The cosmetic tweaks a man CAN have that won’t give him a ‘pillow face’, from intense


When A-list actor Ryan Gosling was recently promoting his new film, The Fall Guy, fans were quick to point out that he looked a little… different. Others were less diplomatic.

‘Ryan Gosling, please step away from the filler,’ said one unkind commentator on X/Twitter, clearly suggesting his face showed tell-tale signs of some rather heavy-handed cosmetic enhancement.

So has the Barbie star, 43, had some work done? As a reporter who’s specialised in writing about aesthetic medicine, as this area is known, even I can’t say for sure. But it wouldn’t come as a shock.

Tweaking faces, whether male or female, is a delicate business. Get it right and no one will be any the wiser. Get it wrong and you’ll be rumbled – the human eye is good at spotting when something is off.

So how can men use subtle treatments to look refreshed but not overly ‘done’?

I spoke to three experts to find out the best tweaks for men…

Ryan Gosling at the premiere of The Fall Guy at the SXSW Conference and Festival in March 2024, in Austin, Texas

Ryan Gosling at the premiere of The Fall Guy at the SXSW Conference and Festival in March 2024, in Austin, Texas

AVOID TOO MUCH BOTOX – MEN LOOK BETTER WITH A FEW LINES 

Botox works by dampening down the activity of muscles, and has become famous for erasing wrinkles. And it can also stop the corners of the mouth drooping and ease the appearance of a strained, stringy-looking neck, both of which can happen naturally with age.

In women, Botox injections can be used to create a lift and arch to the eyebrows, but this isn’t a trick to try on a man.

‘There are some things which are part and parcel of treating female faces that we must not do when it comes to male faces,’ says Dr Sach Mohan of the Revere clinics in London. ‘With Botox, raising the brows will feminise a male face. We can also use the jabs to soften a square jaw – which is good for women but not men.’

Dr Raj Thethi, who runs the Yorkshire Skin Centre in Leeds, agrees. ‘I prefer to use less Botox in men,’ he says, ‘It’s nice for men to have some lines and wrinkles when they move their faces – it makes them look slightly more rugged.’

Botox costs from £300 per area of the face treated.

IF YOU’RE AN ACTION MAN BE CAREFUL WITH FILLERS

Dermal fillers are injectable gels used to add volume to faces.

In women, they’re popular for plumping up lips – although too much will result in an overblown trout-pout. Used cautiously, they can soften hollowness in a face that’s ageing – we naturally appear more gaunt as we get older.

While they can also enhance the contours of the cheekbones and jawline, too much filler will create a puffy, unattractive result that is mockingly called ‘pillow face’.

‘Inexperienced injectors often don’t differentiate between what male and female faces need with filler,’ says Dr David Jack, who has clinics in London and Edinburgh. ‘This can give weird results.’

‘With men and fillers, we want to create more angles in the face which we associate with masculine features,’ adds Dr Thethi.

‘That can mean widening the cheekbones while keeping the cheeks flat at the front – adding too much volume looks too feminine.’

And if you’re a budding action hero, hear this. ‘One of the biggest issues with actors who are leading up to an action role is that I am in competition with their personal trainers, who are only focused on their client’s body,’ says Dr Mohan. ‘They may use performance-enhancing supplements, which don’t go well with fillers.

‘Products such as creatine [a muscle-boosting sports supplement] can cause fluid retention. If the fillers used are hyaluronic acid-based, these can draw in water and balloon a man’s face.’

Filler treatments start at £500.

FIX DAMAGED SKIN WITH INTENSE BEAMS OF LIGHT 

‘Treatments such as Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) reduce excess pigmentation and have become more popular with men,’ says Dr Jack, who uses them in the same way as he would on women – to make their skin tone more even.

IPL uses beams of light that ‘shatter’ pigmented cells beneath the skin – brown age spots or the red of facial thread veins. The resulting debris is cleared away by the body’s immune system.

Ryan Gosling in 2016, promoting La La Land in Hollywood, before he took on a fuller appearance in recent times

Ryan Gosling in 2016, promoting La La Land in Hollywood, before he took on a fuller appearance in recent times

Radiofrequency microneedling – which resurfaces and tightens the skin – is popular with both men and women.

This is done using a pen-like device that drives hair-fine

needles into the skin. These then deliver radiofrequency energy – a type of heat – under the skin. Essentially this causes damage that subsequently heals as new, firmer skin.

If driven deeper into the skin, the needles can destroy fat.

‘They are often the first treatments men have as they focus on improving mild scars and skin tone but won’t cause dramatic changes,’ says Dr Mohan.

IPL costs from £300 a session. Radiofrequency treatment costs from £600 a session.

JABS THAT REGENERATE YOUNGER-LOOKING SKIN

There are a range of treatments administered via multiple injections which encourage the regeneration of collagen – a protein that provides structure and firmness in the skin – and elastin – which allows the skin to stretch. These are also unisex.

One of the most popular is ‘injectable moisturiser’ Profhilo. The therapy involves jabs of hyaluronic acid – the same substance used in many fillers but in a far more diluted concentration.

Then there are polynucleotides, which are injectable serums containing fragments of DNA taken from salmon and trout sperm.

They both regenerate the skin without adding any volume.

Polynucleotides and Profhilo cost about £500 per treatment.

Alice Hart-Davis is founder of thetweakmentsguide.com.



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