The Millennial’s Guide to Cosmetic Procedures

Paul M. Graham, D.O.

As millennials enter their third and fourth decade of life, more and more are seeking advice from dermatologists for early signs of aging. For those of you that have heard the term millennials, but don’t know what this means, here is my mediocre attempt to define it. Millennials describe a group of individuals born from the early 1980’s to the early 2000’s who possess a fascinating familiarity with technology. In the age of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and non-stop selfies, millennials are becoming more concerned about their physical appearance. This has directly contributed to the recent surge in cosmetic procedures worldwide. Whether it be forehead wrinkles, frown lines, dark spots, or under-volumized lips, Millennials want it addressed!


Furthermore, the media has a huge influence on how society perceives beauty. The majority of magazine and TV ads are significantly edited, reflecting a false representation of what beauty actually is. For most of us, looking like a magazine model or celebrity is not entirely possible, but that does not mean we can’t make you the best version of yourself. We accomplish this by redesigning and optimizing your anti-aging skin care regimen while simultaneously using various cosmetic procedures to enhance the appearance of the skin.

Please read our previous article on the daily skincare routine for more information on what you need to optimize your anti-aging regimen  – Anti-Aging Secrets: The Daily Skincare Routine

millennial-skincareThe approach to anti-aging in those that are in their 20’s and 30’s varies significantly from those in their 50’s and 60’s. Patient concerns are also entirely different among these two age groups. For example, most millennials are concerned about forehead/frown lines, skin pigmentation, redness, and lip structure; whereas those in their 50’s and 60’s are more concerned about facial volume loss, dark spots, and skin texture. We look at the treatment of millennials as an opportunity to slow the progression of etched-in lines, educate about proper sun protection, and implement an effective anti-aging skincare regimen early on. By doing so, we not only improve the cosmetic appearance of the skin but also contribute to decreasing the incidence of skin cancers induced by sun exposure.

Aging skin is unhappy skin
– Dr. PMG

Let’s face it, budgets never make anyone happy, but they are necessary to jumpstart those retirement savings that you probably should be catching up on. It is time to put those big boy/girl pants on and focus on getting the biggest bang for your buck. Fortunately, there are many tools in our bag to help minimize and even reverse the signs of aging. Cosmetic procedures can be very expensive so I am here to tell you how to design an anti-aging treatment plan on a limited budget.

Facial Lines

frown-lines.jpgBy the age of 30, most people have already developed lines on your forehead that are accentuated various facial movements during a conversation. You may have either already noticed this or currently looking in a mirror to see if this is actually true. The good news is that these lines are very easy to correct with neurotoxin injections. Most people know this as “Botox”, which is actually a trade name for a certain company’s product, but widely used to describe this treatment. This non-invasive procedure offers significant results for a small price.

Please read our previous article detailing the basics of neurotoxins – A Shot of Youth: Neurotoxin

  • Botulinum toxin prices range from $10 to $16 per unit in most dermatology offices
  • Forehead line dosage typically ranges from 8-20 units
  • Frown line dosage typically ranges from 20-30 units
  • Crows feet dosage typically ranges from 12-24 units
  • Men often have stronger facial muscles, requiring significantly more for the same outcome
  • Bruising is often minimal but a common side effect with this procedure
  • Neurotoxins typically last for 3 – 4 months depending on the amount used and treatment location

Lip Augmentation


Since the emergence of Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, lip augmentation has significantly increased in popularity. As mentioned earlier in this article, the media plays a huge role in the perception of beauty. Many millennials come into the office with a picture in hand (photos of Kim Kardashian and Lisa Rinna are popular) and state “I want my lips to look like these!”. This is a perfect example of misperception in today’s society. Sure I can give you lips like this, but does it look natural or fit your face? The answer is almost always no. I typically opt for a more natural appearing lip with moderate volume and defined architecture. Trust me, you will regret getting unnatural appearing lips after you experience constant unwanted attention from strangers.

