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By Brendalis Puig

Anti-aging is a topic that gen­erates over 505 million search results on Google. Society’s rejection of aging is nothing new, but over time, this sentiment has reached minds younger and younger.

For skincare lines and supple­ments promising to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and slow aging, Gen Z is one of their biggest consumers.

“I’m Aging Like Milk!”

In a generation, born between 1995 and 2009, so obsessed with appearance and others’ percep­tions, Generation Z’s constant search for eternal youth in skin­care and anti-aging products has sparked concern, urging a deeper analysis of the cultural shift and society’s fear of aging.

A TikTok filter from last July took users by storm showing how they could look older. The filter adds wrinkles, a saggy face and even hyperpigmentation.

Another prominent TikTok trend is “slugging.” Popular in South Korea, this trend consists of applying a thick layer of petroleum jelly from products like Vase­line, Aquaphor, or Cer­aVe before bed to mois­turize the skin overnight. And the videos surround­ing this trend show content creators using excessive amounts of the products.

The obsession contin­ued with a viral TikTok from last September by Taylor Donoghue, a 23-year-old content creator who revealed someone had mistaken her for being in her early thirties. Others are also claiming they already feel “old” despite being in their early twenties.

D’Asia Hargrove, a junior ma­joring in psychology, reflected on the situation being a paradox.

“We can see this as a direct result of the surge of TikTok usage with younger generations. What this generation is not realizing is that it's doing more damage than good,” said Hargrove.

The fear of getting older does not stop with Gen Z, as Genera­tion Alpha, those born between 2010 and 2024, has ten-year-olds storming and taking over cos­metic stores known as “Sephora Kids.” They ask their parents for their cards and buy high­er-end skin care and anti-ag­ing products they saw online and watched others rave about. While they still spend time with their friends, today’s pre-teens are more interested in skin care products; things that they neces­sarily don’t need, much less need to spend a total of three figures for.

Long lost are the days when pre-teens were spending quality time with their friends to do other creative activities.

“Our generation and generations in the past have become obsessed with aging. I think that's more prominent in our generation because of the media and how it is more of a trend, especially with the ‘Sephora Kids,’” said Margaret Shaffer Boyd, a marine biology freshman.

From unsafe practices like “slug­ging” to the daily never-ending skincare routine, most of the vid­eos surrounding the old face filter follow content creators layering their faces with countless prod­ucts to avoid looking like they do with the aged filter in the future. But this overuse can potentially damage their skin barrier.

Dermatologist Whitney Bowe shared to The New York Times over the years that product over­load is the primary recipe for a skin barrier disaster.

“There are now so many more skincare products. I have seen people on TikTok post about how if they don't do their skin­care routine for a couple of days, their skin gets bad. And applying too many products, even esthe­ticians say that it can burn your skin,” commented Maria Granil­lo a freshman in psychology.

Even though it is natural for individuals to experience the exis­tential fear of aging and wanting to look and feel their best, it is crucial to remember that it is an unavoidable process of human nature. Instead of letting the fear of growing older consume your soul, how about beginning to embrace it.

“What I’m most proud of in my life is not my appearance; it’s the big and small things that I’ve accomplished, the relationships that I’ve built, and the knowledge that I’ve learned. So, I don't be­lieve in aging gracefully; I believe in striving to be the best version of yourself, that you never stop growing, and that aging is cool!” said Jennifer Latch, a famous content creator known for her positive content about life lessons and aging.

It was in March when her Tik­Tok about aging gracefully went viral. She is one of the few content creators whose content is about the positive side of aging.

“I’m not trying to look or act younger than I actually am. I simply want to be the best ver­sion of myself at any stage of my life. I’ll do beauty treatments, get facials, and all of those things, and of course, wear makeup, but none of it’s to look younger; it’s really just to feel like I’m putting forth the best version of myself,” said Latch.

The new generations should turn the toxic idea influenced by social media of “aging like milk” into the long journey of self-accep­tance over time. Let’s reinvent this physical sign of wisdom, resilience, and growth.

“The true youth comes from within; building strong self-es­teem!” said Hargrove.


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