Why Do Asians Look So Young Sometimes? Or Most Of The Time?

It’s no secret many people of Asian ethnicity look younger beyond their years.

As I’ve written, sometimes this can be a blessing, and sometimes this can be an unwanted trait.

Some Asians hold umbrellas on sunny days in shaded cities to protect themselves from skin damaging UV-rays and maintain a youthful face. Photo: Replacing Ink.

Some Asians hold umbrellas on sunny days in shaded cities to protect themselves from skin damaging UV-rays and maintain a youthful face. Photo: Replacing Ink.

I’m sure many of us have wondered at some point, why, why on earth do Asians look so young? How do they do it? Interestingly enough, a number of Asian lifestyle attributes seemingly explains this Asians-looking-young phenomenon.

The typical Asian diet is arguably one reason why many Asians look young, much younger than Caucasians of the same age as them. A study by Melbourne’s Monash University found Greek-born Australians who consumed more green leafy vegetables, eggplant, garlic, dried fruits and less mono-unsaturated fat, milk and coffee had less skin wrinkling than those who had higher intakes of milk, processed meat, potatoes, cakes and pastries among Anglo-Celtic Australians who lived in sun-exposed places. The former foods are major components of Asian diets.

For instance, kai lan, bok choy, tofu and eggplant are very popular ingredients in Asian dishes. Preserved and flattened prunes, dates and mangoes are often a hit with many Asian tastebuds with countless shops in Asia solely dedicated to selling them. On the flipside, pasta and potato dishes are staples in the average Western diet. Cheesy ham pizzas, burgers, fish and chips and meat pies are also Western favourites, processed meat favourites. Milky, sweet coffees are widely available and gulped down multiple times in one day in the Western world too.

So perhaps the Asian diet does keep skin wrinkles at bay and Asians are eating their way to a younger them. Perhaps the Western diet makes one look more mature and that’s why Asians tend to look young compared to Caucasians around their age.

Secondly, an estimated 80% of South East Asians suffer from lactose intolerance and don’t stomach dairy products too well. Naturally, those who are lactose intolerant would usually avoid eating foods that are overly laden with cheese and heavily infused with butter and milk. Most likely these Asians stick with the normally low-dairy Asian diet, possibly lowering their chances of getting heaps of wrinkles all over their faces.

Asians’ obsession with pale skin is another valid reason why people of this ethnicity tend to look young. Some of them go to great lengths to look as fair-skinned as Caucasians. On sunny days, it is not uncommon to find Asians wearing wide-brim hats or holding umbrellas over their heads in shaded cities. These are vain attempts on their part to shield themselves from the sun – shielding themselves from UV rays which dry out skin and cause facial lines, freckles and sun spots on skin, making faces look darker and older.

Anti-aging, whitening beauty products are crazily lusted after by quite a number of Asians who believe these chemicals have the magic powers to make skin fairer and more supple, and more youthful looking. Maybe these products do actually work for some Asians.

Still in line with the idea of using artificial means to keep up young appearances, plastic surgery is frequently the answer to attaining youthful faces in Korea. This is especially so in the Korean entertainment industry where standardised forever-21 looks are all the rage. Many K-pop artists strive to look more Western, prettier with smooth and umblemished faces by going under the knife, inadvertedly ending up looking superficially, creepily, doll-like young.

Also, it is fair to say Asians’ generally small physical statures contributes towards their youthful facades. Some petite grown-up Asians are known to fit into kids’ clothing sizes. Sometimes in Western countries where scores of Caucasians vertically tower over them, short, pint-sized Asian adults are even mistaken as children or teenagers.

Exercise arguably contributes to Asians’ small frames. Additionally, studies have shown that exercising slows down the ageing process and reduces wrinkles. In Asian cities such as Singapore and Hong Kong, getting around on a daily basis usually involves taking public transport and walking a fair bit. There is the probability such constant physical body movements keep Asians in East Asia small and slim body-wise and also somehow stave off lines across their faces.

So at the end of the day, perhaps there is some science behind why many Asians often look younger than they actually are.

But there are also the odds that Asians are simply lucky and have some undiscovered “youthful gene” in them.

In a world where there are endless possibilities, this might just be so. Why not?

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103 thoughts on “Why Do Asians Look So Young Sometimes? Or Most Of The Time?

  1. Mostly, I am inclined to go with a biological argument. People of African descent also hold youthful looks longer than Caucasians and Asians. Additionally, I’d say brunettes tend to age better than blondes.

    That said, attitudes to getting a tan also play a part. In Australia, we generally value a tan, which means experiencing sun damage on our skin. Lots of east Asian women are a bit paranoid about tans to the extent some wear “facekinis” (kind of like a burqua for going for a swim.) I’ve also seen Chinese women walk down the street wearing face visors to protect their skin from the sun.

    • Many Australians do love the sun, the beach and most definitely a tan. Many also don’t mind getting freckles as a results of the sun. Somehow, I sense that freckles are regarded as beautiful by many Caucasians, but I may be wrong. I do like the sun myself and am not one of those Asians who go out shielding my face from the sun with an umbrella. But a lot of times I do find myself turning my face away from the sun because it’s just so bright and I am not a fan of wearing sunnies.

      • That reminds me, the relative absence of sunglasses in Asia was something I once wondered about. Why don’t you like sunnies? During summer, I feel naked without them. It’s just too bright that I need to squint.

        • Very true that in Asia you don’t see people wearing sunglasses too often. There seems to be a general feeling in Asia that one must be shady or some sort of gangsta if they don shades. I have a pair of wrap around sunnies and a regular pair. My face is small and a little asymmetrical, so sunnies and glasses don’t fit too well. I don’t like the feeling of having something on my face too. During summer, I have to agree it’s really bright unfortunately and I usually chuck on a cap to reduce the glare towards my eyes.

