How do women cope with ageing in a world obsessed with youth? Is it harder being in your forties now than it was fifty years ago? Do women start noticing their face changing younger than before? Is smoothing those lines always the answer? Glowday speaks to some ordinary, hard working, real women about their feelings on the ageing process.
There are some women who don't care about ageing. They accept the changes, embrace the lines and wrinkles and the shift in skin tone and texture. They don't give it a second thought and they don't feel any-less confident or attractive, their appearance doesn't impact their day-to-day life or wellbeing. Others, however, find the ageing process is, quite frankly, depressing and frustrating and it knocks their confidence.
Why do we care about ageing?
The reasons why women care about ageing are multifaceted and complicated, and it does seem to be more of a problem for women than for men. The physical changes to our faces represent a shift in so many aspects of our life, and so much more 'happens' to females then men biologically - periods, pregnancy, menopause - so when our faces start to burden the signs of ageing, for many women they just feel despair and disappointment.
Some women mourn for their youth, resent getting older and feel like the loss of their looks is just another giant slap in the face for being a woman. They feel that, perhaps, the best years of their life is now behind them and all that awaits is empty-nest syndrome and making sure the Will is updated. Of course, there are others who consider ageing to be a privilege and embrace each new decade, they find new confidence with age and feel more secure than ever before.
Rachel Dwyer, a mum of two, 45, from Cardiff is one of those women. She says: "I’m far happier in my 40’s, I hardly ever wear makeup, I do like to wear nice clothes but don’t give a monkeys about wrinkles etc. Most of it comes with discovering confidence I just didn’t have when I was younger."
Yet Suzy, 43, from Horsham, says: "I get surprised when I catch my reflection and see an old woman looking at me. I hate the changing face shape, bigger nose and something is definitely happening to my jowls."
Rachel is embracing ageing, and we can see why, utterly gorgeous at 45!
Kelly Black, a 33 year old company director, says: "I was never bothered about ageing before - probably because I wasn't ageing! But my god, having kids ages you bad, it's been rapid! I don't care so much for crows feet or forehead lines, I think crows feet add character when you age. The thing that gets me is the drooping and the lines between my nose and mouth (nasolabial) it really upsets me that there's not much I can do about it aside from filler, but that scares me. But yes, I dislike it very much - it's only in the last two years I've started to become really conscious of it."
When do women start caring about ageing?
This largely depends on your personality. I have friends in their early thirties who really dislike the subtle changes they're starting to notice, and friends in their late forties who don't care about the lines on their faces. My mum, who recently turned sixty, has only started becoming bothered about her face.
Imogen, 31, a European UX operations lead, from Bournemouth, says: "I would say that as the youngest in my friendship group I'm fairly unbothered by most signs I'm seeing now. I've seen my friends go through it first so I'm not the first one which helps and everything I see at the moment can be fixed with tweakments as it's all pretty minor. However, I'm not looking forward to the day when my neck sags and I have to start looking like a Real Housewife if I want to 'fix' it."
Alex, a copywriter and mum of one, who is 34, says: "I didn't think I would be bothered about my face changing as I got older, I don't really mind the lines and wrinkles but one thing I have noticed and that I DETEST is that my jowls are starting to droop and I think that makes me look really old."
At 31, Imogen is starting to notice subtle changes to her face from ageing, but isn't too worried until her neck goes!
Has The Pandemic Changed Our Attitudes To Ageing?
It's fairly well documented now that being in lockdown affected so many people's views on their appearance. Glowday's own survey revealed that over a quarter of UK women (27%) feel like lockdown has aged them, especially the 25-34 year olds, of which 44% of said this was the case.
Claire Stewart, aged 43 and mum of two from Ascot, says: "I really didn't care until lockdown and I think I just had too much time to study my face and think about it. Now I'm noticing more and more things wrong with my face. I'm starting to feel my age, but I don't want to look old yet! However, I'm also unwilling to spend money to solve the problem and keep thinking water, healthy eating and exercise will fix the problem."
Claire says that lockdown has made her focus on her face more, after having far too much time to look at it. We'd be happy looking at that face every day!
Are women under more pressure because of social media?
While many women are pretty savvy to the filters and 'fakeness' so prevalent on social media, that doesn't mean all women will be and it certainly plays its part on how people feel about their own ageing journey.
Kelly says: "I don't look at younger women and feel envious as I feel so much more confident in my skin at 33 than I did at 23, even though I look older. But I have started to feel a real awareness of social media portraying that people stop ageing in their thirties because of all the filters and treatments so readily available now - which I does think adds pressure to jump on the bandwagon more than just the normal pressure I may have felt pre social media days."
