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The latest TikTok trend points to Gen Z’s obsession with anti-ageing

With more social media users buying into the idea that perceived flaws must be dealt with before they’ve even begun, young people have turned their attention to a new product which promises to offset any future lip creases: a straw designed to prevent wrinkles.

It’s no secret that Gen Z is obsessed with anti-ageing.

Earlier this year, a 14-year-old went viral on TikTok for sharing a multi-step skincare routine with the sole focus of maintaining an entirely wrinkle-free complexion later down the line.

This, understandably, received widespread criticism on the Internet, with many vocalising fears that young people are feeling unnecessary pressure to conform to unattainable beauty standards.

Lambasting the ‘bleak’ nature of the industry and the increasingly harmful impact of social media on the self-esteem of impressionable Gen Zers, one Twitter user wrote at the time: ‘I hate how so many girls are losing their childhoods to social media and the beauty industry – there’s something so sinister about a 14-year-old obsessing over slowing down the ageing process.’

Unfortunately, the movement encouraging consumers with pocket money and a curfew to fixate on their appearance and buy into the idea that perceived flaws must be dealt with before they’ve even begun doesn’t seem to be abating any time soon.

This is because anti-ageing messaging remains rife on social media, the most recent example of this being a new product that’s taken TikTok by storm (leave it to the platform to introduce us to yet another thing we never knew we needed).

I’m referring here to straws which are designed to prevent wrinkles from forming around your mouth as you sip beverages, which thousands of netizens now swear are an essential addition to their anti-ageing arsenals.

Due to their shape – they curve horizontally rather than (god forbid) vertically at the top – the devices allegedly work by stopping the skin from folding, which occurs when using regular-shmegular sipping methods. To assist you with mustering up a mental image, I’d liken it to playing the flute. Anti Wrinkle Straw, Reusable Anti Wrinkle Drinking Straw Glass Straw, Lip Straw for Wrinkles, Set of 2 Anti Lip Wrinkle Straw and 1 brush : Health & Household

But I know what you’re thinking. Since when did young people start caring so much about the outcomes of their drinking habits?

As it turns out, a lot of Gen Zers have become concerned that their straw-usage might cause future lip creases after board-certified dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali told Allure, ‘when you use straws, you’re pursing your lips repeatedly, leading to the appearance of perioral wrinkles earlier.’

‘Although wrinkles do take years to form, if you’re using straws often you might see them around your mouth sooner as pursing your lips will trigger the breakdown of collagen and elasticity more quickly.’

Regardless of whether or not there’s scientific evidence to support this bizarre theory, however, you’d literally have to suck (pun intended) the fun out of life to avoid mouth wrinkles altogether, so I’d say there’s more to it.

Namely that, exposed to infinite images of supposedly ‘perfect’ faces and bodies online every single day, not to mention influencers that relentlessly promote cosmetic procedures, it’d be pretty difficult for Gen Zers not to get tied up in the notion that they should look as filtered as possible, with no deviation in tone or texture, nor with any pores or fine lines, for, well, ever.

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that the overarching consensus is that the trending products are simply yet another marketing ploy to make us feel negative towards our body’s natural ageing process, the last straw in beauty’s efforts to completely eradicate ‘imperfection,’ if you will.

‘Just know that if you ever see me drinking out of one of those anti-wrinkle straws, I have lost the fucking plot,’ says TikTok user @essiedennis. ‘This is what’s made me want to age even faster. I wanna be a witch living in a bog by the age of 40 with my wrinkly mouth.’

I can’t help but wholeheartedly agree.