Gen Zs have a promising future ahead of them, but why do they appear to be “ageing like milk”?

Gen Z, the generation born between 1997 and 2012, has been catching the eye of many for appearing older than their actual ages, as explained by The Style Theorists on YouTube.

@taylordonoghuee

Bye digging my own grave never ask social media ur age lol

♬ original sound – Taylordonoghuee

This has led to a mix of bewilderment from older generations and concern from Gen Z themselves, sparking heated discussions on how Gen Zs present themselves.

So, we’ve delved into the primary reasons behind why Gen Zs may seem older than they truly are, shedding light on whether they’re truly aging quicker than generations before them!

Makeup Trends

When browsing through photos and videos of Gen Zs online, it’s common to notice their impeccable makeup skills, which might come as a surprise to older generations.

Rresearch indicates that Gen Zs have been perfecting their makeup techniques for quite some time – they began experimenting with makeup at a younger age compared to previous generations!

On average, Gen Zs start dabbling in makeup at just 11 years old, while millennials typically started at 14.

Plus, the proliferation of the Internet and the popularity of beauty influencers have made it easier for Gen Zs to access makeup tutorials and product recommendations online, allowing them to refine their makeup abilities.

Gen Zs also often look up to older celebrities and influencers online, emulating their beauty choices.

Famous personalities we see on social media and at events often sport dramatic makeup looks like bold lashes and defined contouring, trends that Gen Zs tend to adopt.

Interestingly, despite its popularity among celebrities, heavy contouring can actually make us appear older!

Youthful, plump skin is a key indicator of age, but excessive contouring can diminish the appearance of soft features, giving the illusion of more defined facial contours at the expense of a youthful appearance.

Cosmetic Procedures

Clear skin is particularly important for Gen Zs, as they’re influenced by the flawless images they see online.

More Gen Zs are attempting to essentially convert Instagram filters into their real-life appearances, through skincare and preventive cosmetic procedures. However, their pursuit of perfection often leads them down a path that ages them prematurely.

Studies have revealed that Gen Zs are resorting to cosmetic surgery and procedures at a much younger age. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported a staggering 75% increase in the number of individuals aged 19 and below undergoing cosmetic procedures from 2019 to 2022!

Popular procedures among Gen Zs include Botox, filler injections, and the infamous buccal fat removal procedure. While these treatments may temporarily grant them the desired “Instagram model” appearance, they can actually accelerate the aging process in the long run.

For instance, Botox can cause muscle atrophy over time, resulting in less firm skin that has lost its elasticity. Similarly, buccal fat removal, which involves removing cheek fat at a younger age, can lead to a “hollowed out” appearance as they age!

Increased Stress

@jordan_the_stallion8

#stitch with @staying up podcast #fypシ

♬ original sound – Jordan_The_Stallion8

Of course, it’s true that Gen Zs have been raised in a very unique environment, which may lead to higher levels of stress compared to previous generations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has especially impacted them during a crucial stage of their development, causing them to feel disconnected from their peers and struggle with forming a strong sense of self.

Plus, the unrealistic beauty standards perpetuated online add even more pressure on Gen Zs!

Having grown up on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, Gen Zs are constantly exposed to images of celebrities and influencers that have already been Photoshopped to perfection, leading to negative impacts on their self-perception and self-esteem.

It’s no wonder that this stress is affecting them physically as well, with issues like hair loss, acne, and premature aging being linked to high stress levels. Stress also causes our bodies to produce more cortisol, a hormone that can block collagen production!

What Are Experts Saying?

Credits: Getty Images

Skincare professionals have long cautioned against excessive use of anti-aging procedures and treatments, ranging from Botox to creams and serums, as they can result in undesirable side effects.

According to Dr. Helen He, a dermatologist and researcher at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, the excessive use of anti-aging products such as retinoids can heighten your skin’s sensitivity to UV rays and potentially lead to eczema.

For those in Gen Z, their skin is already more delicate due to their young age, which further exacerbates these skin concerns and accelerates the ageing process.

Furthermore, treatments like Botox may actually worsen the appearance of fine lines and aging indicators in the long term.

“It can cause other surrounding muscles in the face to compensate for the loss of muscles and the loss of action of the muscles that are being frozen by the Botox,” Dr He shares with WebMD.

@drmichaelrusso

50 is truly the new 40! So is #genz really #aginglikemilk and dealing with more societal pressures than we ever did when we were younger or are older generations just looking and feeling more youthful? Or both? Share your thoughts below! @The New York Times #genzaginglikemilk #youthfulskincheck #aginglikemilk #aginglikefine🍷

♬ original sound – Dr. Michael Russo, MD

It’s also important to consider that that our perception of age can easily be influenced by others!

“Older generations are seeking out anti-ageing treatments much more aggressively and trying to look younger”, shares Dr Michael Russo, a bariatric surgeon on TikTok.

This could potentially skew our perception of age, making it seem like Gen Zs are ageing quicker in comparison.

@shereeneidriss

Why does Gen Z look old?… A derm’s take #genz #genzlife #millenial #millenialsbelike #aging #antiaging #aginggracefully #agingwell #old #dermatologist #shereeneidriss #dridriss @ShereeneIdriss

♬ original sound – ShereeneIdriss

Board-certified dermatologist Dr Shereene Idriss also points out on TikTok that many Gen Zs are unknowingly trying out skincare products that may not be right for their skin..

“The worst thing you can do for your skin in the long run is chronic inflammation”, says Dr Idriss.

She explains that Gen Zs are piling on products that they don’t actually need at their young age, running the risk of irritating and damaging their skin instead!

Gen Z Ageing Faster: Myth Or Reality?

@jhenleybrown

#stitch with @Taylordonoghuee #greenscreen this is why *I* think Gen-Z looks old

♬ original sound – Jazmine Henley-Brown

At the end of the day, Gen Zs aren’t really ageing quicker than the rest of the population!

Various factors such as their individual beauty choices, decisions regarding cosmetic procedures, and even the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic can all play a role in shaping how they’re perceived.

Experts confirm that there is no concrete proof suggesting that Gen Zs age at a different pace than others, so there’s no reason to worry about imaginary wrinkles!

Moreover, it’s always difficult to accurately determine someone’s age without the appropriate contextual clues.

So, whether you have a baby face or look mature for your age, there’s no end in sight to this generational debate.

After all, the Internet is sure to rinse and repeat this discussion in a few years, when Gen Alpha’s “Sephora kids” come of age!

Featured image credits: @taylordonoghuee/TikTok, @shereeneidriss/TikTok, @@jordan_the_stallion8/TikTok.

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