Avoid aging for only $3.99

Charlotte Ury, Editorial Board

When I played soccer as a kid, I would stare at the ball, eyebrows furrowed, and concentrate intensely on the ball. Now, as a result of all this motion, I have a miniscule fine line between my eyebrows. 

And I hate this line so much. 

Whenever I stare at myself in the mirror, it sticks out to me. I’ve bought a gua-sha, worn lotion and just generally tried anything to get rid of this sign of aging.

I’m certainly not alone with my age group except I was a little late to the trend.

Across the internet, there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of videos of teenagers anywhere from 14-20 showing off their new skincare product that help “prevent” wrinkles (or get rid of them). In the comments, there are hundreds of comments from young girls like “I already have fine lines?” and “Is it too late to start retinol?”

The fear of aging and wrinkles that was once relegated to older women has now been expanded to a new market: teenage girls

According to a market research group NPD (New Product Development), in 2012 “fewer than 20% of US women between 18 and 24 years old considered anti-aging skin care to be important.”

Only six years later, in 2018, The Benchmarking Company found that “more than 50% of 18- to 24-year-old women said they wanted to add wrinkle-defying products into their routine.” (CNN)

While social media can certainly be attributed to this issue, the larger problem can be traced back to large skincare and anti-aging companies targeting teenagers. Just last year, clinical skin care brand Murad recruited high-school aged ‘ambassadors’ to promote their rejuvenating serums on Instagram (CNN).

The people who push these products are just as at fault as the companies. Celebrities and influencers often secretly get botox or another cosmetic surgery to eliminate wrinkles or dark spots, and then promote unrelated products in a way that convinces younger audiences to buy them even though those same things either don’t work or can ruin your skin.

Of course there are products like sunscreen and moisturizer that are good-sense cosmetics that protect more than the skin’s look. I have no problem with increased awareness and purchases of these products skyrocketing, especially considering sunscreen can protect your skin from harmful UV rays that can cause skin cancer. There isn’t anything wrong with trying to take better care of your skin 

But the anti-aging market is not about “self-care” or “healthy skin”, it’s about product-pushing for financial gain. They throw wrinkle creams that don’t do much into your face, retinol treatment, gua-sha that promises better facial definition, and botox.

It’s someone’s choice whether to use these “anti-aging” products or not. However, when they are heavily promoted to teenager markets, it starts to create unhealthy body images and promotes the idea that aging is something to be avoided at all cost. It promotes the idea that once you are older, you are no longer appealing, an idea that disproportionately affects women. 

The idea of aging being unappealing and avoidable works. In 2026, the anti-aging market will most likely make a profit of $88 billion worldwide (CNN). These companies profit directly from expanding into new markets –– and the largest market right now is teenagers and pre-teens.

The creation of such a negative body image can lead to eating disorders, unsafe weight loss/ weight gain and low-self esteem. Our bodies aging is natural and will happen to everyone: gaining wrinkles, weight, gray hair and less elastic skin is part of that, however much we want to ignore it. 

Skin care companies push the idea that if you don’t take care of your skin (i.e. buy their extremely expensive products), you will age. And then you will be unattractive. They teach teenagers that no matter what you’ve done to your face, you are too late. This desperate scramble to undo what will happen no matter what, is what thrives the market. 

Whenever I hate this small, miniscule line that no one else notices (nor cares about), I’m secretly wishing that I never aged: and this means I’m making someone money.