In the health, beauty and aesthetics industry, the term anti-ageing has long been used as a way to promote products and services to an audience who wants to press rewind on the ageing process. However, in more recent years, the focus has shifted from trying to reverse the years, to simply looking good, whatever your age.
In recent years, there has been a considerable shift in the way we think about age. Furthermore, the platforms fighting ageism are getting stronger. So, is the term ‘anti-ageing’ discriminatory and fuelling the fire of ageism? The aesthetic industry has spent much of its focus on telling people to reverse the signs of ageing, is this brainwashing consumers into believing that ageing is something to be ashamed of or something to hide?
The history of anti-ageing terminology
The term anti-ageing first showed prominence during the 1980s. While its exact origins are not known, it is likely to be in advertising. The focus of the term ‘anti-ageing’ was to carve out a new sector in the beauty and skincare market.
Anti-ageing products and treatments were perfect for capitalising on a market of over 50s, which has a tremendous spending power. It also benefitted from the inherent ageism in which lines, wrinkles and natural ageing were seen as detracting from a person’s look. The power of media and advertising helped to negatively portray ageing as if it was something to be avoided or something to be embarrassed by. It seemed that ageing needed to be hidden or reversed with the help of the products and services on offer.
The term was indeed lucrative, with many brands using the term anti-ageing to sell their products and services. Moreover, the demographic began to buy into the term of anti-ageing, and many consumers were actively seeking out treatments that claim to reverse the signs of ageing.
Is anti-ageing misleading?
However, by 2008, there was an awakening in the terminology that the beauty and aesthetics industry was using. The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) began to clamp down on adverts that claimed their products were anti-ageing due to their misleading nature. Brands and products that have been criticised by the ASA for misleading anti-wrinkle and anti-ageing claims include; Body Shop Wise Woman, RoC Complete Lift, L’Oreal Anti-Wrinkle De-Crease, Avon ThermaFirm and Nivea DNA Age Cream.
Many of the adverts were banned as the term anti-ageing is misleading. After all, clients cannot physically stop ageing, and no products can actually stop time or the ageing process. However, products can help people to look well, more vibrant and with fresher skin. Furthermore, aesthetic treatments such as dermal fillers can help to add and redistribute volume to the face, which can be lost in ageing. Botox can also help to smooth out lines and wrinkles too.
Both Botox and fillers together can help to provide a more youthful appearance. However, these look best when they are natural looking and barely perceptible. With this in mind, the clinician is not working to reverse the signs of ageing but create a more healthy, vibrant appearance. Moreover, they are helping clients to reset the clock and to feel more confident in the age and the skin they are in.
Changing the terminology
In the health, beauty and aesthetic industry, there are many products and treatments that are specifically designed for older clients. These treatments and products, like many others, can help to improve the skin and enhance appearances. However, they are more specifically focused on the unique requirements and features of older facial and body structures. With this in mind, the term ‘age inclusive’ could be more appropriate and helps society to steer away from ageism.
The industry could perhaps also focus on terms such as resetting, conditioning, and enhancing the face and body you have in as a way to remove the misleading elements of anti-ageing claims. Furthermore, these terms say to clients that you and your age are perfect just as you are, but if you want to make enhancements and improvements, look healthy and great whatever your age, we have solutions that can help. We believe the focus should now be on loving the body you’re in and maintain your confidence for as long as possible.
The shift in expectations
Thanks to the calling out of ageism in the media and beauty industry with prolific changemakers such as Helen Mirren, Cindy Crawford and Yoko Ono, there has been a shift in expectations. People are now more accepting of ageing and the signs of ageing. Instead of people wanting to reverse the years and turn back the clock. People want to look vibrant, healthy and radiant, which in turn reflects a more youthful attitude.
The dynamic has moved from trying to stay as young-looking as possible to practising self-care, which means adopting a healthier, long-term view of their face, bodies and ageing. People are now focusing on protecting their skin from environmental aspects such as sun damage and pollution as well as adopting a healthier lifestyle complete with a well-balanced diet, regular effective exercise and reduced stress. All of these can help to reduce the signs of ageing simply by having improved health and increased vitality.
With the shift of expectations has been the shift of products which promote and associate positively with age. For example, L’Oreal offers an Age Perfect range while Dove has a Pro-Age line, and Olay has Age-Defying products. In the aesthetics industry, more practitioners are focusing on the radiance, volume and contouring that dermal fillers and other treatments can bring, rather than the fact they are helping clients to ‘fight the clock’.
Looking great rather than younger
At Hans Place, we help our client to feel confident in their bodies. As well as offering skin, face and body enhancing treatments, we spend time with our clients discussing how they can take a holistic approach to their beauty, health and wellness.
For our team, the noticeable changes come from a person’s happiness and confidence after treatment. In fact, we make sure to complete our treatments in a way that is attractive, effective and natural, irrespective of age, so only the client and the practitioner should be able to tell there has been any treatment at all.
So, let’s shift the mindset away from anti-ageing and being defined by age and start focusing on wellness and confidence.