          • The reason why sunnies are not prefer in Asia is because, or perhaps, there isn’t a need to. This because, in Asia, there’s high humidity in the air and light travels through those molecules in the air. When the light passes through these tiny molecules, some of them are detracted causing the light to be dispersed from their straight path. Whereas, in Australia, the air is a lot drier and less humid, so there isn’t much molecules in the air. Therefore, the sun ray, in general, travels in a straight pattern or less detracted, so you would feel it so “bright” ant at times, blinding to our eyes. In addition, the colour of a Caucasian eyes are slightly different to Asian eyes. Their IRIS is generally and genetically varied in colours, hence, they a lot more sensitive to lights. Just science..!

      • come on. this is is only because asians tend to have more subcutaneous fat. simple as that. thats why they really look younger

      • Asians wearing goggles, because of protecting their eyes and forehead from crippling from the heat sun’s ultra violet rays UVR. Unknowingly that becomes Fashion.

    • Mabel, I like the article good job!
      Chicken or the Egg? Is it genetic because of the lifestyle, or is the lifestyle because of the genetics, or both. Are Asians smart because they study or study because they are smart.

      I’m married to a Chinese woman and when I first met her mom in Shanghai I thought, Wow she’s 60 years of age? looked about 35. For those that look young, I would say, they constantly take care of their skin, do all sorts of weird things to avoid the sun and eat a balanced diet. Who would of thought lol..Asian food isn’t always more healthier, Asians are more likely to suffer from hypertension or stroke because of their salty diet.

      Eat small portions, fruits and veggies, exercise and you’ll look like an Asian too.

      • “Chicken or the Egg” – perfect way to describe the context here, Cole. It could be because Asians have good genes, or because of their lifestyle that makes them look young. I think you make a valid point in saying that Asian food is high in salt. For example, many Asians pile on soy sauce on most of their foods: sushi, soups, dumplings, white ginger chicken etc. It definitely casts a shadow over the possible reason the Asian diet makes Asians look young.

        I love your last sentence – we can eat and exercise our way to look like an Asian :)

    • In Norway where I live, people generally are trying to soak up as much sun as they can during summer. This is because the body builds up a storage of vitamin D and melatonin, which is necessary to make it through the long, dark and cold winter.

    • Funny b/c I am a pale caucasian aged 43 years and I look no older than 35 and some think I am younger. I stay out of the sun, exercise and eat well (for the most part).

      • Thanks for sharing, Louise. Very interesting to hear, and you sound like you like it that you look younger than your years. Maybe you’re right, exercising, staying in the shade and having a good diet is the secret to looking young. It’s anyone’s guess :)

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  3. I’d agree that it’s both biological and lifestyle related. Can’t disagree with anything said here, and I myself am trying to consume more leafy greens, less dairy, less sun, and lots of exercise! I hope in the end it pays off…

  4. Thanks for writing this article! I didn’t know that diet is a prominent factor in reducing wrinkles. Even though I was raised in an Asian household, I crave snack foods and chocolate, my family eats fish and white rice(I hate white rice!) And isn’t eating too much white rice bad for you?

    Lol my family is Vietnamese and my mom looks super young for her age. Every time we go to the mall together everyone would think that we’re sisters.

    • Thanks for reading Pomegranate and glad you liked it! I love eating snack foods and chocolate too, especially the Western kind (e.g. chips, fries, M&Ms). Perhaps we should stop if we want to stay looking young. I like white rice (sushi!) and I believe it’s a good source of energy for the body but eating too much of anything is bad for us anyway. I’m sure it’s so fun when you go to the mall with your mum and everyone points out that the both of you are sisters :)

      • It’s not about looking young, it’s about staying healthy. I don’t wanna sound aggressive or negative, so please don’t feel offended, for that is not my intention; but I find Asians’ obsession with staying young and avoiding wrinkles (especially the women) to be rather disturbing. This should be about health, not limited to just how we look, and I have the impression that many Asian women are so frantically obsessed with wrinkles and holding onto their youth so desperately only for superficial reasons. Yeah sure, they say that they care about their health, but I think if they’re to be honest with themselves, it’s more about how they look and clinging to their youth (they care about health because they know it’ll keep them looking young, not because they simply want to stay healthy). Anyway, the reason why I am criticizing this is because I think that this obsessive ageist mentality is not healthy for people’s psyche and their self-esteem – I’ve seen Asians diss Caucasians, for example, for aging ”quick”; I’ve literally seen Asian women tell Caucasian women that they are ”worthless” (in the dating field, especially in East Asia) for looking mature at early ages and for aging early on. This sort of discrimination comes from ageist mentalities, and let me tell you something, it is incredibly dehumazining. And just think about how horrible it is to be made to feel less than human and worthless just because of some genetic traits and race, something you cannot change. People need to stop worshipping youthfulness so much and stop being afraid of aging and growing old. There is no shame in getting wrinkles, it’s just part of your natural process and no one should be shamed and put down for something like this. Anyway, as you already noticed, I have issues with this topic for some good reasons. The irony here is that I have genes that keep me young looking (late bloomer, I suppose) and I’m Caucasian, but I also help myself with a healthy diet (on my own, and the fact that I have a Chinese boyfriend whose family always stuffs us with yummy homemade Chinese food, this helps, too). But, after I’ve witnessed the stuff with the Asian women (and even some Asian men) acting down on other women who were of my race, my self-esteem went so low (despite that I’ve never been the target for that kind of put-down, thank goodness), that I’ve become absolutely obsessed with preventing myself from aging, and I hate it. I’m sorry for filling your page with negativity, but I feel that someone had to say it. All I’ve noticed is that this obsession with looking young in the East Asian cultures, especially among the women, is way beyond the ”Just for health reasons” threshold; it is ageism and sexism combined – because the men expect it, and because the women feel they have no other way with all the competition for marriage going on (and high demands and expectations of men). And to add another comment, someone said in the other comments that they wanna eat their way into looking Asian. No, they should feel content with who they are and what race they are. No one should strive to do things in order to look like a certain race. They should eat healthy for themselves, for a healthier them, not to look Asian. A healthy body doesn’t equal Asian, that’s discriminative; a healthy person is a healthy person, let’s not encourage selective stereotypes. Anyway, sorry for the long message, and I’m sorry if I sounded a bit self-righteous. That’s just my opinion, of course – not trying to impose it on anyone.

