Time was when most men didn’t bother too much about their appearance. It was only the women who went in for acid fillers for their lips and chin, laser treatments for skin rejuvenation and eye boosting, or Botox injections to eliminate wrinkles.
That’s all changed in the last few years, however. An ever-increasing number of men have been seeking solutions to their skin problems by visiting establishments like Maharis Clinic in Jakarta, which offers aesthetic and wellness solutions for the face, body, hair and aging-related issues, as well as other cosmetic dermatological concerns.
“When we started in 2012, 70 percent of our patients were women,” says Dr. Kevin Maharis, the fresh-faced, just turned 34-year-old founder of the two luxuriously appointed clinics in Setiabudi and Kebayoran Baru that bear his name. “Now it’s 65 percent women, and the trend is for more and more men to come through the door. So, five years from now, the ratio will be 60 to 40. It could even go to 50-50.”
Why are so many men seeking the expertise of professionals like Dr. Maharis? “In today’s world, men are under more and more pressure to get ahead, to compete for that great job or that all-important promotion,” he replies during an interview in his consulting room at his plush new, state-of-the-art four-storey Maharis Clinic at Jl. Barito No. 5 in Kebayoran Baru.
“Whether they really need it or not, men increasingly think they must look good to be successful. We even have millennials, self-conscious about how they look in their selfies, coming in for treatment. Once it was male actors, television presenters and pop stars who wanted cosmetic dermatology. Nowadays, the men who come to us are from all walks of life.
“They’re quite likely to be banking and finance executives, or corporate professionals desperate to climb the career ladder. The older ones believe they need to look young and rejuvenated to compete with the younger movers and shakers, and to look like they still have the energy to run the company.
“We have patients of all ages at Maharis Clinic, but the bulk of them are between 35 and 40 years old. We even have couples coming in for appointments. If you look at the décor here (created by interior designer Andi Lim), it’s subtle, very clean and the colours are neutral, suitable for both genders. It doesn’t look like a beauty parlour because it isn’t one. It’s a medical facility.”
The place is discreet, too. Although there is a public entrance at street level, many of Dr. Maharis’ patients prefer to use the clinic’s “secret” underground entrance. “They drive in, park their vehicle and come straight up in the elevator for their treatments,” he says. “No one would know they were here.”
Dr. Maharis became interested in aesthetics and wellness when he was a teenager. “Most medical students don’t decide what to specialise in until their final year of schooling, But I knew what I wanted to do from day one,” he smiles. “Why did I choose this career for myself? My grandfather was a goldsmith and my parents founded a very successful jewellery business. But that kind of work was never for me. Now, my younger brother is studying dermatology in Bali.
“I’ve always been very artistic. I like visual things. When I was at school I enjoyed art lessons, especially sculpting. Later, when I realised I wasn’t good enough to become a full-time sculptor, cosmetic medicine became my passion. It’s a way of sculpting faces and bodies, if you like. I thought I could combine art and science, and change how people feel about themselves.”
Dr. Maharis obtained his Bachelor of Medical Sciences degree from the University of Melbourne. He gained his medical degree from the University of Indonesia, and a post-graduate Diploma in Dermatology from Cardiff University in South Wales. He worked at several aesthetics clinics in Jakarta for a two years before launching Maharis Clinic.
“When I was working at the clinics, I also had a home practice,” says Dr. Maharis. “Patients would come and see me in the evenings. At first, it was just a few relatives and friends. As time went on, though, more and more patients started coming to the house. I was blessed to have some very good patients and so, after a couple of years, I was confident enough to go out on my own and open the first Maharis Clinic in Setiabudi.”
Dr. Maharis and his fellow medical practitioners at Maharis Clinic – Dr. Yofine Indri, Dr. Ellen Theodora and Dr. Lisa Poniman – combine established treatments with education of their clients on the importance of developing good skincare habits in order to achieve natural-looking cosmetic results.
They have put together an integrated programme for patients. This involves several treatments that lift, shape, tighten and clarify the skin, improve the body (including Coolsculpting, a non-surgical, FDA-approved contouring treatment that freezes stubborn fat, which is then naturally eliminated from the body) and reverse internal aging. An example of the last is Ultherapy, which uses ultrasound energy to firm, tighten and lift deep tissue, causing a natural, regenerative response.
The two clinics do no plastic surgery, going no further than minimally invasive procedures, such as injections. For example, the Maharis Clinic neuromodulator treatment works by relaxing targeted muscles to smooth out dynamic wrinkles. Square jaw lines can be tapered to give a more oval or V-shaped appearance. Unpleasant looking brows and frown lines are corrected to provide a more approachable look.
“All of our treatments are non-surgically delivered. That means there’s no downtime for the patients. They can go straight back to work or whatever they’re doing and, a week after the procedure, they find they have a naturally youthful look,” says Dr. Maharis, who trains other doctors in the field of hyaluronic acid (HA) injections.
HA is a naturally occurring substance in the body that gives the skin its full and supple appearance. Says Dr. Maharis: “The level of HA in our skin reduces with age, causing all sorts of problems, such as a sunken or sallow appearance, excessive smile lines or uneven facial texture. These problems arise from a loss of skin volume. But that can be reversed by replacing lost natural HA through small injections, resulting in a more youthful appearance immediately after a single treatment session.”
Much as he chose not to work for the family business, Dr. Maharis has inherited some of his parents’ entrepreneurial inclinations. He has launched Maharis Beauty, an online and offline retailer of beauty products. “Our Votre Peau skincare line is now available at Plaza Indonesia and is doing very well,” he says. “Looking ahead, I see us sticking with the two Maharis Clinics while growing Maharis Beauty. I’d like to see Votre Peau in every mall in Jakarta, and then in every city in Indonesia.”
In his free time, Dr. Maharis swims, cycles and works out at the gym. He travels a lot, attending training programmes in Taiwan, South Korea and other countries. “In our field, there are always new discoveries, new treatments, new techniques, new methods to learn about,” he explains. “You have to keep up with the changes, so a doctor never stops learning. When I’m on such a trip I always extend it for a few days so that I can have a break and do some sightseeing.”
His most important annual trip is to Monte Carlo for AMWC, the Aesthetic & Anti-Aging Medicine World Congress. “Going to AMWC each year is an absolute must for cosmetic doctors,” he says. As for holiday trips, Marrakesh is a favourite destination.
At the close of the interview, Dr. Maharis muses on his philosophy of beauty. “You could say that no one really needs a dermatologist,” he declares.
“But the important thing is how we make people feel about themselves, and how we give them renewed self-confidence. It’s absolutely not about vanity or narcissism.
“There are people who are vain, of course, Some come to see me and ask me to do impossible things for them – you know, make them look like their favourite movie star or something. They want me to change their nose or their lips, even when there’s nothing wrong with their nose or lips – and to do it could lead to extremely undesirable results.
“I’m straight with them, I tell them there’s only so much we can do. We are not miracle workers, we are medical care givers, and I won’t go against my beauty principles. I won’t just give them what they want. I let them know what I think they need. If they can’t accept that, I advise them to try another clinic that will serve their purpose.
“In the end, what motivates and moves me is seeing my patients’ eyes light up when they sit in the ‘before-and-after’ chair and look at themselves in the mirror. In just 15 to 30 minutes, I can make them look like an optimised version of themselves.”