When should I start getting Botox®? Is it time to incorporate retinol into my skincare routine? What is a “mommy makeover”? How about a “daddy do-over”? Do I really need to, as the saying goes, sacrifice my butt for my face? Should I swap my temporary dermal fillers for something a bit more permanent?
When it comes to beauty and aesthetics, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all. But there are some tried and true principles that will keep you looking and feeling your best. In this series, Coming of Age, The AEDITION answers your most pressing questions about the best treatments, procedures, and practices — from surgery and skincare to health and wellness and everything in between — to consider at any age.
Sure, your skin and body may seem to bounce back from just about anything in your twenties, but the proactive steps you do (or don’t) take to establish a healthy lifestyle in this formative decade will come into play down the road. While curating a solid skincare routine that includes adequate sun protection is the first step in setting yourself up for success, developing a relationship with a dermatologist or plastic surgeon who can help you address any immediate aesthetic concerns (and stave off future ones) is also recommended.
Below, a guide to some of the best cosmetic treatments and procedures to consider and healthy lifestyle habits to keep in your twenties.
The Preventative Approach
“When you’re starting to take care of yourself, you want to look at all of the aspects of aging and begin treating them earlier,” explains Jason Emer, MD, a board certified cosmetic dermatologist in West Hollywood. “In your twenties, it’s about prejuvenation.” In fact, the good habits you commit to at this point in your life will stay with you long term. “Whatever we do in our twenties is similar to what we’re going to do in our fifties, the difference is the aggressiveness of the approach,” he adds.
The decade can also be a time to maximize overall appearance. “They are not yet showing signs of aging, but they are adjusting to their final ‘adult’ body,” explains David Shafer, MD, a double board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon in New York City. “Men are more and more conscious of their appearance — especially with Zoom work and school and the ever-present social media.” He says areas of concern often include the abdomen, flanks, chest, chin, and jawline.
The Best Cosmetic Procedures for Men in Their 20s
From professional and at-home skincare to face and body contouring procedures, here are some of the best treatment options for men in their twenties.
Before we dive into all the professional treatments that exist, we must reiterate the importance of a quality at-home skincare routine. As outlined in our guide to men’s skincare in their twenties, your daily regimen should include (at a minimum!) a cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and sunscreen. Depending on your skin concerns, targeted treatments for acne, dryness, or pigmentation can also be incorporated. Dr. Emer recommends patients use a hyaluronic acid-based serum (like his Emerage Skin Hyla-B) to keep the skin hydrated and try dermarolling once a week.
Professional Skincare Treatments
As we mentioned, skincare for younger patients is about prejuvenation rather than rejuvenation. Dr. Emer recommends monthly in-office facials and chemical peels every two to three months to keep the complexion clear and bright. At his practice, they use the RevePeel Enlighten Rx Depigmentation System to lighten pigmentation, minimize pores, and reduce the appearance of acne scars.
Non-ablative laser treatments can also be used to improve skin tone and texture. For twenty-somethings, Dr. Emer likes Clear + Brilliant and Moxi lasers. To take it a step further, he sometimes suggests pairing laser treatments with microneedling — with or without platelet-rich plasma (PRP) — because the combination of “energy and the manipulation of the collagen with the needles can also help tighten the skin and improve the complexion,” he says.
For most, the effects of gravity have yet to set in, but Dr. Emer says proactive skin tightening treatments may help further defy Mother Nature. He suggests semiannual Thermage (radiofrequency) or Ultherapy® (ultrasound) sessions to prevent sagging and preserve a more youthful appearance long term.
While you may not have much in the way of fine lines and wrinkles, neurotoxins like Botox® can be used preventatively or to treat some other common aesthetic and medical concerns. “Botox® in the late twenties can be considered if static [wrinkles] are starting to settle in,” says Gary Linkov, MD, a double board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in NYC. Additionally, Botox® can be used to lift the brows and treat hyperhidrosis (read: excessive sweating).
When it comes to filler, Dr. Emer says it’s less about volume and more about contour. “I find that anyone in their twenties that wants dermal fillers is doing it because they want enhancement,” he shares. Most often, filler is used to sculpt the face by improving the projection of the chin, defining the jawline, and refining the shape of the nose. For the chin and jawline, Dr. Shafer likes Juvéderm® Voluma — a temporary, hyaluronic acid-based filler. “This combined with neck liposuction to reduce the submental or neck fat pad is excellent for defining the neck and jaw and enhancing masculine features,” he says.
But it’s not just dermal filler that can contour the face. If you’re looking for a more permanent solution, surgical enhancement may be the better choice. To address the size or shape of the nose, “a rhinoplasty is an option for cosmetic or functional reasons, as the nose is now fully mature,” Dr. Linkov says. Depending on the patient, combining rhinoplasty and chin augmentation (via a chin implant) can further improve the proportion and symmetry of the face. To address the upper third of the face, a surgical brow lift may be considered, as too much Botox® can actually lead to sagging and hooding.
Buccal fat removal can slim the face, while pairing submental liposuction with FaceTite or Renuvion® can define the jawline. Thread lifts, meanwhile, are a minimally invasive contouring treatment that can be used to lift the cheeks and chisel the jaw. For those with acne scarring, Dr. Emer says threading can also build collagen in deep indentations.
Thanks to the resilience of the skin in the twenties, Dr. Shafer says liposuction is a great way for guys to address excess fat in the abdomen and flanks. “The skin is still tight, but there may be some extra pounds or contours that can easily be improved with liposuction,” he notes. Additionally, lipo can reduce the size of the chest. “A third of men have some form of gynecomastia, or male breasts, so liposuction of the chest area can help resolve the extra tissue and help men feel more confident,” he says.
Lastly, some men may wish to enhance sexual wellness. At his NYC practice, Dr. Shafer offers the so-called ‘SWAG’ (Shafer Width And Girth) penile enhancement, which involves injecting a hyaluronic acid filler, such as Juvéderm® Voluma XC, into the penile shaft and glans to increase penis girth and length. In a procedure called P-Shot, meanwhile, PRP is injected into multiple areas of the penis, including the head and specific parts of the shaft. The result? “P-Shot works for stimulation, vitality, and making people have harder erections,” Dr. Emer says.
The twenties are meant to be more proactive than reactive, which means at-home skincare and minimally invasive in-office treatments — like microneedling, chemical peels, and injectables — can offer both immediate and long-term benefits. Since facial features have fully developed, it may also be time to consider reconstructive or cosmetic surgeries, and body contouring can address concerns below the neck. Consulting with a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon who specializes in men will help develop the best treatment plan for your needs.
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