Jan 22, 2011  •  In Asian, Funny, Personal

The Aging Process of Asian Women

One of the biggest stereotypes about Asian women (aside from the notion that we are meek, timid creatures who are sexual slaves in the bedroom) is that we never seem to age, or age at a much slower rate than the rest of the population. And wouldn’t you know it — here is a funny cartoon to show just that:


(image source)

While I’m not so sure about other Asian women, I can attest that now, at the age of 30, I am starting to notice signs of aging. I am very lucky that I have not yet developed wrinkles; however, I am beginning to get plagued by dry patches of skin and age spots. My metabolism is nowhere near where it was when I was in my late teens and early twenties (and I thought I was FAT back then…what I wouldn’t give to have the body I had ten years ago!), I get tired much more easily, and the 30+ years of bad posture is catching up to me in the way of nightly backaches.

That being said, I must admit that I am often mistaken for being younger — people are always surprised when I tell them my actual age, and I guess I have my (Asian?) genes to thank for that, because God knows I’ve treated by body like crap.

I dug up this old photo from 2001 (friend’s face marked out in respect for her privacy):

It is undeniable that I look younger (and I can’t help noticing how much thinner I was back then…sigh), but I’m not sure that I look an entire decade younger than I do now.

What do you think? Do you agree with the stereotype that Asian women never seem to age (or at least until they hit menopause, as depicted in the cartoon above)?

101 Responses to “The Aging Process of Asian Women”

  1. Julesss:

    I’m about to be 32, Korean. I’ve honestly, smoked and drank LOTS of alcohol in my lifetime. ( I still love and drink my whiskey, etc.). With all this, EVERYONE gets surprised when I tell them I’m in my 30s which also come from other Koreans. They literally think I’m like 24 or 25. I have no wrinkles, no sagging face or sagging skin, no sagging body, eyes still full of shine, and face full of glow. I have to say, it is in the genes. Oh, and my energy and heart of a little girl that pour out a very young soul and vibe. Maybe that helps >.< I don't know, I just really THANK GOD i look YOUNG!

  2. Lolz:

    What a hilarious cartoon strip!! And while not true for every case, it seems to be true in a lot of cases. To be fair, nonasians have trouble seeing the age markers in Asian. Then again, Asian guys have trouble telling my age (I’m Asian). At age 28 people still ask me what my major in college is and obviously I get carded wherever I go unless I’m with non-Asian friends. People assume my mom is 20+ years younger than she is.

  3. Nichole:

    In general, yes.

    Nature: face is usually more flat and more fat under and above the eye. Fat is ur friend, at least in the face. Muscles in neck r braided and crossed provided more support, certain sounds keep neck toned. ( Asians who can’t speak any of their parents language tend to not have as tight necks and jawline. Their flaws r easily corrected surgically.

    Nurture: scaling and peels done fom a you g age, good diet, good skin are, UVA blocks r superior in lotions and powder. I read in a k magazine that ur married women should spend 30% of their income on beautification.

    The above r my thought based on research on pubmed, living in Korea for 4 years, married to a Korean from Korea, having relatives that r American and Korean.

    I like to each every race has something good about it. I think when it comes to aging Asians have it best. I tend to think whites. R most attractive w out any enhancements but by age 35 , unless they r well taken care if, Asians can surpass just due to looking younger. And unfortunately losing ur youth can take away from great eyes, nose, cheeks, mouth, body,etc

  4. Nichole:

    Also I know maybe one k friend who hasn’t done her at least her eyes. I am referring to only k friends who never left Korea. Competition is fierce there. I think eye surgery does help them a lot if done right. Epipplasty. The lid isn’t as important. Some surgeries were so subtle , that I didn’t even know why they looked so much better. It elongates the eye.

    Anyway. I luv everyone. Appreciate all looks and have a half Korean child myself.

  5. k:

    I use to think asians aged slower until I lived in Korea, got use to seeing asian faces (as opposed to rarely seeing asians in my home town thus limited experjence), and now I can almost always correctly guess an asian person’s age. To me, a 30 yr old korean looks 30….u just have to know the signs of aging. Asian women do take good care of their skin with spa treatments, avoiding sun, lotions etc and it makes them look better at 30 then someone who has tanned and not had good skin care; however they dont look better just because they r asian…I know plenty of white women who also dont tan, and take good care of their skin ( i am one of those, i love my ivory color) and they look JUST as good (im 26 and routinely get mistaken for 19-20). If u took a 40 yr old white/black/hispanic woman who is slim, eats right, good skin care, avoids sun then honestly she looks just as great as any asian woman. On the same token not all asians age great or have good skin…living in korea i saw plenty of women who bad acne and wore thick foundations. Imo, i also think blacks really look the best as they age then the other races…black women have beautiful skin and u hardly see wrinkles and i think they age far better then asian women.

