Age Wise

Anti-Aging Advice Is Harmful Nonsense

You can’t prevent the inevitable, but here’s what you can do

Robert Roy Britt
Published in
4 min readMar 16, 2022

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Amid all the real problems in the world these days, a constant barrage of misleading and insidious anti-aging articles and advertisements frame “getting older” as a terrible yet somehow miraculously avoidable aspect of the human condition. They seek to get under your skin about that first wrinkle in your thirties, mess with your middle-aged mind over your totally normal propensity to forget where your keys are, or stoke vague fears at any age of being perceived as looking or acting “old.”

Here are just a few of the bonehead headlines I’ve spotted recently (sans links to spare you the temptation):

  • Anti-Aging Pills Are Real
  • Here’s How to Stop Aging, Experts Say
  • The Best Supplements That Reverse Skin Aging
  • The Anti-Aging Benefits of Berries
  • Anti-Aging Haircare Routine

Another gem, “The #1 Best Vegetable to Prevent Aging,” sits atop a story that debunks the promise in the very first sentence: “Let’s face it — there’s absolutely no way to stop the aging process.”

Exactly.

Anti-aging advice is getting really old

Science has never discovered any single fruit, vegetable, dietary supplement, cream, pill, or potion that can prevent or reverse aging. Even a basket of all those things won’t make you younger. (Okay, before I start a big argument: There have been studies that suggest such potential, but they remain unsupported by rigorous research.)

There simply is no such thing as an anti-aging elixir—though death is a solid remedy.

Headlines suggesting foods or creams or pills can halt or reverse aging send a false and unhealthy message, fomenting guilt and worry while urging purchases and other actions that set us up for disappointment when we look in the mirror after a year of loading up on kale, collagen, and turmeric while rubbing in ungodly expensive creams and conditioners, only to see a year-older self staring back with more gray hair, more wrinkles, more flab around the belly.

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Robert Roy Britt
Elemental

Editor of Aha! and Wise & Well on Medium + the Writer's Guide at writersguide.substack.com. Author of Make Sleep Your Superpower: amazon.com/dp/B0BJBYFQCB