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

  1. Funny article; many points made that are second nature to me (naturally) but it occurs to me that many lo-fans have no idea what you’re talking about. I love your posts; they’re like “Asians for Dummies” stories that characterize the small things about the race.

    Apparently, however, you have not met many New York Chinese people; Diane’s uncle, nice as he is, looks like he swallowed a spare tire even if he is Asian. While some of the qualities you mention are in fact true for all Asians, living in North America overrules genetics for about half the population, most of which live on the east coast. Oddly, New Yorkers walk more than any other Americans but their diet keeps them from looking like the Hong Kong Chinese people.

    I love your blog; if there was an award for best ethnic blog, I’d nominate you in a second, Is there one?

    Cheers
    The white Jewish guy and his Chinese wife

    Like

    • “Asians for Dummies.” I like that. Never thought of my posts that way, but so true. In a way, I see writing about these kinds of topics a way for me to have a closer look at my heritage, and how it contrasts with the Western way of life in Australia.

      You are right. I haven’t met any Chinese New York folk. Interesting to hear about Diane’s dad. It could be the food and lifestyle over there that contradicts the arguments in my post. Also, maybe the colder it gets, the more people eat and climate-wise, Western countries tend to be way colder than Asian cities on average throughout the year.

      Thank you, the two of you are very kind. You really don’t have to. I don’t know of much blog competitions out there. There’s a national Australia one coming up soon, and voting is only open to Aussie residents :D

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, I want to add something about the last sentences. I believe that there is a youthful gene in Asians. My ancestors are Crimmean Tatar, they moved to Turkey before the first world war.
    I and my mother look 10 years younger than our age, my grandparents were so too. Im 34 years old, but look like 24. I was much more like a Japanese when i was a kid, people were asking if Im Japanese.

    So I live in a sunny country, I dont use a sun umbrella and I dont have an Asian diet, but Im still an Asian, I have an Asian beard, black eyes and hair. Only difference is Im longer and bigger than a standart Asian, (1,88 metres and 86 kilograms) I think this is about the easy agriculture and food production in Turkey. Because of this, I believe the nature favors Asians:)

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    • That very interesting to hear. Thank you so much for sharing. It must have been amusing for you when people were asking you if you’re Japanese.

      Maybe you do have the youthful Asian gene and it’s been passed down in your family. “nature favors Asians” I like that statement :)

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      • Thank you:) Yes it was funny, people were calling me Toranaga (a character in the Shogun TV series)
        A weird fact in Turkey is, Anatolian Turks call themselves as the grandchildren of Asian Turks. But I read that only %7 of the population have Asian genetics in Turkey. And this is a Middle East country, I dont see much Asian type looking people.

        Turkish nationalism and patriotism is at top degree here, but they dont know anything about their real past, they also dont want to learn/read any extra thing, Im really sorry about Turkey’s people.

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        • So interesting that you were named after a TV character. You must resemble that character somewhat :)

          Sometimes having the Asian gene doesn’t mean we’ll look Asian, especially if we come from a mixed heritage or culture. Maybe having Asian generics in Turkey isn’t a widely known fact, so people tend not to be interested in it. But who knows, maybe one day they will.

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        • I’ve heard it said that over 50% ( and the % may actually be higher, i can’t remember properly) of men – that is the males of the human species – WORLDWIDE- have DNA which shows they are descendants of Chingis Khan ( Genghis Khan) !!

          Liked by 1 person

          • This can be true, because Genghis’s army was a group of barbarian looters and they raped millions of innocent women in the known part of that time’s world. From Asia to Middle East, Eastern Europe and to the Baltic sea shores.

            This is a very big area, and there was another barbarian invasion Attila the Hun at AD 400. His army was Asian too. I didnt read their full story, but some of their raiders attacked Western Europe too.

            I mean, as you mentioned so many humans can carry Tatar/Asian genes in their DNA, but its visible effect on today’s people should be very small percentage, because those incidents happened nearly 1000-1500 years ago. Many generations passed and other DNAs mixed in todays people’s DNA pool.