  6. KARichard:

    It’s also funny that women over 30 in Asia are viewed as “too old”. The stigma for unmarried women over age 30 (of god forbid, age 35) is huge. Still, just from personal experience, i have seen many women in their 30’s and 40’s from Korea who do look their age, but still look a lot more stunning than western women of the same age. In fact, i was watching a show on TV, with a mother/daughter, and i was more attracted to the mother!! I also had my mouth hanging open in Singapore this summer watching a mother in a bikini with her family. She was HOT!!
    The biggest issue for me is that ASIANS NEVER WORKOUT!!And this applies to many Asian American women as well, except a few i have seen from places like SoCal/FL/TX. I swear i need to start a revolution in Asia so that women start to workout and get better bodies. The shame for many asian women is that many look better in their late 20’s/early 30’s than in their late teens/early 20’s. Most high school girls don’t wear makeup, have bad acne and don’t wear fashionable clothes. It then takes time during college to figures things out, and they sometimes don’t become full-fledged women until age 24 or so!!

  7. Drakaina:

    Hi, I found your article looking for European vs. Asiatic genes and the ageing process, and I must say one thing: I’m slightly over 40, and people usually say I’m 28 (last time it happened two months ago, but at the doctor’s/hospitals I am frequently asked whether there is a mistake in the documents; at 37 I enrolled for a second degree at the Univ. and until now my student mates – in their early to mid 20s – don’t know my real age, they believe I graduated from the first faculty very shortly before starting the other), I have no wrinkles and no patches, just the spine aches a bit… but good physioterapist worked miracles. Also my father looks at least 15 years younger than his actual age (at 70+ almost no wrinkles, great salt and pepper and not white hair, no bald patches). I never gave it much thought: people age differently, my maternal grandfather had completely white hair at 30… Until some time ago I learned that most likely my father’s family is of Tartar descent (we live in central Europe), and remembered the ageing thing from my anthropology lessons at the university. Luck had it that at the same time I got invited to a conference in Kazan, Russia, which happens to be the capital of Tatarstan, and I noticed many men looking very much like my father (he does have slightly, but very slightly Asiatic features, when you think about it, and so in fact do I, but since the family has apparently assimilated with local populace long ago, it doesn’t stand out very clearly), only some features like the slant eyes more pronounced. So apart from my great-grandmother’s maiden name I now seem to have another proof of Asiatic descent: the ageing process :)

  8. Anon:

    If you live around a lot of east Asian people age, it’s easy to see that they age just like everyone else. They get age spots and saggy skin quicker than Black and White people. Many of my east Asian friends had gray hairs in college, decades before their Black and White peers. And I know plenty of Black and White women who are consistently mistaken for 10-20 years below their real age. I know several White women in their 50s who are mistaken for their early 30s in public. This is nothing new and it’s certainly not exclusive to east Asians.

  9. Driver:

    Forgive me for noticing that you’ve said absolutely nothing to contradict the ‘stereotype’ about being a sexual slave in the bedroom.

  10. Olivia:

    Half Korean/Germain/Irish, I’m 15 and I could pass as 12. It isn’t so great right now, but I’ll learn to appreciate it later in life. (:
    The comic strip is funny! It applies to my mother (52) who has been a chain smoker her whole life, her sister who’s only 2 years younger than her looks about 30. She of course lives in Korea, while my mom lives in the US and is exposed to sun a lot more than her sister is.

  11. Vince Nguyen:

    I know this blog is a year old, but i just wanted to say that you don’t know for sure that you are 100% Asian. I hate to point the finger like this, but generally speaking, nobody (in this day and age) would know if their 100% (insert race here). Let me ask you this, do you know who your great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great… (gasp of air) …, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents are? None of us do. It’s not like we keep a track record for this kind of stuff. For all i know, i could have a little bit of Mexican in me and not even know it. Life began so long ago that someway or somehow it made it’s way through the different people and eventually gave life to us.

