I recently read a great article in the WSJ Magazine by Fiorella Valdesolo about the evolution of anti-aging. Valdesolo explained how women have been phased out of working roles in the beauty and fashion arena based solely on age. For many decades, women were often rewarded for “anti-aging” success stories or even aging backwards. In some industries, women are encouraged to diminish all wrinkles and expression lines, often resulting in unnatural appearances. However, there seems to be a recent shift in the beauty industry. Some large skincare and cosmetics corporations are saying goodbye to anti-aging philosophies and have recently given women over the age of fifty modeling or endorsement roles. This has in turn helped them with marketing to that demographic. After all, women experience a multitude of skin changes from hormones levels shifting as we age. Skin changes are at the top of that list, including loss of collagen and elastin, thinning of the skin, lines and wrinkles, and sagging skin.
Many people have shifted away from using the term anti-aging for this very reason. “Aging well” has been used to describe someone who has taken good care of his/her skin and body. Valdesolo used the term “pro-aging,” recognizing that it is a beautiful thing to show our age by taking care of the largest organ in our body, our skin. I believe that not only is there currently a shift away from anti-aging, but there is a shift toward pro-living. Why do we need to release all fine lines and wrinkles, when some of those very lines are the memories of laughter and the evidence of wisdom and experience?
Kicking off Women’s History Month, we say goodbye to anti-aging and welcome a new mantra
I love the term “pro-living” as it stands for more than just the inconsequential attributes of someone’s exterior beauty. Pro-living represents a new model of appreciation for growing older and gaining experience. Although aging is not often thought of as a good thing in life, it can be. Aging and having the opportunity to live a long life is a beautiful, insightful experience for women. I look around at all the strong women I have and used to have in my life, and I feel empowered to do more and be more influential in my own life.
After multiple pregnancies, hormone shifts, and years of sleepless nights, my skin can often react in ways that are out of my control. In those moments, I try to grab hold of what I can reverse and appreciate the results of my hard work and life experiences for those that I cannot. For instance, the skin around my stomach will never be the same. My twins stayed together on the left side of my abdomen for nearly three weeks toward the end of my pregnancy and caused more stretching of muscles and skin than I expected. Trust me, I have had my moments obsessing over the latest and greatest procedures to correct the issues. Instead, I now call these marks “scars of love.” I would not have my precious full-term babies without those marks and stretched skin. Therefore, I choose to be grateful for what brought me there.
Additionally, because of so many back-to-back pregnancies, the skin on my face loosened and lost a good amount of elasticity. I have embraced many ways to improve my jowls area and perfect that skin, but for now, I choose to appreciate the fact that my body is playing catch up after years of skin and body changes from carrying four children. I choose to take good care of my skin for both health and appearance, but I wish to live my life for as long as I am able and not worry too much about the things we cannot control.
The pro-living mantra is not derived to mean that women will not still seek skincare products and treatments to perfect their version of ideal skin. However, it will hopefully drive a movement of accepting how experiences, knowledge, and the highs and lows of life brought us there. We are all our own worst critics, but I believe that a community of supportive women can reinforce this notion that we all want to grow old and live a long life. We just want to look good while doing it.