            And… Is it sunny there now in the Southern Hemisphere? It is freezing here in Western Turkey. Another cold weather wave is also coming from Balkans tonight :(( I want the April coming faster!!1 :)
            ( btw sorry for my poor English, this is not my mother language)

            Liked by 1 person

            • Insightful comment. DNA does get mixed over time, and when it gets mixed, it evolves. It’s such a complex thing, and so it’s hard for science to keep up – and to go back in time to figure out what DNA the human species carried back then.

              It’s summer here in the southern hemisphere. I hope it will get warmer for you soon, change of seasons is less than a month away. You English is great, I understood your comment. Thank you for reading and commenting :)

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              • hi,, yes interesting comments, DNA does morph over time and we are never victims of our DNA anyhow. that said, Chinghis Khan contributed a lot to the world and is usually simply maligned in the west. Everyone, every country, invaded other countries during that time and there is still plenty of rape and pillage going on in the world today unfortunately. patriarchal attitudes towards women are in all cultures, sadly.

                that said, Chinghis Khan developed the worlds’ first postal service, and was the world’s first example of a religiously tolerant leader. he invited many of the world’s religious leaders into his camp to debate spiritual matters.

                his ramie’s did invade, but then so did many others. he only wanted to trade – when other countries engaged in trade the mongolians did not invade. yes, there were terrible things done, but comparatively to that time he was a visionary leader, if you want to read more about him I suggest you check out Jack Weatherward’s books.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Debbie, I have respect to your thoughts but I think differently.
                  Genghis was a visionary leader for his time, thats ok. But Alexander the great, Julius Ceasar, some Roman emprerors, some of the middle age kings, Napoleon, even Hitler were visionary leaders for their times.

                  They did so many things for their people and their technology. (You can check Nazi military technology) They made it for being more stronger and invading more places with this power, ruining more lives.
                  They were still barbarians and they ruined millions of poor people’s lives, killed them and sold them to slavery.

                  And Yes, Genghis had some religious tolerant. Because he had to.
                  He had so many different culture soldiers in his army.
                  He invaded very big areas and people from different cultures and religions were under his iron fist as soldier or as villager.
                  If he had pushed those humans a little more, he couldnt stop an uprising against himself.

                  So he didnt touch people’s beliefs, because believers trust to God and always waits something to happen from God/Gods. A dictator can more easily governs religious people. (I live in Turkey with Erdogan party and can see this with my own eyes)

                  And yes Genghis developed the first postal service, but only for military purposes. His army were fully mobile and the Surprise Factor was their main weapon. That postal service and his spies were the core of today’s Spy Networks.

                  Im genetically half Tatar, but i still hate Genghis and the other dictators because of their sins against humanity. If a man is bad, than he’s bad, I cant forgive his badness because he or his men invented a stronger weapon or smt…

                  If someone invents a new medical technology or a construction technology or smt that makes people’s lives better and easier, thats ok. But men like Genghis invented those things just for more power.

                  (Mabel, I hope it gets warmer asap:))

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • hi Koray, thanks for your reply. I understand and respect your thoughts to and understand how due to your heritage you could have that feeling, and that is very valid. I’ll think carefully about altering my opinions.
                    However I do believe Temujin himself has been vilified by western history. Ive been to Mongolia where he is still worshipped as a great unifier.
                    the point about the postal service for military use is very very valid – however many inventions were invented – and unfortunately still are – for such use. but i agree, doesn’t excuse the excesses of violence.
                    A thought provoking comment, thank you.
                    Debbie

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Thanks:)
                      And if we continue to reply on the same post, it will be like a pyramid. I cant read my last post on iPad. it is too narrow, each line has only a few words lol

                      Liked by 1 person

  3. At my part I am a pure south east asian with chinese american spanish heritage, I look kind of chinese with a spanish surname trust me everybody in school can’t believe I have an accent especially when I speak english they felt like I am really good at speaking in english.

    One day they ask me if what I put on my skin and told them just a normal soap and taking bath two times a day. I guess it’s all about the life style of people, I notice too that I look younger than my friends with the same age as me but I think they age enough from the years we’ve never met .

    I ate only natural foods, fruits and vegetables.

