The Age of Confidence with TENA & Lisa Snowdon

The Age of Confidence: Lisa Snowdon didn’t feel confident in her skin until age 50, as our eye-opening body confidence survey finds that 28% of women feel body conscious by age 16.

Many of us struggle with body image. This can start from a young age. And often, concerns about getting older or physical health drag us down in our later years.

But TENA aims to help. As neither age nor incontinence should define our lives.

To find out what most impacts women’s relationships with their bodies, TENA surveyed over 2,000 UK women. We wanted to get their perspective, to learn more about common body concerns and how we can overcome them together.

Model and presenter Lisa Snowdon came on board to discuss our findings. Lisa opened up about her own experiences and asked women how their body confidence has changed with age. 

Watch Lisa’s fun and revealing chat in the video above and read on to discover what the women of the UK really think about their bodies, as we give this tender topic the space it deserves.

21% of UK women feel most body positive between the ages of 21 and 30

For many UK women, a lack of body confidence is debilitating, with some having an up and down relationship with their bodies their entire lives.

The UK’s beloved presenter and model Lisa Snowdon confessed that she only found her age of confidence at 50 years old, while our survey respondents admitted that they felt the most confident between the ages of 21 and 30. 

When asked the age they first started to feel body conscious, 28% of women answered that it was by the age of 16. A concerning result, to say the least! 

28% of women start to feel self-concious before the age of 16

So, which factors play the biggest role in bringing down confidence in younger women? Our research on body image showed that cellulite, stretch marks, a specific skin condition and how they look in certain outfits are just some of the reasons why the younger generation has negative feelings towards their bodies. 

While the older generation pinpoints their lack of confidence to factors more closely related to ageing, like drooping breasts, incontinence, grey hairs, weight and wrinkles. Just 17% of women 65+ say they feel attractive.

Just 17% of women 65+ say they feel attractive

62% of parents worry their child will develop a negative body image

Finding that many women start to feel conscious by age 16, TENA dug deeper and asked the respondents if their own parents’ hang-ups influence this feeling. More than a third confirmed this is the case.

Often, parents don’t teach their kids about body confidence. This is totally understandable, considering most of us don’t know how to talk about it. Many parents didn’t discuss it themselves while growing up. 

Nearly two thirds admitted being concerned about their child developing a negative body image. Mother and daughter duo, Lynda and Grace, shared their advice on how to avoid this from happening: “I tell her to focus on who she is, rather than how she looks – for example, are you kind? Are you reliable?” added Lynda. “I like that she gives me compliments that have nothing to do with my appearance,” revealed Grace.

62% of mums worry their child will have a negative body image

Other mothers also shared some steps to prevent this. Over half said that they’ll push their children to focus on what a healthy body looks like. The second most popular choices were not commenting on their child's weight and making sure they have realistic beauty standards to compare to. 

Sadly, these good intentions are easier said than done. Our body confidence survey uncovered that comments made by their families caused many women to worry about their body shapes.

41% of UK women think that a negative relationship with their bodies affects their mental health

38% of respondents think women are expected to live up to unrealistic body standards. Among these, many voted that comparing themselves to celebrities and models on TV and social media knocks their confidence. 

Delving deeper, a whopping 41% admit having a negative relationship with their bodies affects their mental health. So, what can be done to stop this worsening?

Focusing on being active and exercising to improve your mental health, eating a healthier diet and practicing mindfulness for positive thinking are steps you can take to build your confidence back. Not only that, the participants in our research on body image want to see more attainable standards in magazines and movies too.

Finally, taking yourself to support groups around ageing or weight can help. It can prove you’re not alone – many more women are going through the same journey.

A third say weight affects their confidence the most

Almost 2 in 3 say that negative body image affects personal relationships

Everyone has had days when they feel more conscious about their appearance. Maybe you couldn’t fit into a dress any more or you’re struggling to deal with new issues. As a result, often people lash out and take their frustrations out on their loved ones, as they’re usually the most available.

So, it came as no surprise when almost 2 in 3 respondents admitted that a negative relationship with their bodies affects personal relationships.

Almost 2 in 3 say negative body image affects personal relationships

There are ways to feel better and more confident, such as learning to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. This means appreciating the compliments from the closest people around you. 40% say their partners help them feel the most confident, followed by their children and their friends. 

When asked if there are people who bring down their confidence, over half of respondents said no. Women are too often their own enemies, taking down themselves to begin with. The first step is to then be more kind to your own reflection, learn to celebrate the traits that you love about yourself and let go of the ones that bring you down. 

44% of women would feel embarrassed by developing incontinence

Is ageing a curse or a blessing? According to Lisa Snowdon and our case studies, it wasn’t until after the that they truly felt confident in their own skin. 

However, 34% of UK women believe that their body confidence has faded or will fade with age. Growing older can mean poorer physical health, which might contribute to thoughts that ageing equals being body conscious.

TENA then asked the body confidence survey respondents how they would feel if they had or how being incontinent currently makes them feel. 

44% say ‘embarrassed’, while feeling less attractive in their own bodies and more self-conscious were the next most common answers. 

44% would feel embarrassed by incontinence

These are also issues for TENA’s customers, usually caused by a lack of information and shared misconceptions.

‘Incontinence can be a side effect of ageing and menopause, and it is more common than you might believe – I didn’t drink anything before coming to this interview because I didn’t want to go to the toilet mid-way!’, case study Lynda confirmed in her honest chat with Lisa. 

For these reasons, TENA’s Silhouette range is here to help. The mix of pads and washable underwear are made to look just like your normal pants, while keeping you dry, odour-free and secure. Age and should not define you.

TENA’s aim has always been to make women feel good in their own skin, no matter their age or their physical health. To honour this, we decided to research body image to bring to the surface all the different body hang-ups that UK women have, to shine a light on them, to make them feel seen, heard and most importantly not alone. 

Read more inspiring women’s stories to learn some tips on how to build your body confidence.

It is time that women take ownership of their bodies, by being kind to themselves and one another, and not letting unattainable beauty standards or other people’s opinions affect them. No matter your age, the way you were raised or any changes to your body, join TENA in finding your own age of confidence.