Why don’t millennials age compared to Gen Z?

@fleeksie/TikTok @pretty_badash/TikTok @teawithmd/TikTok

‘Still get carded in my 30s’: Why don’t millennials age compared to Gen Z?

'I think it’s mostly because we use SPF, and don’t smoke'


Jack Alban


Posted on Jan 7, 2024   Updated on Jan 7, 2024, 1:11 pm CST

Are millennials aging better than Gen Z? That’s what a lot of folks online seem to think. It’s a topic of discussion that’s been making the rounds on TikTok among several users, who have declared that, out of recent human generations, Millennials seem to be aging better than everyone else.

As a TikToker named Jessica (@jessgreenwood) queried in a viral clip that’s been stitched, re-stitched, and re-posted by several other folks on the platform: “Have you noticed how millennials don’t seem to be aging quite like the generations before? I have a theory about this: First of all I’m almost 40 and I get told all the time that I don’t look my age.”

Jessica speculated that the reason why she’s told she’s younger than her age is because she’s not in a relationship, isn’t having sex, and is very selective about the people she lets into her life. She also thinks that the millennial generation’s habit of pushing back against the patriarchy might have something to do with a collective youthfulness people have adopted and embraced on their countenances.

“What if I do look my age? What if what we’re used to seeing as normal aging is actually the result of patriarchal oppression and the literal draining of life force energy from women. What if what we’re used to seeing as normal aging is because women are exhausted,” she says. “They’ve had their feminine energy literally crushed and stifled. What if this new youthfulness that we’re starting to see is because women are pushing back and taking up space and what if the reason that I don’t look 40 is because I have protected my energy. I’ve protected my energy by remaining single and celibate. I don’t give my energy away and I’m very adamant around about not having people around me who drain me.”

For others it has less to do with crappy men stressing people the heck out and more to do with a confluence of events have contributed to this disparity and that many Gen Z-ers look the same age as, or older than their millennial counterparts.

@jessrgreenwood Disclaimer: remaining single/celibate isn’t the only way to protect yourself. It’s just what I chose to do. #feminineenergy #aging ♬ original sound – Jessica/ Digital Nomad Jess

Why could millennials look younger? Is it because they grew up in a time period where healthier eating and fitness habits were prioritized in the general population? Or does it have to do with Gen Z’s susceptibility to social media marketing when it comes to skincare and beauty trends, not to mention a resurgence in widespread abuse of nicotine in the form of vapes? Millennials were believed at one point to be “the generation that ends smoking,” but it appears Gen Z became another generation of smokers in the form of vapes.

Nicotine usage, whether it’s via smoking or vaping, can purportedly age people’s skin cells more quickly. So there is some truth to the belief that a bunch of Gen-Z’ers who have been vaping in the gender neutral restroom from the age of 13 and have consistently done so daily for years, could put themselves at risk for premature wrinkling.

The Daily Mail also wrote that many influencers who’ve shilled skin care products and routines to younger followers may ultimately be leading them astray, as these treatments when performed incorrectly or on different types of skin can make some appear older than they actually are. The English outlet highlighted the 17 age discrepancy between Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian. But because Jenner underwent cosmetic procedures, she looked much closer in age to her older sister, despite being barely legal enough to rent a car.

And while it’s easy to write this phenomenon off as just another instance of an elder generation taking a stab at those younger than them, there have been several TikTokers who’ve also discussed this trend, like dermatologist Dr. Joyce (@teawithmd) who gave what sounds like an official professional opinion on this phenomenon. In a clip that was a response to Greenwood’s viral video, she said, “I think the sunscreen, the Botox, the lasers, the fillers, we have so many things that can now help you stay and look young, but to be clear it’s mainly sunscreen and and sun protection.” Dr. Joyce clarified that the aforementioned things help millennials look younger, adding that sunscreen and UV protection, in a caption for the video, is what’s mainly responsible for helping keep people looking so young.

@teawithmd #stitch with @jessrgreenwood What causes #aging of the skin or influences how your skin ages? Mainly exposure to UV radiation, pollutants, smoking, and genetics. #sunscreen is the BEST #antiaging tip I can give you. You’re welcome #dermbypark ♬ original sound – Dr. Joyce Dermatologist

Another TikToker joked that because boomers smoke and Gen Z vapes they’re going to ultimately look older, but because millennials have “depression” they’re going to primarily stay indoors all day and sulk while avoiding the aforementioned harmful UV rays, keeping them looking younger for longer than the generations that came before and after them.

Popular TikTok user Jordan the Stallion (@jordan_the_stallion8) also commented on this phenomenon, mentioning that millennials “either look way too old for their age or they look way too young,” before stating that boomers pretty much look their age, but that the newest generation ultimately looks way too older and that even youngsters seem like, just on a surface level, that they’re old enough to have their own house and be a full on grown-up.

@jordan_the_stallion8 #stitch with @jessrgreenwood #fypシ ♬ original sound – Jordan_The_Stallion8

There was another TikTok user who goes by Injector Sara who posted a video who said that both her and her millennial friends who opted to move to a “big city” and stay there so her and her pals could be around more “fun things” rather than spend their disposable income on creating a family and having a home. Instead, Sara states, her and her pals opted to spend their money on medical grade skin case, not the stuff one buys at Sephora. Her video then transitioned to her showing off a litany of “anti-aging” and “brightening” skincare products she just stocked up on to highlight how Millennials stay looking so young.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Dr. Joyce via TikTok comment for further information.

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*First Published: Jan 7, 2024, 5:00 pm CST