    So what I’m saying is, you probably are one of many Asians who have Caucasian, African, Middle Eastern, or Latin, etc gene in you that might be the reason why your aging process is different than the “stereotypical” Asian females, as opposed to the few and rare ones that may still have 100% Asian genes back as early as life began for Asians.

  12. Tsubasa:

    Living in Okinawa gives me a chance to actually interact with Japanese women from the mainland and the local area. One thing is for sure, Japanese women age faster than most may think. I don’t know what it is, but Japanese women will look great until age 30. After that, it’s all down hill. It is like over night they age so fast. Everything from age spots to wrinkled skin. I don’t know if it due to some kind change in their chemistry, but whatever it is…it comes and it comes fast.

    • Mikolina:

      I lived in Okinawa until I was 21. My life style and diet are 100% American for the last 25 years. I’m now 46, but most people thinkI’m in my early 30s. I’m about 10 lbs heavier than I was in my early 40s, I noticed there are age spots and my skin does not look as perky as it was 10 years ago but I defnitely look much better now than I ever did. I work out 3 to 5 times a week so my body actually is firmer and has nicer shape, and my face even looks younger despite of age spots. This has been confirmed by many, many comments I receive from people. I have an aunt who is in her 70’s now and people say she still looks the same from 20 years ago so I wonder if that just runs in my famiy genes. I have a Japanese girlfriend who is 47 and she too looks more and more younger. I can’t tell you why but there are definitely people who age very well.

  13. beatuty:

    Hi, I’d like to comment. I have to say that Black women age far better than Asian women. Black women rarely and I mean rarely have wrinkles. I don’t recall seeing many black women with wrinkles. A person commented above that black don’t crack but he used it in reference to an Asian woman but its about pigmentation and most Asian races have low pigment in their skin. Asian women look younger because their bodies look younger. A 40 year old Asian women may be so skinny that she may appear to ave the body of a 12 year old. Their bodies don’t develop into curvy bodies as the Latina, Italian, Greek, Black, and mixed race women. Asian women are built like little girls, with little to no breast, no hips, no rear end so of course they will look younger than their age. People have to realize its about the total package and if you incorporate the above, you will have a woman who looks underdeveloped. Most men on here commenting are Asian women lovers as their comments are biased but if you ask a man who prefers curvy women or women with curly to wavy hair, you will get a very different opinion than what you see.

    • Cremlin:

      I get that you’re using subjective aesthetic adjectives to describe Asians, but you do know pedomorphia is considered an advanced evolutionary trait, right?

      • Anti-Kremlin (the right spelling, by the way):

        Your invocation of ‘pedomorphia’ as an evolutionary plus is repulsive. No, no geneticist, evolutionary biologist, scientist, or social or other psychologist would agree with you that indicia of prepubescence is correlated with being ‘advanced.’ You are a disgusting person.

        • Cremlin:

          Yeah- wasn’t going for “The right spelling” but I love you too. Now, I can understand why you would sleep through the Neoteny part of the lecture (in the D-bio or Intro Bio series which you must’ve taken seeing as your usin’ of them big fancy wurds and all) as it can be pretty boring, but (as I did) you might want to review the material (or at the very least Wikipedia the damn word) before you claim to know anything about it.

          Ps. Aside from your lack of knowledge about the core concepts taught in the Developmental Biology section of Intro Bio, you might want to refrain from assigning arbitrary moral values to your statement of facts when talking about science. Doing so would actually help convince real scientists (or you know, people who passed their high school biology class) that you actually know something about science.

          Pps. It was an Evolutionary Biologist that taught me that. Had a real shiny Ph.D. and everything.

          Ppps. Scientists don’t talk like that.

  14. Andy:

    I think you are absolutely right. Asian women are built smaller than other types of women (flat chest, flat behinds and boxy types figures). Therefore, it may look as if they don’t age due to their bodies. When I look at Asian women, something happens to them when they hit mid 30-40s. It’s as if they look old overnight. It’s not a slow and graceful process. It’s like BAM! They are old looking with wrinkles and age spots. If Korean and Japanese women didn’t spend so much time and money on their skin, I suspect they would look older faster than mid 30-early 40s.

  15. We, Asians, are aliens who do not age. Plus we can fly, teletransport and time-traveling.

    Now, serious. I think it’s a stereotype. Probably, the average Asian age like anyone else. Just that some people, who happen to be Asian, looks younger that they really are.

