Looksmaxxing is an online trend that describes self-enhancement practices typically followed by young men. It involves a person changing their physical appearance to fit certain beauty standards.

Looksmaxxing can range from a new haircut to undergoing cosmetic surgery.

In this article, we will discuss what looksmaxxing is and why a person may want to try it. We also explore its origins and potential risks, similarities with feminine beauty expectations, and when a person should consider speaking with a doctor.

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Looksmaxxing is a form of self-enhancement that encourages people to make changes to their physical appearance to fit in with certain beauty ideals. It is typically young men who are the target of and follow this online trend.

Typical areas in which people seek to improve can include the jawline, eyes, skin, and muscularity. Looksmaxxing practices can range from soft procedures, such as skin care, grooming, and exercise regimens, to hard procedures, such as cosmetic surgery.

Looksmaxxing content typically exists in forums on the internet and across social media. There are online spaces where a person can ask others for advice about looksmaxxing and what to change about their appearance.

This may result in a person feeling they need to change their appearance based on the opinions of others, particularly if they have low self-esteem, body image dissatisfaction, or mental health issues.

A person may want to try looksmaxxing if they are experiencing issues such as low self-esteem, body image dissatisfaction, or other problems with their mental health. They may feel that changing their physical appearance may help resolve negative feelings they have toward themselves.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of young people experiencing mental health issues is increasing.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there was an increase in men undergoing various cosmetic surgery enhancement procedures in the last 5 years before 2018.

A 2017 study suggests there is a link between mental health issues, such as body dysmorphic disorder, and a person deciding to undergo cosmetic surgery.

Looksmaxxing content in online forums and social media posts from other people who have undergone self-enhancement procedures is very easy to access. A person may find they spend prolonged periods of time consuming this online content.

A 2021 study suggests a connection between body dissatisfaction in young people and the frequency with which they compare their appearance with those they follow on social media.

Viewing looksmaxxing content may have an effect on the mental health of young men.

The term looksmaxxing may also have origins and links to certain online communities. Accessing looksmaxxing content may have the risk of a person being led to more extreme content.

Mental health in young men

It is common for young men to experience dissatisfaction with their body image and have concerns about their appearance. Research suggests body image dissatisfaction can lead to mental health issues such as low self-esteem and depression. It may also cause a person to resort to extreme measures to look a certain way.

Looksmaxxing is typically an online trend that exists in online forums and on social media. Research from 2022 suggests that approximately 46% of young people typically use the internet and social media for more than 3 hours per day. Researchers suggest this amount of interaction with the internet and social media may affect the self-esteem and well-being of young people.

A 2019 study also suggests if a young person spends more than 3 hours a day using social media, they may have a higher chance of developing mental health issues, such as body image dissatisfaction.

Australian research from 2018 indicates the number of young men experiencing mental health issues is rising, but they may be reluctant to seek medical help if they are experiencing mental health issues.

Additionally, suicide is a leading cause of death among young people in the United States, and suicide rates were four times higher among males than females in 2021.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects if it’s safe to do so.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.

Find more links and local resources.

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Dangers of exposure to extreme online content

Research suggests the term looksmaxxing has a link with and may originate from the incel community.

The term “incel” is an abbreviation of “involuntary celibate”. The incel community describes a group of people who define themselves as involuntary celibate and often feel entitled to romantic or sexual relationships with others.

Research from 2022 suggests that the incel community typically experiences issues with rejection, depression, anxiety, insecure attachment, and loneliness.

The incel community typically consists of men who direct their frustrations toward women. A person who becomes involved in incel community forums may be at risk of exposure to more extreme content of misogynistic and violent nature.

Due to the links between looksmaxxing and the incel community, a person may come across online content and forums that promote incel ideologies while searching for looksmaxxing content.

Societal beauty expectations can affect people of all genders.

The pressure to fit in with certain beauty standards is common amongst women and can start from a young age.

Additionally, a review of research from 2021 suggests that the body image pressures prevalent on social media may equally affect young men and women. However, young men may not speak as openly about the effects of these pressures.

If a person has concerns that they have an unhealthy relationship with looksmaxxing or are experiencing low self-esteem, body image issues, or other mental health issues, they should speak with a healthcare professional.

Symptoms of mental health issues can include:

  • spending prolonged periods of time or repeatedly checking appearance in the mirror
  • feelings of dissatisfaction or distress toward aspects of appearance that may interfere with everyday life
  • spending prolonged periods of time worrying about or thinking negative thoughts about appearance
  • persistent feelings of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, anxiety, sadness, or shame
  • becoming irritable more easily
  • feeling tired or low in energy
  • difficulty getting to sleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much
  • feeling restless and having difficulty concentrating
  • having thoughts about death or suicide

If a person wants to change their appearance through lifestyle modifications, a healthcare professional can offer advice and support. They may be able to advise someone how to eat healthily and safely engage in regular exercise.

Looksmaxxing is an online trend that involves a person making changes to their appearance to fit in with certain beauty standards. It is popular among young men.

Procedures associated with looksmaxxing can range from adopting a skin care regimen to undergoing cosmetic surgery.

The term “looksmaxxing” appears to have a link with the incel community. Engaging with looksmaxxing content may make a person vulnerable to exposure to extreme content of a misogynistic or violent nature.

The desire to engage with looksmaxxing content may originate from low self-esteem, negative body image, or a mental health issue. A person should speak with a healthcare professional if they are experiencing any of these issues.