As children, we seem to glorify adults and everything they do. So much so in fact that children will often wish that they were older, had more responsibility, and were capable of doing more things on their own. Oh, silly children. If only they would realize what seemingly every adult does, which is that youth is a time that should be appreciated and cherished. Unfortunately, it is often only in the rearview mirror that this realization is made. Could this perhaps be the reason why our culture, seemingly on a global scale, has gone from venerating the old and obsessing about youth? After all, our founding fathers did wear powdered wigs to look older and more distinguished; so, what changed?
“Society places so much emphasis on looking younger than you are and all of the perks that come with youth and a youthful appearance,” is a sentence that seems to be ringing truer every day and our obsession with youth has permeated nearly every avenue of our lives.
One of the biggest places where youth obsession is rampant is the fashion industry. It is commonplace for designers to use underage models in fashion shows, which, given the lifestyle, not only can be harmful to the models who have to handle a stressful job and a lot of criticism at a young age, it also can create incredibly unrealistic beauty standards. We think most would agree that all too often, the “model” body is simple just a taller child’s body.
Another industry that is heavily focused on youth and achieving youthful appearance is the beauty industry. In fact, the industry itself was almost entirely built around out. And with sales of anti-aging skin care alone hitting $2.1 billion in 2013, business is good. Today, the market is saturated with creams and serums and masks and sprays and cleansing waters that all claim to lift and brighten and tighten. These products are even targeted directly to women in their twenties under the premise of “it’s never too early to start.”
Lastly, and some may argue most prevalent of all, we see youth and youth culture being put on a pedestal in mainstream media. Actors and actresses, musical acts and social media stars are all, in many ways, glamorizing prepubescence, or at the very least, popularizing an unrealistic body image that is near impossible to achieve in a healthy way. And in case you ever hoped to forget about our youth-obsessed culture, advertising alone will make sure you don’t. Just look at any American Apparel ad.
While it is possible to sit here and debate the merits of this particular aspect of our society for hours, that is not what we are here to do today. Rather, being the pragmatists we are, we realize that aging is an inevitable fact of life, and we also realize that the likelihood of you being unhappy about it is quite high. So while it is impossible to stop the aging process (the fountain of youth hasn’t be found; yet) there are things that you may be doing to prematurely speed up the process. What do you ask? Well, you’ll need to keep reading to find out.
We get it; few things feel as good as the warm sun on our faces and bodies; and with the summer months fast approaching, we are sure it is on a lot of people's minds. However, the reality is that sunbathing or tanning is one of the worst things you can do for your skin. Aside from the risk of cancer, excessive UV ray exposure weakens your skin cells and blood vessels, which causes that tanned, leathery look you see on people who've spent their entire lives outdoors. Interestingly enough, it can even make your skin more susceptible to bruising. But, it's not like you can avoid the sun forever, and besides, who would want to; so we what do you do?
Sunscreen. More specifically; all day, every day. And while we know this may seem a little on the obvious side, a recent four-year Australian study just officially confirmed what experts have long suspected: That the regular, daily application of sunscreen can fight wrinkles, reduce the risk of developing skin cancer, and keep your skin smooth and resilient.
Sunscreen, like anything in the world, can be used improperly. To maximize the benefits, use about 1 ounce (that's the size of a standard shot glass) of SPF 30 sunscreen for your entire body, with a nickel-sized amount for your face, and remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially on those hot summer days when you're constantly in and out of the pool.