    BTW, people usually think I’m younger than I really am, but I think the reason is my lifestyle: I’ve practicing many sports since 7 years old (judo, artistic gymnastic and swimming). Now I’m into acrobatic silk and bouldering and I commute by bicycle. I use tons of sunscreen since I was a teenager and I have a “Asian diet”, eating Japanese and Korean food, where is diversity is the key, without any restriction. So, it’s not surprise that I look younger than I am…

  16. I manage an erotic pictures Website devoted to Mature Asian Women… It’s fascinating to see how Asian women’s bodies change as they get older… Please check it out. And DON’T be offended by the sex and nudity! It is LIFE, afterall. Asian people, especially in Japan stay sexually active into their 70s and 80s, and have very little hangups about nudity and sex – public baths, etc.

  17. P.S. The Website is MatureAsianWomanLover.com

  18. Angela:

    Hi, my name is Angela, I am 37, white and look my like I am in my mid-twenties. I think the key is that I have never tanned, never smoked or drank and I eat very healthy and work out and drink water. I am 5 ft tall, weight under 100 lbs, usually around 97 and 32/24/32. I think my small size is what makes me look a lot younger, plus my skin is more even tonned with no wrinkles and I have pretty, long hair. You know I have never had kids or been married either, so maybe that has helped, LOL. I thiink asian women have a beautiful look and I have always thought the asian culture is beautiful. I think western women could achieve the same thing by just taking better care of themselves and eating right. Most western women’s lives are so busy, trying to climb corporate ladder while being mom/wife that their own selves come last, taking care of themselves is the last thing on their list cause everyone else comes first. That needs to change, every women owes herself good health and should make time for herself.

  19. J:

    It also has a lot to do with the lifestyle and eating habits of individuals. Western women (I am making a generalisation) like to have tea and coffee with sugar. Whereas my Mum only has tea and milk with no sugar or sweetening at all. Sugar makes the ageing process occur much faster and as a result much more noticeable in Western women. I strongly believe that the reason why Western women have a much higher tendency to age faster is because of their lifestyle habits.

  20. Claudio:

    Frankly, I think your observation rings true… I travel to asia often as part of my work and notice plenty of beautiful, young asian ladies. I never connected menopause with the transition period from young to “old”, hehehe… But I guess that is true. In fact I find its true for all races, not just asians. I have met several beatiful older asian ladies, so they do exist. Its just that genetics take over for most of us, and we all have a tough time aging.

    I think the geek in heels looks fab! Better than you were younger! – Awesome!

    Thanks for the article!

  21. You look really young in that picture. I do believe their is some kind of genetic change in asian people in general which helps them age slowly at least. You all look so young all the time! If it wasn’t that noticeable then there wouldn’t be so many articles/blogs/sites talking about it!

  22. Manual Plyer:

    True age spots are harmless and don’t need treatment, but they can look like cancerous growths. For cosmetic reasons, age spots can be lightened with skin-bleaching products or removed. However, preventing age spots — by avoiding the sun and using sunscreen — may be the easiest way to maintain your skin’s youthful appearance and to avoid these dark skin spots.

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  24. Jan:

    you’ll find people who seem to age real slow in every “race” or culture, but it seems to be more often in asia.

    i’m caucasian, 33 years old and it still happens quite often that i have to show my id when going to cinema or buying alcohol.

  25. Meera:

    There’s a simple explanation as to why East Asians- and Africans for that matter appear to age more slowly than Europeans and other Caucasian peoples. It has to do with the structure of the fat cells, which East Asians and Africans have more of. It permits the skin to retain its elasticity, and when the elasticity fades, it gives something the skin can cling to, rather than sagging. I read a study on this a few years ago. I’m sure you’ve also all heard the expression “black don’t crack”!

  26. Law:

    A few genuinely interesting details you’ve written. Helped me a great deal, precisely what I had been looking for : Deb.

  27. i agree with that stereotype,an asian women always look younger

  28. A cute red blooded western asian guy:

    rowwwrrrrrrr! nice pics ;) …( i do so love my fellow gorgeous women)
    I don’t think it’s a stereotype, most asians just age better. Just back from travelling in south east asia and my appreciation for how well asian women look at all ages has increased significantly.
    Though I don’t believe about some magical beauty cliff though, aging is a gradual process.
    But hey that’s my opinion, I’m just a perv…

  29. Asian skin does have some benefits! It definitely stays looking younger for longer, I don’t think its a stereotype because Asian skin has more protective melanin and a thicker dermis with more collagen. Asian women always look beautiful for their age.

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