Why I Don't Like The Term “Anti-Aging”
The term “anti-aging” pops up everywhere. You’ll find it in the skincare isle, across media platforms, in the bookstore; even lingering here on the Acubalance website for various reasons I’d love to see change.
I work in the field of healthcare and optimizing quality of life. I understand the desire to keep the body from breaking down or functioning sub-optimally. However, I believe there is a distinct difference between the goal of aging well and the frantic idea that we should somehow stop aging altogether.
The term anti-aging inherently implies that aging is something undesirable that we are trying to prevent. I think this term does a great disservice to the beauty and wisdom that comes with age and falsely correlated youth with the real traits and goals we are after.
Many of the desirable qualities we are attributing to youth are actually indicators of good health. Youth isn’t what I am after. I wouldn’t want to be 9 years old for the rest of my life or even 20. I think media often allows us to forget that the golden years of youth are not just times of boundless energy and high-metabolism. True that the wear-and-tear of poor habits don’t manifest as quickly as they might in your 40’s, but it doesn’t mean that the damage isn’t being done or that being 18 safeguards you from weight gain, brittle hair and nails, dry or acneic skin, hormonal issues, dental issues, body pain, sun damage, fatigue, stress, anxiety, depression, or a whole host of concerns.
Part of my practice here at Acubalance involves providing facial acupuncture. I love this modality because for me, it is not only about taking care of our skin, but our whole health, mind and body. It is not about preventing age but functioning (and therefore looking) our best at every stage of the game. We work with the body to keep our skin going strong and our health radiating through. Treating stress, energy, and self-confidence is often part of the “facial” as these issue will show through the face. I treat people in their 30’s struggling with acne, I treat new moms in need of some self-care after all that incredible output, I treat women in menopause adjusting to new hormone levels a new stage of self-identity, I treat people in their 70’s looking to help their collagen production along as well as maintain good health and vitality. It is not about disguising your age, it’s about optimizing your age, and self-care is beautiful.
Allure magazine recently made the decision to no longer use the term “anti-aging” in their publications. I hope it is a sign of more shifts to come in how we describe and portray getting older. In their wonderful interview with Helen Mirren, the 72 year old actress who is a “poster child” for aging naturally and gracefully in the spot light, mentions: “‘This word “anti-aging” — we know we’re getting older. You just want to look and feel as great as you can on a daily basis.’ ”
Traditionally, elder members of a community held the most revered and respected place in society. When did we start de-valuing the knowledge, life-experience, and fortitude that comes with age and become such a youth-centric culture? From an aesthetic stand point in the media, I hope we see less airbrushing and more authentic representation across the generations.
To me, aging is the inevitable, continuing evolution of the human experience. To try to prevent myself from aging would be struggling against being human. The amount of emotional energy spent in not accepting my value and beauty at every stage of my life would be a huge drain and distraction from what really brings me joy.
My goal is to live a high quality life and to do everything I can to be healthy. Here’s to the beautiful pursuit of aging well!