    Like

    • That is interesting to hear, Sen. Maybe eating healthy, natural foods and having a less stressful lifestyle does make some of us seem younger than how old we are. Or it could be pure luck…you just never know.

      I hope the attention you get from people in school isn’t too much of a bother. They sound like a very curious bunch.

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  4. HI Mabel, and all, I agree, a lot to do with diet, staying out of the sun, and probably
    DNA morphed from 5,000 years of rice eating. I have read some stuff though about the actual genetic differences between Caucasions and Asians… i find it amusing that in China everyone is doing their best to use whitening products to make their skin whiter and in Australia everyone is busy going to the beach to get browner skin! I guess the same goes for curly haired people who straighten their hair and straight haired people who make theirs curly!
    Humans are never satisfied!
    Debbie

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    • It is fascinating how DNA changes over time and passed down from generation to generations. Diet and the food we eat essentially nourish our bodies and cells, and that in turn probably impacts DNA in some way. Same goes with how our bodies react to sunlight and the air around us.

      The phenomenon of being obsessed with our skin colour and looking young is a funny one. There’s so much more to life than looks.

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  5. Why did you censor my post? I gave a scientific argument on why specifically east asians look young. It is because of neoteny, or in other words advanced evolution.

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    • Not too sure what happened to your comment. Comments with two or more links or containing certain words go to the spam folder and are then deleted automatically, as well as comments where the author has copied a significant amount of text from another site.

      But that is a good point you bring up – neoteny. And it is certainly a valid argument to this topic. Human evolution has come along way, and science has advanced so far that we can go under the knife to look much younger. Over time, we’ve retained various features of our ancestors (or maybe the previous species), and there’s always the possibility that us humans today retain younger-looking features and genes as we procreate and the world turns.

      Like

    • Thank you! Haha, it really is funny how we want to be older and look older when we’re young. I feel the same way too now that I’m in my 20s. Loving the youthful looks (still) but wishing I had more of that teenage energy!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t know what it is — possibly a combination of all the factors above — but I tested Microsofts “How old do I look?” gizmo on Facebook with my Chinese mother-in-law’s picture. Microsoft says she’s twenty years younger than she is. Meaning we look almost the same age.

    Of course, the app also said I was male.

    Like

    • That is hilarious! I’ve seen that test floating around, haven’t tried it yet. Don’t know if I will…and the app saying you were male, now that is totally off :D

      Looking young certainly depends on a number of factors, including luck. This really is a strange world!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I cant help but find this article incredibly offensive towards Asians.Why must you put emphasis on Asians trying to look white just because of their preference for fair skin?If Asians were really trying to look like Caucasians,shouldn’t they be tanning instead?

    Most Caucasians seem to hate looking pale and love baking themselves orange in the sun.The truth is,pale skin has been a beauty standard in Asia since long ago as it is a statues symbol and a sign of wealth as the poor who works in the sun daily become dark while the rich stayed indoors,protected from the sun.I do not think it is fair that only Asians get accused of trying to look another race while other ethnicities can tan themselves and dye their hair without any or as much criticism.

    Describing koreans who go under the knife as “creepily doll-like young”is beyond rude.In korean,the look the aim for is a natural,youthful look.It is in Japan,where the “creepy doll look”is all the craze. Please get your facts right before you write an article.I also find that you seem unable to accept that other people’s beauty standards may be different from what you consider beautiful,I personally find most korean celebrities looking very natural and beautiful after going under the knife.

    I am not against but neither am I encouraging towards plastic surgery.I feel like people can do whatever they want with their own bodies as long as they are not hurting others and thoes who had plastic surgery should not be put down or criticised for being “fake”.It is hypocritical for many of us,especially women,to be so against plastic surgery when most of us put makeup on our faces almost every day to hide our flaws,that is fake beauty too,just not permanant.It is only human nature to atleast be a little vain,if not very.

    Another point i want to make is that,big eyes,pale skin are just Asian beauty standards that Caucasians happen to possess,they are what we find beautiful,that is the only reason why any of us would want those traits. Why would we want those traits just to look Caucasian?Caucasians happen to have great genes with features that appeal to us.

