Pick up any women’s magazine or head your favourite online platform and it’s likely there’ll be a glut of stories centred on the premise that women are being encouraged to stay young and beautiful forever, to defy the laws of nature and to preserve themselves against the odds. Women over the age of 35 are fairly used to the idea that it’s deemed acceptable for them to undergo various treatments and adjustments in order to maintain their looks as they age, but for women under the age of 35 it’s a different story.
Over the last five years the UK has seen a boom in non-invasive cosmetic procedures like botox and dermal fillers. Whereas these anti-ageing treatments might not have been as popular several years ago, in 2018 they’re commonplace, with more and more women under 35 opting to undergo them. Injectables currently account for nine out of 10 cometic surgery procedures carried out in the UK so we’re seeing a huge upswing in popularity.
However, despite treatments like botox, thread lifts and dermal fillers becoming more sought after by a greater demographic of women in the UK, our attitudes to these treatments and the women opting to have them remain slightly out of sync. Women under the age of 35 are seldom met with encouragement when admitting they’ve undergone anti-ageing procedures, despite the fact that many doctors contest that for botox to be at it’s most effective, one should start undergoing treatment around the age of 30.
In fact, most women between the ages of 25 and 35 are discouraged from even mentioning anti-aging or shamed into feeling their interest in non-invasive cosmetic treatments is the product of a society obsessed with unrealistic beauty standards, and nothing to do with their own desire to look youthful and refreshed.
To some extent the evolution of beauty standards in the UK has fuelled the boom in injectables, meaning now more than ever, we should be educating young women about safety, best practice and natural results. However, we’re far too quick to dismiss women under 35 when they express an interest in anti-ageing, especially if we encourage this interest in women over 35. At what point does it become acceptable to others for a woman to be praised for self improvement?
Having spoken to many women of different ages, from friends and colleagues to strangers on the internet, about this double standard in the beauty industry, and sifted through a ton of comments on social media, I decided to pay a visit to a Mr Izzy Ahad at NewLife medical aesthetics clinic in London to ask a few questions. Izzy was among the first medical professionals to provide injectables in the 1990s and has since specialised in botox, fillers and thread lifts at his practice. Naturally, given my interest in the effects of ageism, I took my mum along for the ride.
I am 28 years old and my mum is 51. We’ve always discussed beauty, ageing, body confidence and debated the effects of various cultural phenomena with each other in a very frank and honest way, so I was keen to find out what Izzy would make of us potentially opting for the same treatment considering the difference in our ages. My mum and I are very similar when it comes to our looks, our skin type and our views but interestingly, my mum had never undergone any kind of treatment, whereas from superfacials to injectables, I have tried a fair few already.
The team at NewLife were so knowledgeable and were pretty excited that my mum would be having her first ever treatment that day. They were keen to support her, make her feel comfortable and help her to envision and achieve natural results with a range of non-invasive anti-ageing procedures. I was excited for her too and we talked in depth about the small things that bothered her and how Izzy and his team could help.
When it was my turn however, the team agreed I didn’t really need anything and I was fine as I was. This was nice to hear but confirmed my suspicions about the way women under 35 are perceived when it comes to non-invasive cosmetic procedures. Izzy agreed that while preventative treatments might be worth it for me but there was certainly nothing he’d consider correcting at this stage. However, this did beg the question, if my mum had started preventative treatments at my age as I have, would the NewLife team be as invested in offering her such a range of fixes at 51?
Should we really be discouraging and judging women under 35 for being interested in anti-aging and preventative beauty treatments if women over 35 are being encouraged to fix themselves and undergo every procedure available? Obviously I don’t have an answer to this question but found the experience of bringing my mum along to have a treatment together, incredibly eye opening and I loved hearing the opinions of so many different women whilst writing this post. What do you think? Do we have a problem with ageism and double standards when it comes to anti-ageing beauty treatments? Let me know in the comments below.
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