Emma Stone, a TikTok creator (with no relation to the actress), says she was 15 years old when she wanted to start using an anti-aging cream. Now she’s sounding the alarm on the possible concerns of certain anti-aging ingredients.
“They’re so afraid of wrinkles,” said Stone (@emmamastone), a crochet designer on TikTok whose video went viral last month.
The discussion around women’s skincare escalated after a 14-year-old girl uploaded a video showing her skincare routine to “slow down the aging process.”
In addition to apple cider vinegar pills and face masks, she applies retinol—a type of vitamin A used for anti-aging and to treat acne—twice a day. The girl started this regimen at the age of 12.
Camellia Steele (@dcsteele_), another TikTok creator, also expressed her worry about younger girls getting into anti-aging skincare in a video that by Monday had received over 676,200 views.
Steele said she received comments from 10 to 15-year-old girls who were using retinol or thought about using it. One prominent side effect of retinol is that it makes skin more vulnerable to sun damage, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
“It’s really, really scary because they didn’t know what it does,” Steele told the Daily Dot.
Dr. Papri Sarkar, a dermatologist based in Massachusetts, told the Cut in 2020 that in general, it’s safe for teens to use retinol and may even be prescribed retinoids to help clear acne. But the expert consensus is that it’s best to consult a healthcare provider before starting a skincare regimen at any age.
Steele also said online influencers play a key role in skincare marketing toward Gen Z, the largest demographic on TikTok. In North America, some of the age group’s largest skin concerns include wrinkles and eyebags, according to a 2021 survey.
“It used to be where just companies would market to you and you would get ads, but now, real people are marketing to you,” Steele said. “You’re going to be a lot more inclined to buy something if it’s a real person with the product rather than a brand.”
However, the expectations for women versus men are different when it comes to aging. Women feel more pressure to maintain flawless skin even though wrinkles and acne are a natural part of growing up.
“I’ve never seen a man, a young man, ever worry about the future of his face, never worry about if he’s gonna get wrinkles, or if his hair’s gonna gray,” Stone said in her video. “I’ve never seen it, so why are we making girls worry [about this]?”
“Do men age better, or are they simply allowed to age?” one comment said.
These standards continue to affect women’s daily lives and skew society’s overall perception of beauty.
“My mom has a friend who tries to never smile or laugh because she doesn’t want smile lines,” one user said under Steele’s video. “It makes me so sad cus those are a sign that u have lived.”