Wrinkles & Sagging Skin: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

What Causes Sagging Skin & What Can You Do About It?

Compare your skin from when you were a child until now. It will look significantly different than it did a few decades ago. Your skin will age over time, with changes to the color and texture. Noticeable sagging skin is very common. Regardless of your gender, saggy skin is part of growing older. There are a few solutions to loose skin, so consider your options as you learn more.

1. Causes of Sagging Skin

The skin is made up of several layers of tissue, with elasticity built into the structure. Both ​collagen and elastin are proteins that give your skin its flexibility​, reports the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Losing these proteins over time is the body's response to normal aging.

Take a look at these refined causes of loose skin as you dive deeper into this subject.

a. Aging Tissue

Everyone ages differently. As a result, your skin will reflect your lifestyle and genetics. People who neglect skincare or go out in the sun without sunscreen might see saggy skin earlier than others. Aging cannot be avoided, but it shows up sooner in those who don't care for their skin each day.

b. Losing Weight

Loose skin on the face and elsewhere happens when you lose weight. Losing even 10 pounds leaves the skin saggy in certain areas, such as the upper arms or neck. The body created skin to cover the extra weight. When you lose the fat, the skin doesn't automatically shrink. The tissue remains in place and appears loose.

c. Medical Issues

There are a few medical issues that might cause sagging skin, including:

  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Granulomatous slack skin
Saggy skin is a hallmark of these conditions. They're relatively rare, however, so most of the population doesn't have to worry about them. However, they’re important to consider if you do notice saggy skin without a clear cause. You might seek out medical help in order to rule out these diagnoses.
d. Pregnancy
The female body goes through an incredible metamorphosis during pregnancy. The torso stretches to accommodate the child. However, stretch marks and saggy skin often remain after the birth​, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Many women see the sagging skin as a testament to their childbirth success. However, remedies for the stretched skin may be appreciated as the body returns to normal over the subsequent months.

e. Genetics

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, genetics usually determines when a person's skin starts aging​. Part of the aging process is due to a reduction in cellular activity that contributes to firm skin. A sagging appearance is the result.

Because a person's genetics cannot be controlled, solutions to loose skin must be creative. Some people are simply blessed with better genes than others.

f. Sun Exposure

The U.S. National Library of Medicine points out that ​sun exposure affects the skin on several levels.Ultraviolet radiation impacts the upper layer while subtly affecting the biological processes underneath. In fact, a number of different studies have been done on sun exposure and loose skin. The findings have consistently shown negative impacts on the skin from sun exposure each time.

2. Seeking Out Treatment

Taking control of your appearance is a natural response to skin changes. There are several treatment options that can work for your skin, from skin tightening treatments to lifestyle changes. Every person will respond differently to these solutions.

Consider the best route for your health and appearance by analyzing these strategies below.

a. Lifestyle Changes

Learning how to tighten facial skin with lifestyle changes takes some attention to detail. If you're a fan of sleeping on your stomach, try laying on your back from now on. Placing weighted stress on your face and neck can contribute to sagging skin, which is what happens when you're a stomach sleeper. The skin can breathe when you sleep on your back.

Try facial exercises that can tighten the skin too. Opening and closing your jaw, for example, is an exercise that helps the jowls. Remember that your face is full of muscles that need a good workout.

b. Topical Solutions

There are topicals or lotions that are dedicated to sagging or aging skin. Actually, there's an entire marketplace dedicated to it. Retinols are the most common ingredient in skin-tightening treatments.

Retinols are definitely effective on saggy skin, but it's important to understand the science behind these products. No topical will magically fix the sagging tissue overnight. Ideally, dermatologists suggest regular use of an appropriate product to see the best results. Creams, ointments and other topicals are useful when they're part of a consistent beauty regimen.

c. Surgical Options

A more radical approach to saggy skin is minimally invasive or traditional surgeries. Minor procedures might include:

  • Resurfacing
  • Laser solutions

Major surgery includes lifts and tucks around the affected areas.

Surgical options should only be considered if absolutely necessary. Any surgery has some risk to it. Trying lifestyle changes and prevention strategies will always be safer and more cost-effective in the end. Surgeries usually come with an expensive price tag.

3. Prevention Strategies

Stopping saggy skin from appearing in the first place is a practical goal. It's possible to fend off extreme sagging with a few prevention strategies. Ideally, try a mixture of tips to see a significant difference in your appearance.

a. Control Stress

Physical and mental stress will contribute to saggy skin. Surround yourself with positive people and experiences. Avoid situations where negative encounters are the norm. Your mental state can cause physical changes to the skin, including inflammation, that eventually lead to saggy skin. Bags under the eyes, for example, are sagging skin from ​stress and lack of sleep​, reports the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Although no one can be stress-free, try to control the factors that might impact your life each day.

b. Eliminate Smoking and Drinking Alcoholic Beverages

Both of these habits are toxic to healthy skin at any age. Reduce or eliminate their use altogether. Drink plenty of water instead of alcohol, for example. Calm that craving for a cigarette by taking up a sport or exercising each day.

Hydrating the body also adds moisture to the skin, which can fight off sagging. Exercise firms up the muscles below the skin. The result is firmer skin because of the increased bulk among the muscle fibers.

c. Consider Dietary Changes

Several studies have pinpointed the association of a ​healthy diet with firmer skin​, reports the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Healthy foods should have a mixture of these characteristics, including:

  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamins
  • "Good" fats (labeled as monounsaturated or polyunsaturated)

The nutrients absorbed by your digestive system will reflect on your skin. When the body has enough nutrients to heal the tissues, the sagging skin may look better in time. Healthy foods must be a daily habit, however, in order to benefit from the nutrients. Mix up your meals with bright vegetables and fruits to boost your skin-firming strategy.

d. Prioritize Rest

Aside from how you physically rest during the night, the amount of sleep you get is critical as you fight off saggy skin as well. Most adults need around seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Don't compromise on rest. In fact, it's important for nearly every tissue in the human body. The skin, heart, brain, muscles and countless other organs need rest in order to work properly during the day. Give your skin the time to rejuvenate during the night as you wear a topical, for example.

From retinols to more exercise, a combination of solutions for loose skin may be your answer. Remember that skin will age with time, but you can help it to look better. Be proactive about your skincare regimen, and in time, you'll notice a pleasing difference.