        • You have a very good point there, Gianna. Sometimes I myself don’t understand why so many Asians are so obsessed with getting rid of tans and wrinkles. It’s refreshing to hear you speak out on this “ageism mentality” and how it can amount to discrimination – and thank you for that, this adds a very interesting dimension to this topic of looking youthful. I agree with you we should be – or at least learn to be – content with who we are. One day we will all get wrinkles and lines on our faces, no doubt about it. In this world, we are all people. Health is a very important part of our lives (believe me, I get sick all the time and wish I had a healthier body). With a youthful face, all we may usually get is confidence and compliments from others. We may smile a lot to show off our young pretty faces. But without health, I don’t think we can be truly confident in front of people and be happy.

      • Never mind the idiot, genetics doesn’t actually mean anything when just saying it. It is such a vague and broad term that it’s pointless.
        It comes from a massive ignorance of actual nutrition, people don’t know what health is anymore they think surgeons have their back when it comes to nutrition most are in a slow state of decay redigesting their own body due to malabsorption in the gut and spewing out things they cant digest properly with high and low stomach acidity.

        Asians use traditional medicine constantly at every meal, it deeply nourishes the organs, they are less likely to poison them self with drugs, they eat whole food constantly, koreans and japanese constantly eat fermented foods and kelp/laver this is GI, stomach and parathyroid health empowering connective tissue with what is needed.
        They have family ties and support. This is vital to health, if a person thinks they cant support them self the body thinks so to and it starts to go haywire.
        Genetics are simply an expression of external stimuli. You can either empower a cell with the right ingredients or have degenerative malnourished cells. Most countries kid themself that they are getting what they are required by eating in line with monstrosities like the food pyramid.
        The high meat meat diet now that westerners have had for years has been generationally weakening them. If the Asians continue to strive to eat this garbage diet they will start to go down the same path looking older then they should.
        As much as people want to deny it, it is known that animal products destroy galndular function and kidney function in combination with sulfa drugs the lymphatic system is completely hampered. There is also the trend of fat and calories being pushed in asian countries too, more selling of cheap vegetable oil poisons. Is quite dispicable.

        It’s a matter of generational damage caused by food and adaptation, adaptation is not something done for the best its done for efficiency.
        The skin the largest organ is simply not getting the proper nourishment in the western world through diet. However you take a look at celebrities with their nutritionists on hire, that arent dumbasses that follow commercial interest. These vegans whole foods are all incredibly young looking. Just go sit at the poor families dinner table and see how much is vegetable and how much is meat, you will see where the problem comes from right there. The healthier person will be having the vegetables and not having the kidney stones and gland disorders.

        Asians that change country and eat the food there often quickly become obese and breakout, the soils dont have the same nutrients.
        Vital ones to keeping nourished are those in the detoxification process of methylation. Australian soil lacks selenium magnesium our foods lack boron, zinc, iodine, flavinoids.
        These are required to detox heavy metals and kill pathogens along with vitamin d3, if these are not available they actually cause us to pull heavy metals into the body.
        Milk is a straight up poison. That they know they cant digest it keeps them away from it more, You find an asian drinking a lot of milk on a standard western diet you find an old looking asian, one taking a lot of drugs will be old as well, binge drinking, smoking and so on.

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  6. It has to do with skin and facial features.
    Asians look more young because they have thicker skin, Caucasians have thin skin (almost see through and because of this you can see many problems, roscea redness, freckles, dark circles, blues and greens veins, broken capillaries etc) their skin ages faster. As humans age, they lose baby fat, the loss of fat in a face shows that you are aging! Your cheeks, your lips, everything! Asians tend to hold onto those with a more plumps youthful face. Caucasians tend to look more “jawy” if you will. I also think it has to do with facial features as asians have smaller features, and caucasians bigger (unless they have had nose reductions etc)

    I’m 26 asian and people think i look 18. I look very random hanging out with my high school buddies who i grew up with (they are caucasian) they dont party or do drugs or anything, lovely girls, but i think it’s just genetics. I think caucasian girls prime is normally around 15-18. Where asians is 19-28 (it’s much longer)

    • I’ve never thought about this before, thanks so much for bringing up the fact that Asians seem to have thicker skin and that this makes them look younger. I notice many Caucasians tend to have high but hollow cheekbones, and so as you put it tend to look “jawy”. They also tend to have more hollow or sunken eyes, which usually leads to more dark circles and fine lines around the eyes.

      Haha, I laughed when you say you look very “random” hanging out with your Caucasian buddies. I feel the same way a lot of the times too :)

      • Hi,

        I think it’s mostly about fat-distribution on the face- Asians tend to have rounder faces with fatty deposits under the eyes. The wider cheeks keep the face youthfully full looking and the under eyes don’t form wrinkles like differently shaped eyes. I don’t think the characteristic skin fold above the eyes do much, since they tend to sag before other eye shapes. As far as body shapes go, Asian women typically don’t develop larger busts or hips, instead keeping a young teenage-like shape which naturally makes them appear younger. I’m not aware of anything in the typical Asian diet that has youthful benefits; however, lifestyle-wise, the pripensoty toward lighter skin keeps facial skin from wrinkling earlier than other light-skinned races. So, in my opinion it’s 1) face shape and fat distribution, 2) youthful body shape/shortness and 3) the general desire on Asian culture to be light-skinned. It’s not very mysterious.

        • Very rational thinking, Zelma :) I do notice many Asians, especially Asian girls, have less hollowed eyes, and a lot of time I see Asian girls with thick, fat eye-bags. And so true that many Asian girls are petite and have slender frames that don’t make them appear “womanly” in certain places, but more child-like. Maybe hair styles have something to do with it too. I see a lot of Asian girls with straight hair and many Caucasian females with curly/wavy hair – I reckon curly/wavy hair makes one look more matured and older. But really, this is just my opinion.

