I never quite realized how much I look like my mom until I used TikTok’s viral Aged filter.
It was jarring to see her face staring back at me—deep eye bags, sagging jowls, vivid age spots, laugh lines deeper than the Grand Canyon and all the bends and valleys of a face that come with being 75—only that’s not her but my own face, with maybe 30 years added in.
My first reaction was denial and horror. That can’t be—I take better care of my skin than that (sorry, Mama!). And then I started laughing. Oh no, now I really have to take better care of my skin! Where’s the retinol? The sunscreen? Should I finally get Botox?
The AI-powered Aged filter, which hyperrealistically shows in real time what you could look like as an older person, has been drawing mixed reactions from netizens, especially as some plastic surgeons on TikTok have claimed that the filter is an accurate representation of aging. Perhaps to prove this point, some users have applied the filter on the images of celebrities and posted them side-by-side with what they actually look like now.
Meanwhile, there’s entrepreneur and mega influencer Kylie Jenner, all of 25, who kept saying “I don’t like it, I don’t like it at all, no,” at her wrinkly visage. Fashion influencer Bryanboy had the same reaction, declaring, “Ayoko, ayoko talaga” at the split screen bearing his smooth, wrinkle-less face and his grandpa version above it.
In the age of social media, where looking young is associated with beauty and desirability, and youth is currency to many, these reactions are quite predictable. Many users are shocked to see how much their faces may change with age. It can be a punch in the gut to imagine ourselves as old people.
And of course, there’s our vanity. With all the advancements in science and aesthetic technology, and how much people spend (and suffer) to maintain their looks, the filter is a sobering reminder of the aging process, that however hard you try, age would one day keep up.
Many users are concerned about how they will look when they are older. Some have reported feeling insecure about their appearance and have said that they will now start taking better care of their skin. This vanity is understandable, as beauty is often associated with youth in our culture.
Not all, however, had a negative reaction to the filter. Some users got sentimental seeing how much they looked like an older relative, or a loved one who has passed.
There’s acceptance. These users have said that it has helped them to accept the natural process of aging and to appreciate their current appearance. They have found comfort in seeing their likenesses to older relatives, which has helped them to see that aging is a natural part of life. Others went as far as showing their aged images to their parents or grandparents, who, they added, “will not be around to see me at this age.”
Of course, however the skin experts and plastic surgeons on TikTok claim that the filter is accurate, it’s not perfect. It is based on an algorithm that is trained on a limited dataset of images. This means that it may not be accurate for everyone. Aging, after all, is a complex process influenced by a variety of factors, including genetics, lifestyle and environment. The filter can only give us a glimpse of one possible future.
Aging is a natural process that is inevitable for everyone. It can be a beautiful thing, as it can bring us closer to our loved ones and help us to appreciate our lives. I would really not mind looking like my mom at 75. In fact, I hope to get to be 75, healthy and happy and living a full life like she does—wrinkles, creaky knees and all.
Though maybe, not just yet.