However, Claire says: "I don't feel any pressure from social media or younger women. For me it's totally personal. The social media thing to me is just lies and when I look at younger women on there they often don't look 'real' as the preferred 'look' these days, isn't something I like. I just crave youthful, blemish-free skin, I can handle the lines and wrinkles."
Hannah, a PR Director from London, says: " At my age I don't find Instagram the problem as we all know they're filtered to the max, but actresses and TV presenters who have had very subtle work done so you can see they're 40 and older but they look good for their age, is what I aim for with any tweakments."
What drives women to seek tweakments?
The driver for when someone decides to take the plunge with wrinkle relaxing,fillers and even chemical peels and microneedling varies. There are some women who don't give it a second thought, there will be others who research for eight years before they finally go ahead. But at the core of what makes someone finally book that treatment, will always boil down to confidence and self-esteem and how much the 'thing they don't like' starts to impact their wellbeing.
Rachel, 43, a mum of one from Surrey, says: "I've had wrinkle relaxing treatments since I was 40 and more recently tear trough fillers but not to look younger but to look my age. I look at my friends' faces and I believe what I have had done just puts me back in line with how a 43 year old should look. My wrinkle between my forehead was permanently there, and it wasn't that I looked old, but that I looked constantly angry - which is miserable to look at constantly in the mirror. I was spending more and more on eye creams that were never going to work to fill the sunken tear troughs, and I just wanted them to look normal!"
What Prevents Women Seeking Tweakments?
For many people the 'thing they don't like about their face' does bother them and it does make them feel less confident, but it's fear that stops them doing anything about it. There is a lot of mystery about non-surgical aesthetics and a huge misconception that everyone who has injectables looks fake.
As Claire says: "All of the words just frighten me, 'peel', 'needle', 'acid'... none of it sounds good! But my main worry about doing anything involving an injection into my face is how do I know it won't make me look really weird in 5-10 years' time - like Courtney Cox"
Good Work Is Invisible
Part of Glowday's mission is to educate women like Claire who are fearful of Botox and fillers, that good work is subtle and natural. That actually, for the most part, when you visit a medical aesthetics professional nobody else is even likely to notice you've had anything done. Glowday's clinics pride themselves on discreet and bespoke treatments. We're pretty confident that every clinic on Glowday would agree that Courtney Cox HAS overdone the filler and she isn't a good advert for non-surgical aesthetics. We don't see enough of the celebrities who are good examples of tweakments, because they look like themselves and don't admit to it. But, you can be pretty sure, if you're looking at a celebrity over the age of 40 who has very smooth skin and looks absolutely amazing for their age, they're dabbling in non-surgical aesthetics. It may be Profhilo, it may be fillers, it may be wrinkle relaxing... it will most certainly be medical grade skincare - it will always be *something*
Do Men Care About Ageing?
More males then ever are having injectables and this trend is expected to continue. We recently spoke to Mike about having treatments and I hope that men are becoming more comfortable admitting that ageing does bother them. It's pretty obvious that the male reluctance to confront their insecurities about their ageing face and nose hair, often manifests through the cliché male midlife crisis. Rather than get treatments to feel better about themselves, they'll get a sports car and new piece of arm candy. I suspect that some men feel quite envious at how breezy women are confronting their midlife face issues!
I did ask a few of my male friends their thoughts on ageing and quite frankly they all mostly said "I just don't really think about it" with one guy, Will, who is 44, adding 'it's a bit annoying I need glasses now, and my receding hairline is a blow."
Feeling attractive is, I believe, a key factor in why women care more or are more inclined to do something about it. It may not be the most feminist or right measure to use but certainly youth and attractiveness go hand in hand. A former work colleague who is in her mid forties and didn't want to be named told me: "The thing I've really noticed is that any male attention I get now is from much older men - like in their 60s! I'm invisible to younger men and even men my age!"
In 2017 David Beckham said he doesn't agree with wrinkle relaxing injections, fast forward a few years and that forehead is looking suspiciously smooth.
Ageing: It Happens To Us All
One thing for certain is that ageing happens to us all. Some of us won't care at all, some of us are a bit bothered but not enough to do anything about it and some of us will absolutely hate it!
Some of us will have non surgical aesthetic treatments to boost our confidence, some of us will just 'deal with it', some of us will be too fearful and many of us will simply embrace ageing.
And that's okay, we're all different. We can all do what we please and we can all support everyone else for their choices.
But, if your choice is to get a bit of help and to embrace antiaging treatments then look no further, search on Glowday for a medical professional near you. Book in for a consultation if you're not sure, the professionals on Glowday will help you and guide you and you might find you wished you'd taken the plunge a whole lot sooner!
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