  7. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague
    who had been doing a little homework on this. And he actually ordered me lunch due to
    the fact that I found it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this….

    Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to discuss this
    matter here on your blog.

    • Thank you for reading and sharing, and it’s very nice and generous of your friend to order you lunch for showing this to him. I hope he found this post insightful. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why Asians look young a lot of the time – there are many possible, speculative reasons that all sound reasonable.

    • Googled this, and yes you’re right, eating soybean might make us look younger :) Come to think of it, Asians love drinking and consuming soy products, especially soyabean milk and tau fu fa or douhua, or soybean pudding.

    • Actually, there has to be a balance between estrogen and progesterone for keeping ourselves young-looking. Too much estrogen will actually have the opposite effect (age you). Progesterone plays an equally important role in skin-health. Also, it is known that Asian women tend to naturally have less estrogen than Caucasian women, and as a matter of fact, Western diet is full of estrogen. Eating soybeans and other soy products alone won’t help much. I think that in the end, Asians’ neoteny is a result of long-term evolution and traditional lifestyle of their ancestors, not so much as food. Sure, food and lifestyle do help overall, but if you don’t have the genes to back it up, you won’t get too much of a difference. It’s because of the climate, geographical position, lifestyle, diet and health practices, beauty rituals, the practice of martial arts, meditation and their mentality, the tea culture, amazing traditional ancient medicine, all of these things that the ancestors did, helped shape up the looks and genes that present-day Asians have and enjoy and boast about. If you would look carefully, the Asians who grow up in Western cultures (therefore, are more prone to adopting a Western diet and lifestyle), look more mature and older than Asians in Asia, even if they still MAY look younger than their Caucasian peers (the ones in Western countries I mean). My perspective, anyway. :)

  8. I don’t understand what wanting to be pale has to do with wanting to look Caucasian. Most American whites have equal or darker skin than people in countries like Korea. Besides Scandinavians, Caucasians are medium or dark skinned. Even so, Caucasian skin tends to have a translucent quality that shows more color, making them look even less “white”. Pale skin has been ideal long before common contact with westerners, it’s just western pride that propagates the stereotype.

    Similarly with the surgery, the logic behind it is silly, nose reduction is illogical as whites have larger noses than Asians, getting surgery for single eyelids makes no sense because whites, especially the ones with the whitest skin(Which Asians are supposedly emulating) have thinner eyelids than other races, as well a larger percentage of single and hooded eyelids, second only to Asians themselves.

    I can’t really recall any real surgical attempts to look Caucasian on the part of Asians, they never get surgery for larger nose, lowered cheekbones or have their hair thinned.

    Anyhow, for the Age, it’s all of those things I just mentioned that contribute. It isn’t that Asian age better, it’s just that Caucasians age worse. When people age their lower faces get less prominent, making their brows look deeper, their noses grow, as well as their ears, the lips thin out, you lose pigmentation in your skin, hair, and eyes, hair thins out, Jawline weakens, etc. What do all of those features have in common? They are all Caucasian features, so you see, Asians age normally, blacks age slowly, and whites age fast.(Not to say that your theories aren’t valid as well, I just have to disagree with the notion that Asians get surgery to look white.)

    • In a lot of countries in Asia, it’s sunny all round and those here get tanned very easily. From my time in Malaysia and Singapore, a large proportion of those I knew had medium to dark skin, and every time a Caucasian walked past, it was very obvious that they are much “whiter” – or just less tanned and “burnt” – than us Asians.

      In a bid to look more Caucasian, in my opinion many Asians choose to go under the knife to mimic the contours of Caucasians’ physical features. For example, though Caucasians might have bigger noses, their noses tend to be more sharp and pointed at the tip than Asian noses, Asian noses that most of the time are relatively flat and blunt. In Asia, “golden” or “blonde” dyed hair is extremely popular in recent times. No idea why this is so, but you can say that perhaps they lust after Caucasians’ blonde hair. So hence the argument of Asians trying to change their appearances to look white.

      I agree there is some truth to the argument that Westerners age faster than Asians. Different bone structures and skin react different to the aging process, so maybe that’s why Asians tend to look younger than Caucasians at certain ages.

      • I have to side with Raymond on this issue. (I also disagree only with the wanting to look white part).
        Malaysians and Singaporeans tend to be tanner because they live closer to the equator, where there is more sun exposure. Up in colder, northern climates (or just places farther from the equator), there is less sun exposure, and thus people are lighter. Many Asians who live much farther north are very white. (The same goes for Europeans: people up north have fairer skin than southerners.) Also, some people like LIGHTER skin because they associate lighter skin to mean more wealth (poorer people work out in the sun and tan, while rich people can stay in the house away from the sun.) So yeah, it’s just culture. They’ve found this pattern to occur in villages even where people have not been exposed to white culture (or anything similar).

        Yes, Asians like dying their hair blonde. But they also like dying them white, pink, red, blue, purple, etc, and even brown or — black!! No preference. Most people have been dying their hair anyways. Anyways, said Asians are possibly following trends set by idols, and (young) idols tend to specialize in making bold fashion statements.

        As for the Asian nose jobs? They’re trying to suit THEIR image of an ideal nose. If you check out Korean nose jobs for example, you’ll see that the final image is FAR from the image of an ideal Caucasian nose. Like for example, the ideal Korean nose tends to be less pointed that that of a White? They have different notions of ideal beauty. (Koreans are just one example; other groups may differ. Same goes for Caucasian subgroups, and other subgroups.) So hence the argument of Asians trying to change their appearances to look white: disproved.

        The whole world ain’t trying to copy whites. Think about how much the typical person in white-dominated areas knows about everything going around in the world. Why would one expect people outside his world to know and love everything about his?

