All Zac Efron wanted to do was celebrate Earth Day, but when a clip of the celeb promoting Bill Nye’s Facebook Watch special went viral, fans focused on something else. Suddenly, all eyes were on his plumped-up lips and square jaw. A delicate question arose: So, uh, what’s up with his face?
Internet sleuths and people who do not mind their business wondered if the 33-year-old actor had recently gone under the knife. He certainly looked, well, different. Efron’s pointed chin was a little Rob Lowe. Some compared his blowsy pout to Mickey Rourke.
For his part, Efron appears entirely unbothered. A few days after his face went viral, he posted a photo from Australia, his home during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Only take what is needed and live with a generous spirit—to be more, one must give more,” Efron captioned a picture of him holding what might be the world’s largest lobster. “Lessons I’ve learned from the people of Masig Island.”
The photo was undated, and in it Efron wore wearing sunglasses and a baseball hat. His chin—the chin in question—did not appear as bloated as it had in the Earth Day video. Decode as you desire.
Dr. Anthony Youn, a Detroit-based plastic surgeon and TikTok personality, shared his professional opinion on Efron in a recent video.
“Has he had plastic surgery to reshape his jawline?” Dr. Youn questioned. “I don’t think so. I actually think he’s had dental surgery, not plastic surgery. That’s why he’s swollen in those areas. If you had your wisdom teeth taken out, did you look like this?”
As one Birmingham, Alabama, dermatologist named Dr. Corey L. Hartman gently speculated to The Daily Beast, “My first question about Zac Efron is, when was this done? He could have gotten a perfectly good procedure that hasn’t calmed down yet. How many female celebrities have we seen get caught in the period where [fillers] are still fresh and we see them out when they didn’t necessarily want to be seen? It could all work out fine for Zac.”
Post-procedure bruising can be a bigger problem for men than it is for women Dr. Hartman said, because men generally know don’t how to use makeup as cover-up.
“We haven’t reached the point where aesthetic procedures for men are such a non-taboo topic that men are allowed to be a little puffy for a while because they just had filler,” Dr. Hartman said. “I always counsel men on their expectations, that there will be some swelling associated with their procedures, and it’s going to be difficult to camouflage and hide.”
That has not stopped Dr. Hartman—like dermatologists and plastic surgeons across the country—from seeing a boon in bookings from male patients during the pandemic.
Dr. Bruce Katz, a dermatologist with New York’s JUVA Skin and Laser Center, reported that he’s seen an increase in non-invasive cosmetic treatments for men of as much as 25 percent in 2020 compared to recent years.
“I’d say I’ve seen men begin to come into our practice in September, October, as soon as things started to ease up in New York,” Dr. Katz said. “It’s just continued to accelerate.”
Dr. Kelly Killeen, a plastic surgeon at Cassileth Plastic Surgery & Skincare in Beverly Hills and a cast member on E!’s Dr. 90210, also reported a 25 percent increase in plastic surgery requests from men.
“We are seeing mostly Gen X or millennial patients with corporate or tech jobs,” Dr. Killeen said. “It's really the reality of in-person meetings and events that has pushed patients back into my office.”
For Dr. Dean Vistnes, a plastic surgeon based in the Bay Area who co-founded the medical spa chain SkinSpirit, “it’s more male younger patients” around Efron’s age heading into the office. They mostly want non-invasive procedures such as body contouring or the fat reduction treatment Coolsculpting.
“They are in their twenties to their mid-forties, and not much older than that,” Dr. Vistnes said. “When you get to a certain point of your life it’s like, ‘OK, well I look like that.’ You’re more resigned to the aging process. But more millennials, they know things are out there, and they know that their female counterparts do a lot of this stuff, too. So they look in the mirror, look on social media, and begin to wonder: Is there something out there that I can do to look better?”
Blame it on the much-discussed “Zoom effect” that has led all kinds of people into aesthetic appointments. “[Fixing] the neck is kind of the thing right now,” Dr. Hartman said. “The jawline was the thing a couple of years ago, and now the neck is getting attention. There is also a focus on the chin.”
It is not just because men are tired of staring down at their own faces in computer screens—they also have to look at their colleagues as well.
“You might see other guys on your Zoom have really tight, sculpted, firm jawlines. Yours looks like it’s become looser and you realize, ‘Wow, that’s how I look,’” Dr. Katz said.
Treatments like fillers and Botox can be used preventatively, according to Dr. Katz, and younger patients feel like putting some work in now can save extra time later. “They have heard that rather than treat the thing when they’re older, they can use Botox on those smaller wrinkles so they don’t need a more aggressive treatment down the road,” he added.
Robert Henderson, a 60-year-old New Jersey man who has spent around $10,000 over the past year for treatments with Dr. Katz including Botox, liposuction, and neck contouring, isn’t surprised that more younger men are also going under the needle.
“It’s about confidence,” Henderson said. “When I look in the mirror, I don’t look 10 to 15 years younger, I just look better. I think it just makes my whole outlook on things better.”
Matt, a venture capitalist who splits his time in between San Diego and Dubai, got fillers and Botox from the California plastic surgeon Dr. Reza Tirgari this year. (He asked The Daily Beast use a pseudonym.)
“I actually caught COVID last September and lost over 15 pounds, which caused my eye sockets to sink in and made me look like a zombie,” Matt said. “With some fillers and Botox, I was able to regain a normal look again.”
Before the pandemic, Matt said he “would have never thought or considered walking into a med spa [or] consider any kind of treatment at all.” But the pandemic “definitely” impacted his self-image.
“I did a lot of research on treatments as well as asked other friends who had gone to a med spa, which led to me feel more comfortable,” Matt added.
Dr. Tirgari told The Daily Beast that there is “much less stigma” around men coming into his practice these days.
“We’ve seen a lot of men in the military coming in, including a Navy Seal, several Marines, a recent Navy helicopter pilot and even a member of President Biden’s flight crew,” Dr. Tirgari said. “This is a demographic that most people wouldn’t expect to receive cosmetic surgery, but they do, and it suggests a shift in public perception.”
Some doctors have seen their female patients bring in photos of celebrities for reference—Ariana Grande, Sandra Bullock, Angelina Jolie are popular, Dr. Tirgari said—but men tend to work differently.
“I see that more patients bring photos of themselves—either of when they were younger of photos that they have Facetuned—to demonstrate what result they are looking to achieve,” said Dr. Catherine S. Chang, a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills.
Aside from that, it’s not all that different prepping a man for surgery or injectables. “Skin is skin, whether male or female,” said Dr. Howard Sobel, a clinical dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon at New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital. “The physical prep is the same.”
What’s different, according to the doctor, is “the emotional support. Women take all of these treatments in stride, but men require exceptional hand-holding.”
“Men are certainly greater wusses than women,” agreed Dr. Katz. “We’re always using numbing cream or giving them laughing gas to deal with the discomfort. Women find it easier to manage, but guys are not accustomed to that pain. They need more help, I think.”