    Most Caucasians like tanned skin because they find it “healthy looking”,that doesnt mean that they are trying to look Asian(most asians are naturally tan),right?Caucasians who dye their hair black just have a preference for black hair,nothing to do with wanting to look or be asian.Usually,those who strive to look another race are not afraid express it,and it is perfectly alright as they can have their own preferances that doesnt hurt anyone.

    All in all,i am really annoyed to see people continuously acting like hypocrites and all the double standards.I hope the trend of saying Asians are trying to look white would cease,as that is not the case for many of us.

    Like

    • Many Caucasians naturally have fair skin, and that is what quite a number of Asians lust after – which would explain why they are very hesitant towards tanning and going under the sun. You are right in saying that fair skin is a symbol of wealth in certain Asian cultures, as stipulated in the post too.

      In many Asian cities such as Singapore and Malaysia, it’s common to find fair-skinned Caucasians or Eurasians fronting beauty advertisements and commercials. Maybe I’m reading too much into this, maybe not, but to me this suggests some Asians see Western beauty standards as the epitome of beauty.

      Certainly not all Asians who strive to look fair as trying to look Caucasian – we just might find a certain look appealing and go with that. It is an interesting question you ask there – why would some Asians want Caucasian physical features (if it isn’t because of this reason)? Racism, or self-racism, might have something to do with it. Or maybe if we detest the culture we’re born in for whatever reason. Both of which I think are extreme reasons for going under the knife, but this is a bit of a crazy world we live in.

      Personally, I think that no matter how we look, whether with tan or pale skin, big or small eyes, straight of curly hair, we are all beautiful. This article was written with the intention of exploring the possibilities why Asians look young, and certainly there are many arguments to towards this topic. Each of us also have different perspectives depending on our backgrounds, and none of us have the answers to each question in the world. My article is just one perspective, and there are certainly others out there. Thanks for your input.

      Like

      • Hello all,
        cultural identity, especially in this very rapidly changing world, is incredibly complex.

        Of course there are many many reasons why people do things, and the real answer is probably a combination of many factors.

        Circusfoxes is obviousy reacting to this “assumption” or “stereotype” that asians want to look western, and is defending his or her national pride. Many people in Asia are rightly proud of their rich heritage and culture, and it is certainly a good thing to be proud of one’s own culture and not glorify other’s cultures. Find the good everywhere, really, is the best practice.

        However, simply because one persons motives are such, doesnt mean other peoples motives are the same.

        If the woman I go to for facials is anything to go by, Mabel’s assertions are correct – a couple of weeks back she told me she was going to have an operation to lift her eyelids to make her eyes look bigger. her words exactly – “make my eyes look bigger and more beautiful like westerners’ eyes”.

        Still, doesnt mean everyone’s motives are the same. Personally, i find it horrific that anyone, anywhere, for any reason, should resort to plastic surgery.

        We are all beautiful in our own ways, and if people were more focused on basic human kindness and decencies like being courteous and respectful, than what their body looked like, the world may be a better place.

        For me it is a sign of the crazy times we live in. Its also fairly obvious that the greater percentage of people having plastic surgery are women, and they do so to conform to stereotypical notions of what is ‘beautiful’.

        Surely beauty is not so skin deep?

        Nevertheless, the predominat media is run by rich white mails, so yes, indeed, westerners who want to get tanned are not accused of wanting to look like Asians, so there is indeed double standards involved.

        Cultural identity is complex in this rapidly changing global world.

        Thank you Mabel for starting this thread, it has provoked some very interesting, meaty discussions. :)

        Like

        • Very well said, Debbie. “Many people in Asia are rightly proud of their rich heritage and culture, and it is certainly a good thing to be proud of one’s own culture and not glorify other’s cultures”. Physical and inner beauty defines each culture on various levels. The way we choose to look, be it having fair or dark skin, long or short hair, usually has some sort of significance within our cultures and some of us are very proud of that.

          The way we choose to look and style ourselves is a way of self-expression, a way of defining our character too. I think there’s a fine line between obsessing over our looks and keeping up our appearances to look individually us. But at the end of the day, have to agree that there’s more to beauty than just looks – it’s what mattes on the inside.

          Thanks, Debbie, for chiming in.

          Like

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