        • A good argument here, Penny. Haven’t really thought about the Asians dying their hair and looking young thing, thanks for bringing that up. By following bold fashion statements and dying their hair in the colour that is trendy right now, some Asians can give off the impression that they a youthful person keeping up with what’s hip with the young crowd.

          True that everyone has different notions of ideal beauty. Some Asians might not find long, sharp Caucasian noses attractive – after all, I have heard many Asians say they find Caucasians’ noses massive and hence unattractive. Maybe the small(er) Asian nose makes Asians younger. But really, it’s a matter of perception.

  9. On pictures they do look younger thanks to a lot of… photoshop and blurring, as well as making the picture whiter ?
    I lived in Bangkok and I often got shocked by the difference between my friends’ pictures and reality, it’s like 90% of them retouch their pics, look like model on Facebook but in real… they were just average people.
    I also took pics in those photo studio where they are used to make themselves look whiter, and I appeared ghostly white as i’m of a nordic type.

    Apart from that, this is something you would think when not used to being among asian people, but submerged in an asian population, they just have different looks than caucasians or black or latin, with rounder faces etc.. like Zelma mentionned. But I do noticed people who just turned 30 and had skin problems etc…

    I’d say they have thicker skin, which makes it won’t wrinkle so easily maybe ?
    But it tends on the other end to be oily, causing other sort of problems such as you can notice on their cheeks.

    PS: I don’t really agree with the exercise part as this is typical of any big cities.
    You shall actually see the “bicycle parks” in scandinavian countries, so many people uses bicycle !

    • Ah, good old Photoshop! Can’t disagree with you there that it has a scary potential to make everyone of us look 16. Good lighting and lots and lots of makeup are also other factors that make us look young. Oh dear, what an experience you must have had in the photo studio :/ Perhaps in the eyes of the photographer or editing person, you looked great “nordic”.

      Asians and Caucasians definitely look different, and a lot of the time this is due to different facial feature shapes/contours and skin colour. Maybe Asians have more collagen and so that’s why wrinkles don’t appear so soon. Good point on the exercise bit. Here in Melbourne, there is a big cycling community and many Australians cycle to work, a good dose of exercise right there. Then again, the sun in Western countries tends to be harsher than those in Asian countries. Cyclists’ faces are often exposed to the wind and sun, so maybe they have a tendency to look older than those in Asia. But really, why Asians look young and Caucasians older is anyone’s guess.

  10. I’m a 26-year-old female, 75% white/25% Japanese. Though I look pretty “white,” people generally think I’m anywhere from 17 to 22-years-old. While I am pescatarian who has always worn sunscreen on my face (I hated my freckles growing up) I think the reason I appear younger is due largely in part to some of my Asian features, i.e., smaller eyes, fuller cheeks, and a petite frame.

    This is just my theory – I’m definitely no expert! It’s very interesting to see what others have to say on the subject.

    • Yes, definitely! As people of Asian descent, we tend to have small body frames, small eyes, etc. and these features do make us resemble children or young people. Maybe your Japanese heritage really does comes through strongly and that’s why you look young :) Diet could be another factor in why some of us look younger than others, but this has yet to be scientifically proven on a large scale. There are some comments below this post that offer insightful opinions on this topic too.

    • Funny thing is, I am Eastern European and don’t know of any Asian lineage in either of my family sides, but I look at least part Asian, especially when I dye my hair dark. I look nothing like anyone in my family and I feel it is time for me to get a DNA test done to see whatever the hell it is lurking in my bloodline. lol I have same traits as you described.

      But to be more serious now, I really hate how you people talk about the Caucasian race and features as though they’re ugly, and as though it is a bad thing to have Caucasian features. Really? Are you guys sure you don’t deep down hate us?

      • No…I really don’t think all Asians reckon Caucasian features are ugly. Caucasian features are simply different compared to Asian features. I think many Asians are fascinated with this difference and so keep on pointing at them and dissecting them…but I think they mean good. Everyone is beautiful :)

    • I have to disagree here. It’s big eyes that resemble children. Not small eyes. But the small body frames yes.

  11. It’s genetics. East Asians actually age slower. Blacks and Indians have longer pregnancy terms than whites than EAs. EA babies walk the latest. EAs hit puberty the latest. EA hit intellectual peak the latest. EA women hit menopause the latest. Controlling for country, EA-Americans have a life expectancy of 86.5 years. So, EA live about a decade longer. EA don’t just look younger, they actually ARE younger at every age. I’m not discounting other factors, but you can’t ignore the #1 reason, genetics.


    • Genetics arguably can play a factor in why Asians tend to look younger than other races. It would be great to see a comprehensive study done on this on Asians and non-Asians alike. Maybe some of us are born lucky with certain “youthful” genes.

      • Chicken before egg? I don’t know, it’s anyone’s guess really! No, I never get tired of responding. Compared to other blogs, my blog doesn’t get that many comments, so I guess that’s why. Always fun to hear what others think about the topics I write – and we can all learn from one another. I usually set aside time once every few days to read them all and respond to them. Thanks for stopping by and reading, burlesonpickers :)

  12. Hi, I’ve been in China for some times now ( I know China does not represent the whole Asia ) and I don’t think people here look younger than their age, actually, they look older. I don’t really know the reason of this, poor diet, smoke to much or else, but they look unhealthy and don’t live long. I’ve never been in Japan or Korean but I do know Japanese have one of the longest human life span.

    • That sounds interesting. This could be a sign of changing times. Come to think of it, when people look unhealthy or sick for one reason or another, their faces and bodies tend to sag, and this can make them look older than they are. You’re right in that it could be poor diet or smoking on the Chinese’s part.

      • Thanks for taking the time to read the comments and respond to them. I don’t know how old you are but you certainly look young. Take care.

        • Thanks, and thanks for stopping by again, Abarouge. I love responding to comments – agreeing or disagreeing with me – as they always give me something to think. I am young and I have a lot to learn from what everyone has to say.

