Saggy Skin

Saggy skin can be an all-too-common side effect of losing weight on both the face and body. Another cause of saggy skin is the deterioration or reduction of collagen and elastin in the dermis.

Saggy skin can affect anyone, but it is more common in people as they get older. People who have lost a significant amount of weight are especially vulnerable. It’s also possible that certain medical conditions are to blame.

Sagging skin is difficult to treat at home, but there are various skin-tightening options available, ranging from over-the-counter products to surgical procedures.

What causes saggy skin? 

Firm skin can stretch and snap back into place easily. When skin loses this ability, it starts to sag. Saggy skin can happen almost anywhere on the body. Common areas where you might see saggy skin include:

  • eyelids
  • jowls
  • chin
  • throat
  • upper arms
  • stomach

A number of factors can cause saggy skin. They are as follows:

Aging

Elastin and collagen, two important proteins produced in the dermis, are lost as the skin ages. Elastin gives skin elasticity, as its name implies. It gives you firm skin that bounces back when you stretch it.

Fibroblasts are the cells that make collagen. Collagen is responsible for skin’s tautness and firmness. Collagen is made up of tightly-woven fibers that aid in the structure and firmness of the skin.

As people get older, their ability to produce elastin and collagen decreases. External factors can also cause these two proteins to deteriorate over time, such as:

  • UV exposure
  • cigarette smoke is one of the most harmful pollutants in the environment.
  • several lifestyle factors, such as poor nutrition and excessive alcohol consumption

Too much sun exposure combined with a lack of attention to your skin and health can hasten the aging process. At a younger age, this can cause your skin to appear saggy and wrinkled.

Weight loss

The collagen and elastin fibers in your skin can be damaged by carrying extra weight for an extended period. The skin has a more challenging time snapping back when you lose weight because of this. You may develop saggy skin if you lose 100 pounds or more.

When weight loss is rapid, such as after bariatric surgery, sagging skin is more likely. These weight loss procedures can sometimes result in a lot of sagging, drooping skin hanging around the body.

Because younger skin recovers more quickly, your age at the time of weight loss may influence how saggy your skin becomes.

Pregnancy

After pregnancy, it’s common to develop some saggy, loose skin. Women who are pregnant with multiples, such as twins or triplets, may experience more sagging skin around the abdomen than women expecting a single child. The age of the mother could also be a factor.

Illness

Saggy skin is associated with several medical conditions. One of these is granulomatous slack skin, a very rare subtype of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

The skin on the elbows and knees gradually sags in people who have this condition. Treatment for saggy skin caused by granulomatous slack skin is typically ineffective.

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), a rare inherited connective tissue disorder, is another cause of sagging skin. EDS causes a defect in collagen production, resulting in saggy, doughy skin, especially on the face.

Treatment options for saggy skin

There are things you can do to reduce or eliminate a saggy skin area if you’re concerned about it. The amount of sagging skin varies from minor to significant. Consider the following factors when deciding on treatment options:

  • the areas of the body where sagging occurs
  • the amount of sagging
  • your feelings about your condition

To reduce minor sagging

You can try at-home options on your face and body if you have minor sagging or will be satisfied with modest results. They are as follows:

Exercise

Exercise can help to improve saggy skin on the body caused by moderate weight loss or pregnancy. Any exercise that increases muscle mass and tightens muscles can reduce the appearance of minor skin sagging. Consider the following scenario:

  • Weight lifting or resistance training. Muscle mass can be increased by working out with weights, machines, or resistance bands.
  • Pilates. Pilates, also known as Contrology, is a tightening method and strengthening the body’s core, glutes, legs, and arms through controlled movements.
  • Facial exercise. Facial exercises have a small amount of evidence to help with sagging skin around the chin, jowls, and throat. Many yoga proponents believe that certain exercises can help with sagging facial skin. Simhasana is a great pose to try for this (Lion Pose).

Supplements

Oral supplements containing ingredients like collagen and hyaluronic acid have been shown in several studies to reduce age-related sagging skin.

Topical treatments

Retinol-containing creams, lotions, and serums may improve the elasticity of the skin around the eyes and on the face. Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications can both help.

Retinoids, such as tretinoin and Retin-A, are prescription medications that increase collagen production. These are more likely to produce significant results than their over-the-counter counterparts.

Lifestyle changes

Staying hydrated, wearing sunscreen, and avoiding harmful habits like smoking are all important. 

To reduce moderate sagging

Saggy skin can benefit from non-invasive and minimally invasive treatments that improve tone and elasticity. They’re most effective when used in conjunction with healthy lifestyle choices like not smoking and never tanning. A dermatologist performs the following procedures:

  • Laser therapy. Several types of laser therapy treatments can aid in collagen production and skin tone improvement. After several treatments, most people see the best results. Laser therapy can help you firm up your upper arms, stomach, and other body parts.
  • Laser resurfacing. This highly effective procedure also employs a laser, but it is more invasive and requires a more extended recovery period, typically two weeks. The upper layers of skin are removed with laser resurfacing, and heat is sent deep into the lower layers. Laser peeling is a term that has been used to describe this procedure.
  • Micro-focused ultrasound (MFU). This technique uses heat to penetrate deep into the skin layers, promoting collagen production and lifting sagging skin. It may take several months before you notice a difference in the firmness and elasticity of your skin. Ultrasound results are not permanent and usually last about a year.

Home Treatment for Saggy Skin in your Face

Aside from the surgical and other medical procedures mentioned earlier, you can firm up your jawline by including facial exercises in your skincare routine. Try these exercises eight to twelve times in a row, each time holding the pose for about five seconds:

  • Close your mouth as wide as possible (like a yawn) without touching your teeth.
  • Puff your lips outwards as you lie down. Pull the mouth downwards with your fingers.
  • Blow your cheeks up and out.
  • With your head tilted up, chew.
  • Move your head up and down while smiling as wide as you can.
  • Close your mouth and tilt your head back.
  • Pull your chin down to your neck while lying down.
  • Your tongue should be pressed against the roof of your mouth as you hum.

Bottom Line

Saggy skin isn’t a medical problem, and it doesn’t affect everyone. However, for some people, it can be aggravating or have a negative impact on their self-esteem. If your saggy skin isn’t responding to at-home treatments, talk to your doctor about your options.

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