  • Lip augmentation is performed using hyaluronic acid fillers (most commonly Juvederm and Restylane products)
  • The cost typically ranges from $600 to $1000 depending on the product type, number of syringes, level of training of the injector, and location
  • Although lip augmentation is a noninvasive procedure, bruising and swelling can be quite significant
    • Allow yourself at least 5 days to achieve full recovery if you are trying to conceal this procedure from others
  • Lip filler typically last for approximately 6-12 months before reinjection is necessary

Hyperpigmentation and Dark Spots

what-causes-freckles.pngDark spots and pigment are a common concern among older individuals, but recently I have been seeing a lot more millennials requesting treatment for dark spots and pigmentation. The majority of dark spots that I see are lentigines, a form of hyperpigmentation that develops from sun exposure. As we all know, the use of sunscreen typically does not occur during high school and college years, thus contributing to the development of these skin lesions. Other forms of pigment include melasma (which is typically acquired during pregnancy), nevi (also known as moles), and very rarely melanoma. This is why it is so important to see a dermatologist to determine the exact cause prior to undergoing any cosmetic treatment. Three effective treatment options that I commonly use are liquid nitrogen, chemical peels, and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light).

  • Liquid nitrogen
    • Liquid Nitrogen is -321 degrees Fahrenheit and works by selectively damaging the melanocytes by the formation of ice crystals (pigment-producing cells), while simultaneously sparring normal skin cells
    • Side effects may include slight blistering and mild lightening of the surrounding skin in some cases
    • Cost typically ranges from $50 to $150 depending on number of lesions treated
  • IPL – Intense Pulsed Light
    •  IPL is a medical device that emits a light source targeting certain pigment within the skin. It is commonly used for generalized facial aging, dark spots, and redness.
    • Studies have demonstrated that routine yearly IPL treatments directly stimulate collagen production and skin remodeling
    • Side effects may include redness, slight blistering, and lightening of the surrounding skin
    • Cost typically ranges from $250 to $500 depending on treatment area
  • Chemical peels
    • Produce controlled-thickness damage to upper layers of the skin to give a more even skin tone and texture
    • Peels can be divided into superficial, medium, and deep
    • Side effects may include redness, slight swelling, dryness, and discomfort following the procedure
    • Cost typically ranges from $150 to $900 depending on the type of peel.

With millennials currently seeking cosmetic procedures at a record rate, we hope that this article will function as a guide for those seeking the most cost-effective treatment options for aging skin. Feel free to leave any questions you may have in the comment section below.


Photo Credit:,,,


  1. Wong WR, et al. Intense pulsed light effects on the expression of extracellular matrix proteins and transforming growth factor beta-1 in skin dermal fibroblasts cultured within contracted collagen lattices. Dermatol Surg. 2009;35(5):816–825

Please note, our medical disclaimer applies to all information, images, recommendations, and comments published on this page.

Published by Dr. Paul M. Graham

Paul M. Graham, D.O. (Founder/Editor-in-chief) founded Dimensional Dermatology in May 2016 with the vision to provide concise, easy to read, up-to-date dermatology and aesthetic medicine information to patients, medical staff, providers, and the general public. Dr. Graham is currently completing his training as a cosmetic dermatologic surgery fellow in Virginia Beach, Virginia at the McDaniel Laser and Cosmetic Center. He completed his dermatology training at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and was a clinical instructor at Michigan State University. He received his B.S. degree as Summa Cum Laude at Old Dominion University, his D.O. degree as Cum Laude at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, completed his internship at Largo Medical Center in Largo, Florida as chief intern, and completed his dermatology residency training at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Ann Arbor, Michigan.

5 thoughts on “The Millennial’s Guide to Cosmetic Procedures

  1. If you have had skin cancer on your chest area would a chemical peel be harmful or helpful? Thank You. Also do you know if insurance would cover any expense? Jackie


    1. Hello Jacqueline, First of all, thank you so much for commenting. Chemical peels are good for photodamaged skin and often times are used to help rid the top layers of the skin for renewal to occur. If a patient has a history of skin cancer that has been PROPERLY treated, chemical peels are not contraindicated. If anything, they may be helpful in ridding of early precancerous lesions but is not the first-line therapy per say. As far as insurance coverage goes, it is rare for them to cover this expense. These procedures are often looked at as being cosmetic and not primarily for medical purposes but there are exceptions to this. I hope this answers your question. Have a wonderful day


  2. How do your dermatologists feel about Coolsculpting techniques? Do you like it, do you think it works and for how long will it last? Thank you.


    1. Hi Mariette, thank you for the question. CoolSculpting, also known as cryolipolysis, is a procedure used to permanently destroy fat cells on various regions of the body. It has its utility in some patients while others respond minimally and require other forms of body contouring. However, there is significant scientific evidence backing this procedure with good patient satisfaction rates. The results are permanent but only small areas can be treated at a time. It would be best if you consulted with your local cosmetic dermatologist for more specific information pertaining to your goals. I hope this is helpful. Thank you so much for your support to our blog.


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