  13. The reason is called melanin it’s that simple. Melanin absorbs the sun lack of it reflects the sun. Africans age the slowest followed by South Americans then Asians, the light the person in skin clolour the quicker they normally age…..It is what it is no point complicating the matter. Go and research melanin, the power of melanin and the history of it too

  14. And all this wanting to look white, well that’s called self hate, bought on by white people who hated the black colour and so done everything in their power to make it look bad dirty lower class. What is worse is that the Asians in their bid to please are the ones bleaching out their skin in order to gain the white peoples respect forgetting that in doing so you are also denying and disrespecting your ancestors who you received your melanin from. Now black girls are bleaching their skin all because the white people made it look bad….That’s jealousy for you….Learn to love you colour don’t be a self hater and don’t promote skin bleaching or colourism which has been plaguing us for too long

    • That’s a very interesting explanation as to why Asians tend to look young. Maybe Asians do have higher amounts of melanin within their cells, their bodies being able to “process” sun more efficiently and that’s why they get tanned easily and so look young beyond their years. Whereas on the other hand, Westerners tend to have less melanin and so their skin burns and drys more easily, aging faster.

      I’m one of those against anti-skin bleaching. It is sad that some Asians lust after pale skin and go to extremes, skin bleaching to achieve this. Who knows how bad this really is (will it cause skin problems in the future? Most likely given the all the chemicals involved in the bleaching process). Definitely agree with you that We should all love the colour of our skin.

  15. Your post as well as the comments are very informative. I am from Philippines and almost every girl wants to achieve the “porcelain skin”. I think it has to do with tue society and media. All celebrities are fair skinned and endorse whitening products as well. People’s mentality is, you look younger and prettier if your skin is fair. I myself admita that I would love to have a fair skin. I now live in UK for 4 years and for the first time in my life lot of people admired my naturally tanned skin and I would jokingly tell them I wouldn’t mind swapping with their white skin. I never used to wear skirt or short in PH, sad i know, just because I felt I didn’t have the right to wear them as I was darker than anyone else. I gained confidence to wear them here in UK as everyone was jealous of my skin!
    When i was still in PH I was a lot darker as i was exposed more to the sun but when I came here, I noticed that my skin looks healthier maybe because of less exposure to the sun. I think one of the most damaging factor is the exposure to the sun. My mom who was always exposed to the sun plus never applied sunscreen during her younger years looks really old with her age plus she have dark skin. However, I think it would make a bit of difference if she was fairer.
    To become whiter, a lot of people are having not just surgery but injecting themselves the very popular whitening stuff called Glutathione. It can be taken in capsules but since they want faster results, they are doing it now by sublingual spray or IV. Lot of them also go for intensive chemical peel. Because of its popularity, companies have added it to soap, deodorant, lotion, creams, you name it.
    As with hair, Filipinos are mad about hair straightening or most popularly called Hair rebonding. This makes the hair super straight, sleek and shiny. Almost every salon in PH offer this service. With hair color going blonde or light brown, I think it is the effect on the face as well. If your color is light tan or fair, light browns make the face looks glowing and healthier. I actually went from always having black hair to light brown and it really gave this glow effect on my face.

    • Thank you for your nice words, Jen. “People’s mentality is, you look younger and prettier if your skin is fair”. I think you’ve summed it up nicely about how a lot of people in Asia think about skin colour and its so-called relationship with beauty. I do notice that a lot of celebrities endorsing products in Asia are Western celebrities with fair skin; maybe this puts pressure on local Asian celebrities to look as white as possible when marketing products and services. I remember when I was living in Malaysia and Singapore, my parents never ever put on sunscreen when venturing outdoors – and on most days here the sun is very hot. I do notice a lot of the eldery in Asia have tanned skin with dark patches (sun spots?) that do make them look very old, as you mentioned.

      Come to think of it, I rarely see sunscreen being advertised on television in Asia. In contrast, here in Australia we see them on television all the time. But then again, the sun is much harsher and damaging to our skin here in Australia as we have a very thin ozone layer over us.

      Never heard of Gluthathione, thanks for sharing. The capsule, spray and IV ways of consuming the product to make your skin whiter sounds very…chemically taxing for the body. Who knows what goes into this stuff and whether is has unproven, undiscovered side effects.

      Good suggestion with the hair. Personally I think curls or wavy hair on ladies – especially at the ends of your hair – makes them look older by at least a few years. I personally like my hair straight, and I’m lucky that it’s naturally straight with a few frizzes here and there :)

  16. When I’m walking with my brother, Asians always think I’m the older sister whereas I’m the younger one. But when Caucasians see me, they still think I am a first year university student. Maybe each culture sees different races differently? I think in some aspects that it is true some Asians want to achieve a Caucasian look, I know some Asians feel really happy and complimented when someone says they look Eurasian (whereas in actual fact they don’t have any European admixture). Is it inferior-complex or self-esteem issues? As with skin colour, all shades are beautiful. Very sad that people go through lengths to change it no matter what the reason is.

    In India the paler you are the ‘higher class’ you are. The darker skin you have you are considered a lower class citizen. I think people need to be taught that all skin colours, shade and tone are beautiful and people should not be judged by the colour of their skin.

    I agree, some people are really crazy about wanting to stay forever young. I think people are missing the point that you are as young as you feel. I know in China when you past a certain age (I think it’s 25) you are automatically deemed too old for the dating scene and you are considered a ‘left-over’ that no one wants to buy off the shelf.

    I’ve always wondered how Asians maintain a small frame when rice is in our main diet. When I buy clothes in China, everything is too small for me! And mind you I am not plump or anything. I remember I was in a clothes shop in a Southern part of China called Nanchang (Jiangxi province) and the lady told me to go shop in Northern China where the Chinese people are typically taller and bigger. Southern Chinese diet consists of more rice yet they typically have a smaller frame…

    Some Caucasians do age slow and gracefully (check out Russian President Vladmir Putin).

