A new self-inflicted facial disfigurement is causing problems among celebrities of a certain age. Known as "bitchy resting face," (BRF) it refers to the off-putting air of a sullen face in repose. Cosmetic surgeons tell us that bankers are afflicted by the same sort thing, except their resting faces are more often stressy than bitchy. That's a problem: stressy resting faces do nothing for a banker's employability.
"People who have worked hard and put a lot of hours into their careers often find that they get a deflated, aged look sooner than would otherwise be the case," said Dr. Andrew Douglas, a facial aesthetics doctor based in Harley Street. "Because they spend so long looking at screens and concentrating, they end up frowning a lot and frowning almost becomes their natural expression. It makes them look negative, weary and depressed."
Douglas has developed a reputation for treating male financiers. In the past 12 months, he said he's treated 40-50 men working in investment banks and hedge funds across London. They're mostly aged 40-50, said Douglas: "People tell me that they need to have something done just to keep their jobs."
Douglas's counterpart in New York City is Dr. Stafford Broumand, a surgeon based on Park Avenue in Manhattan. Broumand said his clients are also predominantly employed in the financial services industry. 50% are men, and he estimates that he's treated 100 finance workers in total over the past year. "They're looking for a quick recovery, to look younger, and to feel better about themselves," he informed us.
There are no documented histories of named bankers having plastic surgery and Douglas said most of his clients are very discreet about their procedures and would never speak to the press. However, one 50-something senior female banker famously divulged her love of cosmetic procedures to Oprah in 2011, declaring that, "Having a killer body gave me a kind of confidence I'd never had." Less dramatically, Lloyds chief executive Antonio Horta-Orsorio is thought to have dyed his hair, as did Bob Diamond (seemingly) while he was chief executive of Barclays.
Anna Saprykina, a former commodities analyst at KBC Bank, now runs Body Silk, a cosmetic clinic in the City of London. Saprykina said most of her clients work in financial services and are female. "A lot of the problems with their appearance are caused by stress," she told us. "People want to appear more confident. That can be hard when you're overweight and have bad acne."
Based on the combined testimonies of Dr. Douglas, Dr. Broumand and Anna Saprykina, these are the procedures favoured by bankers looking to increase their aesthetic allure.
Botox may be best known for treating frown lines, but it also doubles up as a method of disabling sweat glands. Saprykina said the latter application is popular among male bankers who perspire heavily during client presentations: "They don't want to face clients with wet spots under their armpits, so they have armpit botox every three to six months."
Botox of the armpit is a, "game changer for perspiration," confirmed Dr. Broumand. It not only allows people to look calm, but alleviates worries about stains and body odour, he said.
Liposuction may be best known as a treatment for chubby thighs, but it too has a special use among men working in banking. Dr. Broumand said male bankers often have liposuction of the neck. The procedure can remove any double chins and will keep people looking chiseled and handsome. The value is hard to quantify said Broumand, but people believe it keeps them looking fit and young.
If liposuction doesn't create the chin of your dreams, you could try a silicon chin implant. We didn't speak directly to any surgeons who practiced this procedure, but New York surgeon Darrick Antell reportedly offers such things to people in the finance industry.
Blepharoplasty is the removal of fatty tissue and excess skin from underneath the eye. Broumand said it's popular with his banking clients who want to look less like they've been sleeping six hours a night for a decade.
Financial services professionals also go for more standard forehead applications of botox. "If we give the right amount of botox, it can reduce the level of muscle activity and take away frown lines," said Douglas. "I have one patient who works in a hedge fund and who came to me after his three year old son said daddy always looked angry," he added.
Hollow-cheeked and haggard isn't a good look if you're trying to seem fresh and young. Douglas said his finance clients often have injections of a substance called Sculptra which stimulates natural collagen formation. "It looks like a filler but it's a proper licensed drug," he said. "Essentially it re-plumps the face and gives a little more pertness. People look a little bit younger and fresher - it's like a non-surgical face lift that lasts for two years."
Saprykina offers a procedure called, 'Mega laser lipo,' effectively liposuction using a laser. She says this is also popular with male bankers who develop portly middles. "Male hormonal fat tends to be stubborn on the belly and doesn't go away easily with exercise. A lot of bankers use laser liposuction to disperse it." Saprykina's mega laser lipo programme also includes use of a power plate and an infra red blanket.
Saprykina said acne can also be a problem, especially among overworked banking juniors. "We see some very severe cases of acne that have been brought on by stress," she told us. "We had a junior banker in her late 20s who was on an internship. When she paid us a first visit, her face was like one big acne."
Surgical removal of fat from the pectorals ('moob reduction') was not something mentioned by the cosmetic specialists we spoke to. However, this U.S. site on the issue contains testimony from a banker who was unable to deplete his pectoral fat by working out and therefore took more drastic measures.
Cosmetic procedures in general don't come cheaply. Douglas said botox costs an average of £250-300 and a course of Sculptra costs up to £2k. "People think it's worth it," he said, "they just want to look a little bit younger, a little bit fresher."