Why we SHOULD let our skin age naturally? Should we just embrace our skin as beautiful no matter how old it gets? Is it more empowering to let skin age naturally?
For what feels like milenia, society has been constructing beauty standards which place pressure on people of all ages to aspire to look a certain way. Flawless, on-trend and youthful. These standards we aspire to are fluid and transient in the sense that, what was trendy or aspirational 30 years ago, have changed today. Yet the one recurring trope throughout the history of beauty ideals is the concept of “youth”. The more youthful you look, the more opportunities you have in employment, the more desirable you are etc, and this seems to dwindle as age begins to show.
Age is natural and something that should be liberating, not oppressive. Time is constantly moving forward so it makes sense to follow suit and allow ourselves to change and evolve with time. Yet there’s a strange mentality and obsession to not just stop the clock on aging but to reverse it. My question is why? Why has ageing become problematised and almost depicted as an enemy? As if ageing is a condition that needs to be tackled and fought.[pullquote]The term anti-aging is defined as the prevention of the appearance of getting older. So why obsess over preventing something that is natural, and will inevitably show?[/pullquote]
A few wrinkles, crow-feet or bags? For some, these can induce restless nights and lowered self-esteem however they are marks to embrace and admire. There is a special type of history that can be found in these features and indents. They act as a map of one’s history, one’s story, one's experiences, one’s successes and failures; one’s growth. As model Christy Turlington Burns once said in an Elle interview, “Our face is a map of our life, the more that’s there, the better”. By aging naturally, is not to say to ditch our go to face masks or our tea-tree scrubs but it’s about changing and adjusting our mindsets and attitudes to ageing and allowing ourselves to grow into our skin rather than rely on products to change and manufacture it to look other than itself.
Another reason why we should encourage natural ageing is the very fact that the anti-aging industry is not doing much for our personal confidence and self-esteem, but instead simply capitalising on the inevitable and our fears. The anti-ageing market was said to be worth $324.6 million last year. This perhaps explains why we’re swamped with hundreds of products claiming to do the same thing. How many times do we see countless articles and skincare ranges claiming to have the best anti-ageing, anti-wrinkles, bag-busting effects (whilst costing an arm and a leg)? We need to ask ourselves if it’s all worth it? Natural ageing can avoid the hassle, cost of these trial and errors, by instead prioritising and focusing on how we feel from the inside as we age, finding alternative methods and habits that can allow us to ooze natural beauty and confidence from the inside out.
Ageing naturally by adopting healthy lifestyles and natural products can be incredibly empowering. Living in a western society, where beauty is commercialised and the stigma of imperfections and ageing is omnipresent in our everyday lives, it is becoming ever more important to step back and focus on ourselves. It’s time we recognise and embody our natural beauty and features, acknowledging the power that exists in every crease or blemish of our skin, instead of endlessly hunting for the perfect product that will rewind the clock by 10 years.
From a practical perspective, some anti-aging products and cosmetic treatments can do more harm than good, containing toxic ingredients that can have irreversible long term effects or completely change our appearance, so why not adopt more natural and basic products and methods to avoid such risks.
There’s beauty in ageing and beauty comes from within. Cliche, I know, but that is arguably the crux of this debate.