    Great post Mabel! I forgot to comment on this one and had been meaning to do it a while ago :)

    • Yeah, maybe different cultures perceive the relationship between looks and age differently. Very interesting you mention that some Asians feel happy when someone tells them they look Eurasian, or look a little Caucasian. Some of my paler Asian friends have been accused of just this and don’t seem upset of mind this at all. It really could be either inferior-complex or self-esteem issues. They could be simply delighted at this appearance compliment, or this compliment could be feeding their perception that “being Caucasian is beautiful”.

      I think a lot of the time small frames have to do with small bones. Those with smaller bones tend to generally have smaller muscles – unless they eat an exceptional lot every day of course. Or it could be due to Asians having high metabolism or stress levels. The latter is quite believable since in many parts of Asia there is a ruthless long hour work culture).

      “I think people are missing the point that you are as young as you feel.” Well said. It’s our choice: we can moan about getting old and getting wrinkles, or jump about smiling and proclaiming that we’re never too old to do anything. I will feel forever 12 years old in my heart :)

  17. I thought it was common knowledge that asians age slower until they reach about 40 then quickly age very rapidly practically over night..white people tend to age much more gracefully from their 40’s.

    • Yeah, from a certain age Asians do start to look their age. I guess it’s the same with everyone else. Maybe Asians have some special gene that makes them look young until their middle-aged or something like that.

  18. I work with Asians all the time. I have to say that Koreans age very well, or should I say lack of age thereof. There’s this Korean who’s 40 and I didn’t know, so he asked me how old do you think I am, and I answered 32. He said thanks but I’m 40. The problem is even though he’s told me he’s 40 I still think of him as a 32 year old dude. His got more hair than I ever had (i’m 30 – eastern european). Not sure if it’s just the diet , it does help, but at 30 i’m noticing my jaw is losing the baby fat that make young man look like boys. I’m getting the typical ragged looks now. But he at 40 is sort of barely getting that kind of look. It’s amazing what someone else mentioned , it’s not that they look younger, they ARE younger.

    • Yeah, maybe it’s because of diet, or Asians have some sort of special gene in them that makes them age well, or young for a considerable part of their years. I was going to say that maybe it’s make-up that makes your colleague look young, but then you referred to him as a ‘he’, so I presume this isn’t an explanation in this instance (or it could be, I don’t know).

  19. I think that this post explains the reasons why asians generally look much more younger really well, but asians generally want paler skin because it is what they think is pretty, not because they favor the western look. My asian friend says that she gets a bit annoyed when people ask her why asians want to look paler like a westerner. As far as I know, quite a lot of eastern asians generally have pale skin with a yellowish peach tint like japanese and koreans. Many eastern asians also generally look younger because the general society believes that being young and pretty is not something they could do, but something they must and this pressures them into buying products which keeps their face young, eating food that allows them to be thin, and in worst cases, getting plastic surgery. In South Korea, for example, quite a lot of clothes shops are one size fits all so you are pressured into becoming thinner to be able to wear those clothes. Media also influences asians greatly.

    I have noticed, though, that quite a lot of asians don’t look quite so young, especially if they live outside of Asia. There are the majority who look youthful, but when they hit their 40s, they start looking so much more older… Asian men and women also generally tend to wear makeup even though it is sometimes unnoticeable so that may be one reason. Great post, by the way.

    • Thanks, Kath. I think you’ve made a very sharp observation there with Asians living outside of Asian not looking that young after a certain age. Assuming these Asians live in Western countries, they may look older because of higher and more dangerous sun exposure and this eventually plays a part in making them look older at some point. Or it could be a less-than-Asian diet they may follow living outside of Asia that plays a part in this.

      There’s definitely the mentality that “looking young and pale is beautiful” in Asia. As you mention, beauty and anti-aging products are of abundance here. They’re shown practically night on TV. I didn’t know that in South Korea that a lot of clothes come in one size, thanks for that. I’m assuming that these “one size” clothes are small. However, I’ve heard that this is not the case with online Asian retailer Yesstyle.com. Word of mouth is that a lot of their one-size clothing are huge :)

  20. FACT: Caucasians carry recessive genes. Blond hair blue eyes descend from one common ancestor. Melanin is the key factor in skin tone thats a scientific fact. Diet and lifestyle to assist healthy living is key but will not change your aging rates that is purely genetics and melanin. Go research it yourself. If you want an in depth clarification that addresses this on a deeper level watch “HiddenColors”

    • Each race carries different genes, so yeah, perhaps genetics and melanin contributes to the aging process differently for different races. Hidden Colours sounds like an interesting documentary. I’ll check it out if I have some time to get my hands on it :)

  21. Ah, you mentioned the Asian obsession for fair white skin and I am reminded of the lengths some people I knew went to peel of the layers of darker skin to have that rosy Caucasian like complexion. In the Philippines where I came from, whitening products, from soaps to creams, were very popular, and so was whitening facial treatments from the salons. To help gain the fair skin goal, the sun was avoided like the plague and umbrellas were favored accessories. On the other hand, whether one wanted fairer skin or not, I think that umbrellas are a necessity because too much sun and heat do cause big headaches. In that note, how I wish that umbrellas are as popular here in the US as in the Philippines because it does get truly hot here at summertime. One time, I used an umbrella to ward off the sun, my husband laughed at me.

    • Thanks for sharing about the skin-whitening phenomenon in the Philippines. It seems that a lot of countries in Asia share this same mentality. I’ve never heard of anyone deliberately peeling off their skin so that new, white skin will surface. Maybe that’s why there are so many facial masks around in Asia – helping Asians exfoliating their skin.

      Tell your husband not to laugh at you! Umbrellas are a lovely thing! They’re not really that popular too here in Melbourne – people usually bring them out on rainy days unfortunately. I’m a big fan of colourful umbrellas and umbrellas that have a cloud/blue sky design underneath it…so when you look up at the umbrella, you see a nice sky!

  22. The idea that sunlight is damaging to our health is insane. Think about it logically, If sunlight so such a lethal thing, there wouldn’t be life on planet Earth would there? How do you suppose human beings survive 2 millions years on Planet Earth without the luxury of Umbrella and Sunscreen???

