The TikTok Aged Filter: Realistic Aging Prediction or Just a Gimmick?

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The TikTok Aged Filter: Realistic Aging Prediction or Just a Gimmick? featured image
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The latest viral sensation on TikTok, the Aged filter, has taken social media by storm, captivating users with its lifelike depiction of how faces might change with age. With over 5.8 million videos utilizing the filter, it has become a hot topic of discussion. The Aged filter uses cutting-edge machine technology to simulate features like wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, jowls, and eye bags, providing users with a glimpse into their future appearance, which has been eye-opening to many users, including celebrities like Kylie Jenner, who’s reaction to the filter was a series of “nos”.

Different Anatomies, Different Results

Facial plastic surgeons have weighed in on the accuracy and implications of this popular filter. According to Kirkland, WA facial plastic surgeon Daniel J. Liebertz, MD, facial aging is a complex process influenced by various factors. “The filter appears to be analyzing the user’s facial anatomy and the adding shadows and highlights to increase the appearance of wrinkles, volume loss, and tissue descent,” notes the surgeon. “Some people look older than others because their anatomy is different. I’m curious if users can change the extent of their aging by changing their lighting or makeup.”

“The aged filter is not a fun filter to look at,” says Beverly Hills, CA facial plastic surgeon Kimberly J. Lee, MD.  ”The filter takes a photo of your face and applies signs of aging. It deepens your NLF and marionette lines, which sag as you age, and also emphasizes forehead wrinkles, undereye bags, sunspots, hyperpigmentation, and creates jowls and white hair,” she explains.  “You should be glad to know that while these independent components can be a prediction of an aged appearance, it’s not necessarily indicative of what you will look like as you age.” If you have a more square or angled face, the filter may create more sagging skin and jowling, says Dr. Lee, and similarly, a wider nose may result in deeper nasolabial lines.

Realistic Representations

Scottsdale, AZ facial plastic surgeon Kelly V. Bomer, MD also notes that aging is a multifaceted process that is influenced by bone structure, ethnicity, lifestyle, and weight fluctuations. “People with small jaws and chins, low inferior orbital rims and delicate low brow bones will tend to become hollow and saggy sooner than people with strong bone structure,” she says. “Weight fluctuations can also lead to sagging skin and fat deposits in the neck. Living a healthy lifestyle nutritionally and physically greatly improves the aging process as long as the skin is being taken care of.” 

While the filter provides a realistic representation, Dr. Bomer encourages users to prioritize preventative measures, such as good skin habits and some nonsurgical interventions. “The thing to learn from these simulations is to get started with prevention early with good skin habits and a little neuromodulator and filler done expertly and with repetition that is appropriate for age and facial structure,” she says.

Delray Beach, FL facial plastic surgeon Miguel Mascaro, MD acknowledges the Aged filter’s accuracy. “It’s a good description of what can happen in the future. Particularly when looking at the quality of skin changes and light shadowing around the midface associated with subtle volume loss,” he says.

While the Aged filter has garnered immense popularity and praise for its lifelike realism, it is essential to remember that it is merely a digital simulation. Understanding that facial aging is a complex interplay of various factors, including genetics, environment, and lifestyle, is crucial. The filter serves as a reminder to prioritize skin care, healthy living, and professional expertise when addressing signs of aging, allowing individuals to make informed decisions about their aesthetic well-being.

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