Carson Bradley has an anti-ageing routine using retinol twice a day. She's 14.

When I was a teen, I was worried about the pimples on my forehead. And the fact my denim cut-offs didn't say 'Roxy' on the bum. I shopped for foaming washes and spot creams in Coles, Woolies and Priceline, and used to hang out for the odd free sample attached to the front of Girlfriend or Dolly Magazine.

Fast forward to now, and the teens aren't worried about pimples and freebies anymore.

These days, the teens are worried about wrinkles. 

Watch: Teenager talk, translated. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

Fuelled by Gen Z on social media, the fight against ageing has started earlier than ever, with beauty consumers getting younger and younger.

In fact, it's been found that Gen Z spends more on skincare than any other generation. And while the products marketed to teens used to centre around the prevention of acne and breakouts, in 2023 skincare for the younger generation is all about preventing the signs of ageing. And it's working. 

A recent study found that more than 50 per cent of 18 to 24-year-old women said they wanted to add wrinkle-defying products into their routine.

Scroll through Reddit's #SkincareAddiction subreddit and you'll find a swarm of concerned requests from teens asking about everything from "Premature ageing at 16. What are my options?" to "I’m 16 and thinking about injectables because of my forehead wrinkles."


On TikTok, ‘prejuvenation’ is now a thing, with teens sharing their meticulous anti-ageing and skincare routines in a bid to prevent everything from hyperpigmentation to sagging, fine lines and wrinkles,

Take Carson Bradley, for example. 

The TikToker regularly shares her skincare and wellness routine with her followers — she double cleanses, uses toner, vitamin C, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid before finishing with two types of moisturiser.

In another video, she takes apple cider tablets; she applies over-the-counter retinol twice a day and covers the passenger window in the car with a sheet of paper to avoid sun damage.

Bradley is just 14 years old.

In a post captioned, “Here are some things I do to slow down the ageing process as a 14-year-old,” she tells her followers that she started doing most of these things at 12.  

 People were shocked to not only see a teen using retinol every day — but twice a day.

"The whole beauty industry is going to hell this is so bleak," one person said. 

"Absolutely do not use retinol during the day and you don’t really need to do any of this until you're in your early 20s."

Another said, "This is so sad. You will age regardless. The beauty industry is taken advantage of your insecurities to sell you products, girl."

Chatting about it with on You Beauty podcast, our very own Leigh Campbell shared, "I've noticed this in real life, too. Firstly, you definitely don't need retinol in your teens! Hydration and SPF are really important — kids this age are going through puberty so I get that they're breaking out. But all of those products or ingredients are just not necessary."


But as we all know, anti-ageing is big business – it's the beauty industry's biggest marketing success.

There's a lot of money to be made from telling people they need to stop their skin from ageing. And even more to be made in securing a whole new generation of consumers by convincing teens to 'slow down' the inevitable. 

Take a quick glance along beauty shelves and you'll see the increasing number of brands targeting young women.

For example, there's Gen-Z brands like Spoiled Child with the slogan "Getting Old is Getting Old".

Yes, this is a real brand for teens.

There's also popular Gen-Z skincare brands such as Tula, who have launched a whole 'ageless' category. Base+ is another brand that allows customers to add 'anti-ageing' ingredients to their products.

As Leigh shared, "I just think it's about being age-appropriate, particularly with ingredients and also price wise — because this is sending a lot of parents broke. I think it's definitely gone too far. The anti-ageing stuff is firstly unnecessary, but it could also cause more damage."

"I do think it's sad, to be honest. I get it — women and young girls want to grow up faster. But skin is a whole other thing."

So, where does this leave us?

While women’s expectations of how they want to look as they age have undeniably changed — in 2023, the rhetoric around ageing certainly isn't dead.

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Feature image: TikTok/Carson Bradley.

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