We have a major problem – Gen Z is not handling aging well whatsoever, including minors. This week, a viral video uploaded by a 14-year-old shared her routine to "slow down the aging process" to the world. The uploader, who goes by Carson on TikTok, says she started her practice when she was only 12. For the sake of her safety and privacy, her face is covered in the video below.
"Here's some of the things I do to slow down the aging process as a 14-year-old," Carson says. "I started doing most of these things at 12." The TikToker says she takes apple cider vinegar pills twice a day (okay, so far, so good), puts on retinol twice a day (is that really necessary at 14?), and also applies it to her body lotion.
Next, she uses a Korean sheet mask twice a day, applies sunscreen underneath her makeup, and drinks green tea. "I always have green tea in the morning with a spoonful of honey ... Green tea is great for slowing down the aging process, and it's super anti-inflammatory," Carson says. Her next move is more concerning to some viewers. "Whenever I'm going on a long road trip, I always tape up a piece of construction paper," she explains. "This blocks out most of the UV rays." Finally, the last thing Carson does is sleep on a satin pillowcase.
The video has been seen 4.4 million times on Twitter, and people are not holding back on their opinions. "like not even being able to look out the window on a road trip bc you’re terrified of getting a line on your face," tweets @ycsm1n. "the kids are not alright."
@paliefer2 writes, "how are you using anti aging products to stop aging at 14 and you still haven’t even aged yet???? this is so sad."
Others have mentioned how the young girl may harm her skin in the long run with the amount of retinol and products she uses. "Sadly, she’s actually pre-aging her skin doing this… her skin will get used to all those products and stop self-producing it’s own oils & etc," explains @Coco_hope333. "Also, these products won’t work any more, but her skin will still need them to maintain, like heroine."
Is the Beauty Industry To Blame?
There’s a lot to unpack here. How could someone still developing be worried about aging, of all things? At 14, getting wrinkles or lines was the last thing I was worried about, and I’m sure most adults can say the same. I was too busy watching the Disney Channel and anime. Secondly, how did we reach the point where minors are using products intended for mature women? Most people say that the beauty industry is partly to blame, and I agree with that wholeheartedly. For example, the makeup market targeted grown women when it first started gaining popularity. By the 1950s and 1960s, however, teenage girls began wearing cosmetic products after companies developed distinct marketing campaigns to attract the youth.
The same thing is happening, albeit in a different fashion. This time, it’s not really corporations targeting young people with marketing campaigns – they don't have to. Now, women in their mid-20s and up are creating countless content about their favorite anti-aging creams, serums, and routines on TikTok, and teens are stumbling on it. They’re consuming it like candy, and they’re getting heavily influenced. Sure, you could say that Carson’s “wellness” routine is more of a hobby (I would disagree with this notion), but I can guarantee that it’s not something she’d be doing now if it weren’t for social media. Her actions are definitely not the worst, but her video opens our eyes to Gen Z’s deep fear of aging.
Social Media and the Beauty Industry Has Demonized Aging
Our transformation into maturity shouldn’t be looked down upon. Lines and wrinkles aren’t bad. We are not getting uglier; our worth is not diminished. Aging is a privilege, and in the process, we are blooming. We’re becoming. We collect stories and experiences each year, priceless wisdom we’ll pass on to other women who will need it. I don’t know how old you are, but if you have laugh lines, crow’s feet, or forehead lines, learn to love them. They exist because you’re expressive, emotive, and full of life.
Please listen to me when I say this, even if it sounds crazy: The beauty industry needs you to feel ugly so you will keep buying their products. Once you fall for their spell, you become a customer for life – you will continuously buy their “magical” serums or pills to fight something that will inevitably occur. Imagine if the world taught you about embracing your innate beauty. Pretend that growing older is openly celebrated and acknowledged by everyone. Would your prerogative still be to defy the natural progression of aging? Likely, it wouldn't be as much of a focus or a source of stress.
We need to have a different mindset when it comes to aging. I’m not saying you have to drop your usual anti-aging routine or stop taking care of your skin. I’m saying that our priority should lie in educating ourselves to embrace self-love and find joy in the aging journey. This shift in perspective is crucial for our future as a collective, especially for the well-being of young women.
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