Folds or a droopy look may be adorable on a Shar‐Pei or Basset Hound. Not so much on us. Sagging or lax skin is one of the chief complaints about aging. Let’s explore why it happens, what we can do to slow the process and how to improve our appearance.
Sagging skin becomes evident around the eyebrows and eyelids, lower face under the cheeks, around the mouth, along the jaw, and in the neck. Sagging of the lower face and neck can be the most distressing. The face becomes fuller at the bottom, jowls can form, and loose skin forms.
WHY SKIN LAXITY HAPPENS
- Loss of Fat
- Slowing of Collagen Production
- Reduced Elastin
- Deterioration of Muscle and Connective Tissue
Yes, gravity, that eternal pull on most areas of our body. It’s unavoidable, just as part of how we age is related to our DNA. Moving on.
Loss of fat in our face
In our youthful face, we have areas of fat which keep our skin plump and taut. As we age, these areas of fat begin to diminish. This allows the skin to sag. The areas where fat loss is most noticed is in the temples, under the eyes, and in the cheek area. When the fat pads under our eyes diminish, it can give us a tired or hollow look. Sometimes the fat pads shift downward, causing the look of bags underneath the eyes. Loss of fat in the cheek area tends to flatten out our once youthful, rounded cheeks. Fat loss in this area (the midface) combined with gravity causes the skin to sag and make us look squared oﬀ in the lower face. Folds in the lower face and jowls are evidence of this.
Slowing of collagen production
As we age our metabolism slows, so does our collagen production. Collagen is the foundation for our skin. It provides the structure and support for our skin and makes our skin look subtle.
We make less elastin
Quite simply, it’s what gives our skin its elasticity. Elasticity allows our skin to return to a smooth shape after stretching or contracting.
Muscle and connective tissue deteriorates
Reduced muscle tone leaves our skin less taut. Couple this with the weakening of connective tissue and you begin to see why skin sags. The framework for our skin simply weakens over time.
HOW TO DELAY SAGGING SKIN
Though we can’t stop aging, we can slow the process. Here are basic principles to remember in keeping our skin and body functioning optimally as we age.
- Eat Healthy Foods
- Quality Skincare Routine
- Use Sunscreen Faithfully
- Drink Water
- Aesthetic Treatments
Stay Fit with Exercise
Many studies have shown that regular exercise keeps us more ﬁt and healthy… body and skin. Even people who have been rather sedentary until their 50s and 60s can start to exercise and improve their health and appearance of their skin.
We know the basics of a healthy diet – lots of vegetables and fruit, healthy fats, protein, whole grains, and some low-fat dairy. Then there are the anti-aging superfoods. These foods contain supplies of phytochemicals, antioxidants, and magnesium to name a few. These power foods play an important role in slowing the aging process. Superfoods include blueberries, almonds, tomatoes, flaxseed, spinach, beans, wild salmon, yogurt and turmeric. Avoid carbs and sugary foods. Consuming sugar‐ and carb‐rich foods can actually accelerate aging according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Stay committed to a Skincare Ritual
Feed your face with things that can help prevent sagging. Think retinols and peptides. Retinol-based products are a must in your skincare routine. Retinol is clinically proven to reduce wrinkles and increase elasticity and collagen production. Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, aids in collagen production and fights free radical damage. Peptides, found in many skincare products, are great communicators that signal our body to make more collagen.
ZO SkinHealth Wrinkle + Repair
ZO SkinHealth Growth Factor Serum
ZO SkinHealth C‐Bright 10% Vitamin C
The sun’s UV damage to our skin over time results in a breakdown of elastin. This damage and loss of elastin over time allow our skin to sag and stretch. Sun damage you receive WILL show up eventually. Sure the sun feels great, but there are things you can do to protect yourself. Always wear sunscreen. Always. Stay out of the harshest sun, between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm. And wear a hat when outdoors for extended periods of time.
ZO SkinHealth Daily Sheer Broad-Spectrum SPF 50
EltaMD Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
The cells in our body need water in order to function properly. Water allows our organs to function normally and to replenish tissues of our skin. If organs and tissue aren’t getting the amount of water they need, we can become dehydrated. Dehydration can aﬀect concentration, mood, alertness and short-term memory. Not only do we need water for healthy skin, but we also need it for our entire body. Mayo Clinic has devised a formula to determine how much water to drink:
- Take your weight (in lbs) and divide it by 2.2
- Multiply that number by your age
- Divide that sum by 28.3
- Your total is how many ounces of water you should drink each day
How are you doing on your water intake?
As we lose fat and soft tissue in our face, it begins to look somewhat like a balloon deflating. Dermal fillers can restore the volume we lose over time. Dermal fillers are temporary treatments for the aging face and will need to be repeated for long-term results.
Dermal fillers can:
- Enhance shallow contours around the eyes
- Soften facial wrinkles and creases
- Contour the face for a more deﬁned appearance
- Plump thin lips
- Round out the cheeks
- Plump hollow temples
As our collagen production begins to slow in our early 30s, there are in-oﬃce treatments that can keep our collagen and elastin simulated. These treatments include radiofrequency, laser and ultrasound. Energy from these treatments is delivered below the skin’s surface, jumpstarting the regenerative process to produce new collagen. Skin will begin to tighten and lift over time as collagen begins to build.
We feel the Venus Viva is a superior skin tightening technology. Venus Viva is based on nanofractional radiofrequency and SmartScan technology to deliver energy deep into the dermis. This creates a signiﬁcant collagen remodeling process for fresher, younger looking skin. And unlike other laser and ultrasound based technologies, has very minimal discomfort and no downtime.
Learn more about Venus Viva >>
Microneedling also amps collagen production through controlled wound healing. Microneedling produces tiny wounds in the skin. The body’s response is to heal the wounds and does so by producing new collagen. Microneedling is commonly referred to as collagen induction therapy. Many clients do a series of three treatments spaced a month apart.
Learn more about microneedling >>
Maintaining a youthful appearance is a combination of living a healthy lifestyle, taking care of your skin and including aesthetic treatments in your skincare routine.