the eyes. The present author recommends various products, ranging from Obagi ElastiDerm Eye Cream, and the patients seem to like them.


Most over-the-counter moisturizers will suffice for men as long as they are fragrance free. We sell Vanicream and CeraVe in the office and find they are well received.

Planning a marketing campaign to men

Men can be difficult patients to market to, as they often won’t heed a call to action and will rely on their spouses to make the arrangements and appointments for them. This frequently results in suboptimal results of any campaign. On the other hand, commonly, the spouse will take the male patient to the office, ostensibly for another reason, and then bring up male cosmetic issues such as hair loss or liposuction, allowing the discussion to start. This is one more reason to have pertinent products or procedure brochures available. For example, we carry products such Rogaine for Men in the office, and find that it sells fairly well and allows for a nonextreme option if that is all the husband is looking for at the time of the consultation.

Marketing approaches to male cosmetics

We find that a slightly less “in your face” approach works best with men. Although many will appreciate the opportunity to purchase the products, marketing techniques are varied and results may not be the same if a “one-size-fits-all” approach is used.

Spa treatments

Our day spa attracts many men who are interested in treatments for skin conditions such as acne, brown spots, and wrinkles. We use our regimen sales as one other way to introduce our male clientele to the day spa. Usually, they are some of the most loyal patients, coming back without fail. Additionally, they tend to feel more inclined to upgrade treatments to newer options and are less price-conscious in general.

Marketing in house

As previously mentioned, our office places brochures in the rack that specifically address laser hair removal for both men and women, indicating to men that they can be good candidates for this procedure. Additionally, when we place pictures on the walls of the rooms in which procedures are performed, we try to approach an even mix of men and women in the pictures.

Pictures of liposuction aimed at men are divided into male flanks and male abdomen in our wall displays, whereas the laser hair removal photographs show male backs prominently. Many women will take information on these procedures home when they see these pictures on the wall.

Staff attitude is very important when men are being considered. An open attitude is of key importance while marketing to men. Men frequently believe their concerns are vain or petty and say something to that effect when prefacing their question. We try to reassure them that such is not the case and that we value their business, something that is very important when considering the male cosmetic patient.

We find that the rate of conversion is higher in men versus women. This may be the result of the fact that only the very motivated reach the office. Additionally, men tend to come to a decision on larger procedures earlier than women.

Once the consultation has been completed for a cosmetic regimen and/or skin care product, follow-up may be appropriate depending on the skin care regimen.

External advertising

Although we do not specifically market externally to men, we attempt to use ads that are effective for both sexes if we can. In some cases, it is best to use ads that appeal to both men and women, whereas other situations warrant male-specific messages. Here are some areas to consider.


Depending on the procedure we market in the newspaper, we attempt to make the advertisement applicable to both men and women. Although we usually include a picture of a woman for most ads other than liposuction, we use several ads that have both women and men in the picture. We do not specifically market skin care products in our ads for men, but many of our ads have pictures of products in them and we try to have one male-oriented product, when appropriate, in the picture.

Although certain procedures should more obviously be marketed to women (such as fillers for lips), men are nonetheless candidates. In print, we will usually say these procedures can be performed on both men and women, which encourages the option for men. This provides one more outlet for potential skin care product sales.

For procedures that are nearly 100% performed on men such as hair transplantation, the advertisement should be aimed at men. For these, we consider carefully whether the ad should be placed in male-oriented sections of the paper or in neutral sections, such as the main news. We typically place male-focused ads in the sports section but have found that wherever we place them, the return on investment is lower than ads aimed at females in female-oriented sections of the paper. For this reason, we no longer advertise this procedure except in-house.

Radio advertising

Although we have placed ads aimed mainly at men on radio, we feel that men tend to approach scheduling a consult for cosmetic procedures through a long-term decision-making process, rather than the more usual spur-of-the-moment decisionmaking for women. For this reason, we tend not to place male-oriented advertising on the radio, other than studies that aim at both men and women. Interestingly, one area in which men tend to indicate interest equivalent to that of women is studies of medication advertised on the radio. We do not specifically advertise products on the radio, but many of our product-oriented customers find out about us via radio.


We have found that seminars for men are very poorly attended, probably because men are much more private about their cosmetic surgery concerns than women are. At our seminars, we will usually have approximately a 20 : 1 ratio of women to men. The men that do attend are usually more likely to book surgeries, which is why it is a good sign when they do attend. Product sales tend to be poor at seminars because of the group mentality at the seminar and the high ratio of “tire-kickers” present at these.


Television can be a source of patient recruitment, but the present author’s practice has never chosen this avenue. That is not to say that it can not be helpful in some areas and for some specific practices, but it would seem to have a low likelihood of return on investment for skin care products.


We do not advertise products for men in magazines, but if we run skin care ads in magazines, we will occasionally add products in the ad that may appeal to both sexes. This may be an area of growth over the next decade.


Male cosmetic surgery procedures comprise approximately 10–20% of cosmetic revenue available and should play a significant role when developing your annual budget for advertising and conceiving advertising plans. With appropriate planning, cost-efficient and effective advertising can provide a good mix of male and female patients with little effort on the part of the dermatologist.


  1. Data provided by the ASPS (www. plasticsurgery.org/ public_education/2004Statistics.cfm <http://www.plasticsurgery. org/public_education/2004Statistics.cfm>) and ASDS (http:// www.asds-net.org/Media/NewsReleases/media-Newsroom05surveyimages.html <http://www.asds-net.org/Media/News Releases/media-Newsroom-05surveyimages.html>).
  2. L&L Skin MIO2 Face Lifting Massage Tool: https://www.llskin.jp/products/mio2/
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