Tauranga men competing in a tough job market are increasingly turning to surgical and non-surgical cosmetic treatments to boost their confidence and appeal.

Botox and facial fillers are rising in popularity with men, while more extreme surgeries, such as liposuction, removal of "man boobs" and full body lifts are also sought after.

Western Bay men are also having waxing and facials to improve their appearance.

Auckland plastic surgeon Tristan de Chalain, who does consultations and surgery in Tauranga, said there had been an increase in men seeking appearance enhancements.


Most common were liposuction on the stomach and "love handles", work on drooping brows and hooded eyes, and "man boobs".

Some men have all three procedures.

"In an economic downturn or recession when there's a lot more competition out there for jobs, I think men are starting to work out that first impressions do count," he said.

"They don't want to look tired and grumpy, they are competing with younger men and are realising that."

Mr de Chalain said there had also been an increase in the number of men seeking Botox and fillers.

"You can pop out at lunch time and have a Botox jab and be back at your desk."

But a stigma remains around cosmetic surgery - particularly in Tauranga, with some clients preferring to travel to Auckland for their procedure.

"There is a great desire for secrecy because Tauranga is definitely a smaller pond [than Auckland], people are more aware that there's a stronger 'bush telegraph' so they want to keep quiet about it."

Men seeking surgery ranged from the young "self-aware", usually wanting a "tweak" such as a nose job, to middle-aged men "who'd rather spend the weekend in the shed".

Dr Paul Salmon, from The Skin Centre, has also noticed a trend towards men in the job market having Botox to improve their looks.

Men as young as 30 who were in jobs such as sales and marketing had also sought treatments to enhance their careers, he said.

Tauranga plastic surgeon Adam Bialostocki, of Bay Plastic Surgery, said men generally turned to cosmetic surgery as a confidence booster.

"Everyone has a different reason why they are doing it. It often comes down to being self-conscious about your appearance.

"It could be because they feel like they have to compete with a younger crowd."

He had recently had "a run" on gynecomastia - removal of "man boobs" - in men aged from their early 20s to their 60s.

"There's a big complaint that they feel like they can't take their T-shirt off in front of people, or have to wear baggy clothes to hide their chest shape."

Eyelid surgery was also popular among men, Mr Bialostocki said.

"I've seen men in a younger age group who say 'I've been told I look tired, can you freshen my appearance but don't make me look feminine'."

Mr Bialostocki has also performed complete body lifts for men still in their 20s, who had lost 40-50kg and had excess skin.

Mr Bialostocki said New Zealanders were conservative and still preferred to hide the fact they had had cosmetic surgery.

"They want to know they can go back to work and hide the fact they have had something done.

"People say 'gosh you look refreshed, you are looking well, those two weeks off on holiday have done you good'."

An increased demand for Botox is a driver for Trinity Clinics to open a branch in Tauranga later this year.

Director Marchelle Dann said her clinics, based out of day spas and beauty salons, would offer Botox for frown lines, forehead lines and crows feet.

A new trend for men was Botox for treatment of hyperhidrosis - extreme sweating.

Men aged from their mid 20s to 60s were seeking the treatment to avoid embarrassing sweaty patches.

Grooms were turning to the procedure to avoid excessive sweating at their wedding as "you don't want to ruin a $1000 suit".

Ms Dann said men "from corporate people to tradies" were placing more importance on their appearance.

Sarah Garratt-Roberts at Refresh Beauty Therapy in Papamoa offers targeted waxing and facials for men, but said men represented just 2 per cent of business.

Clients include "rugby guys" and body builders who mostly want back, chest and leg waxes.

The average client was middle-aged with a couple of kids.

Mrs Garratt-Roberts said image was still important in Tauranga, but men were private about seeking salon treatments.

"One guy sat out in his car for half an hour because he was so nervous to come in. There's a real stigma that goes with beauty salons."

What Tauranga men want:

  • Liposuction on tummies and love handles.

  • Removal of "moobs" - man boobs.

  • Eyelid and eyebrow lifts to look refreshed and vibrant.

  • Back and chest waxing.

  • Botox for frown lines and crows feet.