Fandino: Too young to worry about aging

"Though many will spend hours upon hours to avoid it, we all will age and “look old'' one day, but like many seemingly intimidating things in life, it’s important to see the beauty in that with your own eyes." - Graphic / Yaz Shaughnessy

In my time of being alive on this planet, never once did I think I’d get stuck sitting on my phone watching middle to high school girls slathering their faces with all sorts of creams, serums, toners, treatments, you name it. Yet here we are, in the age of GRWM’s (‘Get Ready With Me’ videos), where young girls of all ages come on the internet, talking about young girl things, while using products made for somebody twice their age. 

There are some questions that never fail to stick into my mind whenever these videos manage to creep their way onto my feed: Are they even supposed to be using these products? Or isn’t it harmful?

Well, the answer is yes, it is harmful. With what it feels to be, new products going viral every two seconds, even doctors are now speaking out about the trend with their concerns. Most research exploring products that can be harmful to a young person’s skin finds that the most damaging ingredients include benzyl salicylate, parabens, resorcinol, and triclosan (which can be found in “antibacterial” products). 

While I’m sure this topic isn’t new information, what concerns me, even more, is how much more accessible these skin products now are to young ones, especially with places like the TikTok Shop existing. All it takes is a parent or guardian’s card number and boom, you’ve got a whole La Roche Posay set delivered straight to your door. This is why it is so important for parents to be aware of the types of products their children should and should not be using, and be vigilant about the ingredients used in the products themselves. 

This article is not meant to shame or humiliate young girls who do these sorts of videos and use these kinds of products. I wholeheartedly believe that social media influencers, especially those whose audiences are young and impressionable children, need to be more aware of what they are saying and promoting. In my opinion, they hold much of the blame for inspiring this trend, for young girls especially. As humans, we are naturally curious and want to try things that other people are raving about. However, if you are under the age of 15 or so, there is absolutely no reason to be using Drunk Elephant or Retinol every single morning and night (sorry). 

Anti-aging product advertisement, especially at a young age, also further motivates the negative stigma surrounding aging and wrinkles in general, embedding it into the minds of younger people. It makes us genuinely afraid of how we will look when we get older. 

Oh TikTok, it’s so hard to forget about you and your unforgivable grip on our generation. This app is single-handedly proving the notion that we as a society will do anything to not look “too old.” There is even a filter that went viral on the app. It uses AI to “age” you by around 60 years or so, in which a majority of the users who posted with the filter showed their horrified reactions. 

It’s important to note here that taking care of your skin and protecting it is extremely important as well, and is highly recommended by dermatologists. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, the no. 1 thing that young people can do to both protect their skin and slow down signs of aging, is to wear sunscreen daily. There are also many other ways to reduce the signs of aging, including avoiding smoking, exercising, eating healthy foods, and using a simple daily cleanser and moisturizer. 

Though many will spend hours upon hours to avoid it, we all will age and “look old” one day, but like many seemingly intimidating things in life, it’s important to see the beauty in that with your own eyes. 

In my eyes, wrinkles are the most realistic and raw form of beauty. They symbolize wisdom and so much life experience. They are a true documentation of the emotions someone has experienced, why hide that? 

I hope one day to grow wrinkles, so that I am forever reminded of the beautiful, and not so beautiful, moments of life. My only hope here is for others to feel the same as well.

There is beauty in being young and old, just appreciate where you’re at right now, and remember that you’re always going to be (or at least try to be) perfect in your way, which is all that matters.

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