    In the last 100 years our culture turned into INDOOR society. The average city dwellers are getting nowhere near 10% of daily Vitamin D requirement from Sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency is the root cause of so many illnesses, even Cancer.

    The Cancer industry is a multi-Billion profit generating entity, from cancer treatment, sunscreen, etc…
    The Sun is an Integral part of nature as human is, Nature does not make mistake, Humans do…

    • That is a good point. Moderate exposure to sun is the way to go, especially to soak up some Vitamin D which is good for the bones and in the prevention of osteoporosis. So we really shouldn’t be too afraid if we step out into the sunlight without sunscreen or an umbrella once in a while.

  23. Being white is a standard of Beauty in many Asian cultures, especially Chinese and Korean.
    Asian women are so afraid being dark skinned, they walk around with umbrella to shield themselves from the sun.

    Vanity out of control. It’s insane!

    • “Vanity out of control”. I love that. Very apt way of putting how some people won’t leave house without an umbrella, an umbrella to block the sunlight from their faces even when it’s overcast.

  24. hmmm. I bike a lot and yes, it’s affecting my skin even with enough sunblock. Oh well. I keep on riding. But I don’t swim, so other parts aren’t affected. (yes, sun is damaging..)

    Here’s my theory…myself and 5 other siblings probably had slightly oiler skin when we were teens. Over time, that’s an advantage later in life. A lot of senior Asians don’t get the wrinkly crepey face skin until they are into their 70’s and beyond. I honestly think for some folks it’s skin texture and amount of natural oil in your skin.

    And that’s genetic for sure unless one uses moisturizers faithfully.

    • The sun is no doubt damaging but at the same time if it were that dangerous, I think we would all have been fried by now. Oily skin and looking young. That is a very feasible theory indeed, never thought about it myself and thanks for bringing that up. I do notice that a lot of older Asians get dark patches or brown sun spots on their faces as they age. They look like huge freckles but they aren’t freckles. Could be due to sun exposure, could be due to skin aging. It’s anyone’s guess as everyone’s body and skin are different.

  25. I think you had it well covered. My husband used to say, if you are health, you’d look young :) I think that the skin texture is genetic, but still needs some care. Thank you, Mabel!

    • Your husband is a wise man. I think when we’re healthy, our face lights up and radiates, making us look happier and so younger. Thanks for reading, Amy. Really appreciate it, thank you :)

  26. With the looks of it, its not the asians in general you are tackling. Asians are not just chinese, japanese or even koreans (south east asians ) Well I was hoping too to know the other asian countries as well,…..

    • That is so true. Asians are not just Chinese but Koreans, Japanese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese and so on. I didn’t specifically talked about Chinese and looking young in the post…but could’ve been more specific about tackling each race and their odds of looking young. Thanks for stopping by, Ger.

      • sharing a thought I come from a country where there are many half Chinese and half my culture and it is a every day saying with people of my culture that yes they look young because they are half Chinese. I am not being racist but this has been said for centuries in my country. i have experienced that Chinese or half Chinese people in my country like to eat lots of vegetables. They are hard working people and do anything to survive selling vegetables and simply working from their own hands for money. I must say that it is genetic it is the way they are and I do adore them for such hard working people and the love of vegetables. They are not selfish people they are just gifted with their youthful looks maybe it’s from their hard work, gardening and eating healthy. But I often wonder is this it,or is it something else, are they made to look young or is it truly their diet and their hard working where they are exercising their bodies and become healthy. I am still wondering why .

        • Those are very good observations, Mona. It really can be due to genes or the diet of Chinese people that make them look young. Yes, many of them are indeed hardworking, taking on any kind of job – say in a factory, in a paddy field, restaurant, office – to support themselves. Many students in Asia are obsessed over working hard at school and getting good grades. And maybe because they are so focused on working to make a living, they don’t worry too much about their looks; they worry less. Sometimes when we worry, lines cross our face and we “pull our faces down” in a furrowed manner, to loosely put it. So maybe that’s another reason explaining why Asians look young.

  27. You’re kind of wrong on the Asian women go to great lengths to have a skin like those of Caucasians. Asian women love fair skin… not caucasian skin. Because Asian women, specially those in the northern area like Korea, Japan, China and even Russia have naturaly fair skin. They don’t like “Caucasian Skin” because it’s prone to wrinkles and redness. They don’t like that. They want doll-like porcelain glowing skin. And doll-like porcelain glowing skin is not the same Caucasian skin

    • That’s a good point. Some Caucasians don’t have fair skin and in fact can be as tanned pr dark as Asians. Perhaps Asians are lusting after light coloured skin, as you’ve mentioned. It really is anyone’s guess. Thanks for stopping by, Janella.

  28. Unless those people have the lesser rings to keep them look younger,they don’t like sunlight although they can withstand it.

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  30. The biggest effect on ageing seems to be the type of food and quantity. Have a look at asians in Western style countries or asians who eat western food , they have the same ageing problem and weight .

    • That is a good observation. I do have some Asian Australian friends who are bigger in size compared to my Asian friends from Asia. So maybe food and the amount of food we eat contributes to how we age.

  31. I’m a Canadian born Chinese and I look old for my age. I have parents who are in their mid 40s and people always say they look like they are in their 30s. However for me I’ve been told I look 18 since I was 15 (I’m 16 now)! Until recently I ate usual Chinese stuff most of the time for lunch and supper. Brown rice, meat and veggies. Very little soda, chips, etc. Mostly apples and cheese for snacks. However my white friends look younger than me by a long shot!!! I started puberty early so maybe that’s why I look so old for my age.

    • Thanks for sharing so honesty. Maybe the reason you look older could be because of the way you dress, the way you do your hair or maybe the makeup you have on? Or maybe it’s because you are tall, giving the impression that you are older? Or maybe as you mentioned, you started puberty early. Looks aren’t the most important things in the world, being healthy is :)

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