What causes sagging skin and can you treat it?

We said it once, we’ll say it again. Getting old is a privilege. That said, sagging skin can be a bugbear for many of us. Is there a way to un-sag (we are aware it’s not even a word) the skin? And what can you do to prevent it?

The reasons why skin starts to sag

As we get older, the levels of collagen and elastin drop, which has a direct impact on the volume and elasticity of the skin. If we are not diligent with sunscreen, the cumulative UV damage starts to show. UV rays slow down the production of new collagen and have a significant impact on existing collagen (they break it down). Another factor is weight loss. Sagging can occur if you lose a significant amount of weight, or if the weight loss happens rapidly. Menopause or certain medical conditions can contribute to sagging skin. Sagging is most notable in the neck area, cheeks, and jaw.

What can you do about sagging skin?

As always, prevention is better than a cure. A varied diet rich in fruit and veg and regular exercise all help to keep you healthy and your skin looking taut. No smoking and no alcohol helps.
Face-lift in a jar doesn’t exist. You can’t expect to see a notable, long-term difference from a topical product. That said, some products can help over time. Daily use of sunscreen prevents UV damage (and protects you against skin cancer). In turn, this protects the skin against the cumulative UV damage that is the main reason our skin ages and loses its elasticity.

Retinol is another ingredient to look for. It is a star skincare ingredient for a reason – it boosts collagen production over time. Likewise, regular use of Alpha-Hydroxy acids boosts deep cell renewal. It hydrates, refines, and renews the skin.

Another great product to have in your skincare stash is an antioxidant serum. Notable ingredients would include vitamin C, B3, and E, resveratrol, and Superoxide Dismutase. All of these prevent further UV damage by protecting the skin against free radical damage. They boost collagen synthesis, have anti-inflammatory properties, and even out the skin tone.

Non-invasive treatments

The beauty industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the years, and non-invasive treatments can give outstanding results. The added benefit is no downtime required.
Radiofrequency involves placing the device against the skin and warming the tissue underneath. The aim is to boost collagen production. It ordinarily requires several treatments to notice the results. Some therapists claim the effects can last up to 3 years with proper after-care. Ultrasound works similarly and requires several treatments.

Laser treatment, on the other hand, works on the epidermis (the top layer of the skin). It sends the heat deeper into the skin, and the damage to the skin should be minimal. Laser resurfacing is more invasive, but it is considered the most effective procedure. It can boost collagen production, fade hyperpigmentation, and minimise fine lines and wrinkles. Laser resurfacing is effective, but it does require some recovery time.

Invasive treatments

retinol and retinoids have same benefits

Last, but not least – a facelift. Obviously, every one of us is different and several factors make someone a suitable candidate for a facelift. In most cases, a good candidate is someone who has some loose skin on their face or neck, but the bone structure is defined and the skin has elasticity. This is important because the results will be more noticeable and it speeds up healing time. Likewise, it’s important to remember a facelift is a surgery. People with no pre-existing medical conditions and non-smokers make better candidates.

Roberta Striga