Gen Z hardest hit by lockdown as body confidence crashes during Covid pandemic

The pressures of lockdown have hit Generation Z the hardest, with more than half admitting they now feel less confident in their own skin.

Of the 2,000 adults polled, four in 10 of 18-24 year olds feel their appearance has suffered during lockdown, due to tiredness and lack of fresh air.

As a result 37 per cent feel less confident about their looks than they used to.

More than a third (35 per cent) also admitted that comparing themselves to others on social media has affected their mental wellbeing.

In response to social media pressures to look perfect and the constant bombardment of airbrushed adverts, Skin Proud, which commissioned the research, has launched a petition to stop photoshopping in skincare ads.

It also wants to encourage people to ‘be proud and not perfect’ by sharing their unfiltered moments on social media under the hashtag #Iamskinproud.

The research findings highlight the backlash against airbrushed beauty, as 31 per cent believe celebrities should encourage natural beauty.

More than a third also believe it is important for influencers and those in the spotlight to celebrate both perfections and imperfections.

As well as creating unrealistic beauty standards, the psychological implications of seeing retouched images are significant, especially with the huge rise of influencers flaunting unrealistic beauty standards in far flung, sun drenched locations.

It comes after 57 per cent of Gen Z feel lockdown has affected their confidence because they are indoors all day, while 38 per cent said their appearance has suffered with an increase in blemishes.

And 35 per cent blame their lack of confidence on how ‘pale and unhealthy’ they believe they look.

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One in three (30 per cent) feel low in self-esteem with their appearance when they go to the supermarket and 35 per cent are suffering from lockdown blues on video calls.

Nearly half (49 per cent) also admitted they don’t make any effort with their appearance anymore.

Nora Zukauskaite, global head of marketing at Skin Proud, said: “Our research findings show the extent to which young people particularly have been affected by the stresses and strains of lockdown.

“At a time when people are feeling less confident than ever before, and have more tools to avoid dealing with their insecurities and feelings of inadequacy, this can have a detrimental effect on self esteem levels.

“People shouldn't feel pressured by social media or airbrushed beauty.

“We want to encourage people to feel proud of every freckle and mole – there are no filters here at Skin Proud, after all there is no better natural glow than confidence.

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“This is the reason we launched our petition to encourage people to celebrate their natural beauty.”

The research also found 37 per cent of Gen Z’s now worry about feeling less confident when they see people face-to-face in the future.

And more than a fifth have worn less make up during lockdown, which has had an impact on their overall confidence.

Dermatologist and expert in psychodermatology, Dr Alia Ahmed, said: “People are, more than ever, feeling pressured to conform to what is being perceived as the ‘norm’.

"Social media allows one to add a filter to hide things, real life usually does not.”

See more about Skin Proud’s petition here:

1. On video calls with colleagues/clients
2. In the supermarket
3. Posting images on social media e.g. a selfie
4. When answering the door e.g. to the postman
5. Exercising in public e.g. on a run

1. They’re indoors all day
2. They’ve made less of an effort with their appearance
3. They feel pale and unhealthy looking
4. They compare themselves to others on social media
5. They’ve forgotten how to confidently socialise with others

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