We need to talk about why millennials are ageing better than Gen Z.

While millennials have copped it on everything from their dance moves and their social media mannerisms to how they wear their socks, there's one thing they're apparently really good at: ageing.

Because according to cosmetic experts, millennials may actually look younger than the generations before them — including baby boomers and Generation X — as well as the generations after them, like Gen Z. And for good reason.

Thanks to leading healthier lifestyles, being more well-informed around skincare (including sun protection) and makeup techniques, apparently us millennials look more youthful than other generation. (Hooray!)

Watch: Curiosity got the better of us! Renny asked Dr. Naomi McCullum, a cosmetic physician who runs a luxury clinic called The Manse, everything she'd do to her face. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

Just take a look at social media, and you'll come across numerous viral videos on the topic. 

TikTok creator Jordan the Stallion said: "Millennials age differently from the older generation and this newest generation."

"The older generation look exactly like their age. A 50-year-old looks like a 50-year-old. A 20-year-old looks like a 20-year-old," he adds.

"The newest generation - they all just look like adults at this point. Every single person in the newest generation already looks like they have a house and they're paying a mortgage."

@jordan_the_stallion8 #stitch with @jessrgreenwood #fypシ ♬ original sound - Jordan_The_Stallion8


One comment said, "I actually went clubbing with my Gen Z sister and people legit thought she was older than me. We are A DECADE apart."

So is Gen Z actually ageing worse than millennials? And if so, why?

We had a chat with Dr Nicole Chater from Concept Cosmetic Medicine to find out more.

Is Gen Z ageing differently from millennials? 

In short... yes. 

While various factors influence how a person ages — everything from genetics to environmental factors play a major role — Dr Chater told us that in recent years, there has been a noticeable shift in lifestyle factors when it comes millennials versus Gen Z. 

"The millennial generation grew up in a time when UV exposure and its dangers were being touted, the dangers of excessive alcohol, drugs or smoking were also clearly linked with many different health consequences," she said. 

"These health messages are not as prominent nowadays. Vaping is a new phenomenon. It simply wasn't around when the millennials were younger. Now, almost every Gen Z that I come across in practice is vaping."

"Unfortunately, the health messaging hasn’t been as loud as it was for smoking, so the younger generation who are very driven to fit in and be like their peers, end up vaping without the full understanding of the harms that it plays on our body, and the skin is the window to what is inside our body. So it shows up as dull skin, which ages prematurely."


According to Tobacco in Australia, use of e-cigarettes was highest among persons aged 16 to 24 years, for both use (32.7 per cent) and current use (11.1 per cent). 

While vaping has seemingly been portrayed as the safer and cleaner way to 'smoke', medical experts, including The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), have warned of the long-term health dangers of e-cigarettes on young people.

Dr Chater said, "We know for sure that chronic exposure to nicotine will harm your body and your skin."

"I tell my patients if you want to take care of your skin, before starting your journey doing laser or injectables, you must first start with lifestyle factors, which means protecting it from harmful UV radiation and chemicals such as nicotine."

Can having cosmetic 'tweakments' in your 20s make you look older?

As well as various lifestyles factors, experts say Gen Z's decisions around cosmetic enhancements and 'tweakments' at an earlier age may also be contributing to an aged appearance.

Dr Chater said, "Gen Z, in my opinion, as a group, are more bold in their cosmetic decisions, whether that be with makeup, cosmetic tattoos or cosmetic enhancements. Whether it be lip fillers, or plastic surgery, this generation are led by influencers who have in some cases gone for quite extreme looks."

@kyladrichardson I know I’m not the only one who thought these influencers were older than their actual age😭 ##alixearle##tanamongeau##jordanthestallion8##brettmanrock##tubegirl ♬ original sound - Kyla Richardson

"Overfilled faces distort the natural contours, the structural shape of a face that the human brain is evolutionarily wired to read and analyse.

"There has also been a trend to more defined jaw lines, and even surgical changes such as buccal fat removal. However young 20-year-olds naturally do not have gaunt or defined faces. It is when we start to lose facial volume in our thirties and forties that the face starts to look more defined. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does contribute to the ageing process." 


Kylie Jenner, 26. Image: Getty.

Scroll through social media, and it's hard not to notice the changing 'aesthetic' face. We're seeing slimmer features. Defined jawlines. Structured cheekbones.  

According to Dr Chater, this reflects the current culture — with many Gen Z's moving away from a 'babyish' face and more in line with a more contoured appearance. 


"Often as a cosmetic doctor, I spend time replacing volume that has been lost with ageing. Some of the trends that the Gen Z group have been following, such as buccal fat removal, will speed that ageing process in my opinion."

However, Dr Chater adds that the trend for an overfilled 'Instagram face' is mostly behind us, with Gen Z embracing their natural features and "looking to have subtle enhancements as well as ‘ageing well’, for the most part."

"The fortunate thing about the Gen Z group, is that they realise the things they do now have scientifically shown to improve our skin and the ageing process over time. This has definitely been one of the benefits of social media. My only caveat to this is that 'more' is not necessarily a good thing, and that goes for skin care as well as cosmetic treatments."

Which leads us to...

Gen Z and an overexposure to skincare.

Cosmetic enhancements aside, Dr Chater said that thanks to social media, Gen Z are also more overexposed to skincare than ever. And it makes sense, really. With more skincare brands available than ever before, and more access to trends and recommendations at the tap of a finger — it's an increasingly loud and overwhelming market.

"There is a definite tendency for social media to flood us with lots of different types of skin care," said Dr Chater. 

"On the whole, I think this can confuse people. I often will see a teenager in my clinic with concerns such as acne, and when we write down a list of what they are using, it becomes clear to me that they are using far too many products, with no consistency, which overall is likely doing more harm than good!"


"Skincare need not be overly complicated, especially for a young person. Often we could limit products to two in the morning and two in the evening, but consistency is key. There is a great natural skin barrier, and the things we do to our skin barrier can be harmed if we overdo too many active ingredients." 

Along with a wave of misinformation around skincare ingredients and the over-marketing of products on social media, there's also a spike in sun tanning culture. It might not come as a surprise to learn that roughly 63 per cent of Gen Z don’t use SPF at all.

As pointed out by journalist and founder of Call Time On Melanoma Lisa Patulny in an article for Mamamia, sponsored tanning videos, tanning products and tanning 'challenges' are rife on social media - and Gen Z audience sits at the core of it.

"In our culture, the belief that tanning is cool is reinforced often," Patulny said. "A few recent examples: the ‘sunscreen contouring’ trend that encouraged applying sunscreen in ways that left strategic tan lines on the face in lieu of makeup contour, and the TikTok #sunburnchallenge, where creators posted themselves online with extreme sunburns."


Pseudo sunscreen contour results ☀️

♬ original sound - Eli Withrow

"Even worse is the content created by and for the brands whose business it is, quite literally, to platform tanning because they make tanning products. The aggressive marketing of tanning oils and accelerators to young people (sometimes actual children) online contributes to the demand for these products."

What are your thoughts on Gen Z's ageing face? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Getty/Canva.

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