Why men in the GCC love plastic surgery

It’s still a taboo topic, but almost as many men in the Gulf are visiting cosmetic surgeries as women.

Neil Churchill May 23, 2016

Take a drive down Dubai’s Jumeirah and Al Wasl Roads, and you’ll notice an unusually high number of cosmetic surgeries.

It’s indicative of the size of the plastic surgery market in the region, but to give it some statistical backing, in the UAE there is an astonishing one cosmetic surgeon to every 18,000 people. Compare that to Brazil where there is one to every 44,000 and the US where there is one to every 50,000, and you begin to see how popular cosmetic work is in the emirates. 

Nose jobs, bum lifts, plumper lips, flatter stomachs, smoother foreheads – the list of procedure options goes on. But it’s not only women that are keeping the GCC’s plastic surgery business afloat. In fact, according to 2014 figures from the Emirates Medical Association, 47 per cent of all cosmetic surgery patients in the UAE are men.

Dr David Alessi is the founder of Alessi Institutes in Beverly Hills, California, and recently opened a new office in the UAE. We asked him a few questions to get to the bottom of the GCC man’s love of cosmetic surgery. 

Why does the Gulf region have such a high rate for men wanting plastic surgery? 
It is caused by different factors. One is the plethora of cosmetic surgeons in the area. Second, is the regional love for American TV that mainstreams cosmetic surgery. And third, it is a cultural thing; having a smaller nose and smaller belly is desirable. 

Men in the Middle East are also a lot more interested in physical fitness and appearance than before. 

Is it still a taboo topic for men? 
Most men are as vain as women, and it is becoming much more acceptable. Having said that, men are still more cautious than women. 

Are men more interested in non-invasive surgery? 
Yes, many men aren’t interested in cosmetic procedures until they find out it can be done non-invasively. For example, if you talk about liposuction, men don’t typically jump into the conversation. But if you talk about sculpsure, a non-invasive way of getting rid of fat, most men are all over it. 

What are the most common requests from male customers? 
Rhinoplasty, liposuction or fat reduction, brow or eye rejuvenation. 

How do the age ranges differ between male and female customers?  
There actually isn’t a lot of difference in the ages, except men start to do facelifts about 10 years later than women do. 

What advice would you give to a man thinking of having plastic surgery for the first time? 
Try starting with a non-invasive procedure. Also, make sure you go to someone who appreciates that you are a normal guy and don’t want anything too extreme. 

Dr. Alessi is the founder of Alessi Institutes.