“Anti-aging” products play on consumer fears, prompt negative reactions
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Study shows efforts to conceal age often fail, yet “graywashing is rampant” in the industry, warns International Council on Active Aging CEO Colin Milner
VANCOUVER--A recent study* reveals that older adults who use so-called “anti-aging” methods to conceal their age may not get the results they anticipate. Instead of admiration, those who use such methods—especially invasive techniques such as Botox and cosmetic surgery—are often viewed negatively by the younger people they may be trying to impress.
“Sadly, the findings are not surprising,” says Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA). “Boomers and their parents have helped turn ‘anti-aging’ into a multi-billion dollar business, fueling the idea that there’s something about growing older that needs fixing. And now we see from this study that people who use these methods may be viewed as vain—an indication that efforts at age concealment can backfire.”
The study findings should serve as “yet another warning to consumers to avoid graywashing,” asserts Milner, who coined the term shortly after the launch of ICAA’s Changing the Way We Age®
Campaign (www.changingthewayweage.com) in May 2011. Graywashing refers to “the act of misleading consumers regarding any purported age-associated benefits of a product or service.” Similar to greenwashing, graywashing gives older-adult consumers a false sense of security by positioning a product or service as uniquely beneficial to them.
“Graywashing is rampant, as companies increasingly try to cash in on the burgeoning older-adult market,” Milner states. “We know that nothing can stop or reverse aging, so by their very nature, anti-aging products are ineffective and a waste of money. People who buy into the ads for such products not only throw money away; they also risk being viewed negatively by others. That’s a high price to pay for trying to deny a simple fact of life.”
About the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA)
The International Council on Active Aging® is the professional association that leads, connects and defines the active-aging industry. ICAA supports professionals who develop wellness facilities, programs and services for adults over 50. The association is focused on active aging—an approach to aging that helps older adults live as fully as possible within all dimensions of wellness (i.e., physical, social, environmental, vocational, intellectual, emotional and spiritual)—and provides its members with education, information, resources and tools.
As an active-aging educator and advocate, ICAA has advised numerous organizations and governmental bodies, including the US Administration on Aging, the National Institute on Aging (one of the US National Institutes of Health), the US Department of Health and Human Services, Canada’s Special Senate Committee on Aging, European Commission, and the British Columbia ministries of Health, and Healthy Living and Sport.
ICAA has launched the Changing the Way We Age® Campaign (www.changingthewayweage.com), as part of the organization’s efforts to change perceptions of aging and overturn ageist stereotypes.
* Chasteen A L, Bashir N Y, Gallucci C, & Visekruna A (2011). Age and antiaging technique influence reactions to age concealment. The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences;
http://psychsocgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/07/11/geronb.gbr063.abstract [accessed August 25, 2011]
For interviews please contact:
Contact: Colin Milner, CEO, ICAA
Toll-free: 1-866-335-9777 (North America)
Telephone: 604-734-4466; cell: 604-763-4595
Contact: Marilynn Larkin
Communications Director, ICAA