‘Age is just a number’… ‘Age is how you feel’… ‘Behave and think younger’… So many statements like these are common today, and over the years our cosmetics industry has successfully taken advantage of people’s fears and anxiety when it comes to getting ‘old’. The process of ageing however, is a complicated one. While brands and product advertising focus on what we ‘see’, our health and how we ‘feel’ play very important roles, since ageing of the skin is also tied to ageing processes of our body in general. So, how do we see ageing skin today? What lessons have we learned from the past? What could the future hold?

During the last 35 years or so, the skin ageing category of the cosmetics industry has seen major developments in both the progress of scientific understanding of the skin as a vital organ of the body, as well as much success in selling the concept of ‘anti-ageing’ to consumers. The industry still sells a wide variety of consumer products to counter this natural process, to the point that visible ‘ageing’ is considered a horrifying prospect by many. The consequences and social impact of this litters the press, internet, and social media alike, with the global market value for so-called anti-ageing cosmetic products reaching a staggering 62.6 billion USD in 2021.

Understanding that skin ageing manifests itself through time, an individuals sex, an individuals ever-changing physiology, their external environmental exposure, and their internal environment, creates opportunities to see consumers as individuals rather than ‘check-boxes’. If we are to succeed in finally answering the needs that older women still feel are not being met, we have to take a closer look at “home, i.e., within our industry. We are failing miserably when it comes to consumer communication and still suffering from the age-old ‘fight’ between marketing-sales-advertising versus science-R&D-regulatory.

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