Let us be honest. Expecting baby-soft, firm, and supple skin as you age is futile. After all, aging is a natural process. No cream, dermatologist, or DIY hack can claim otherwise.
However, you can keep your skin tight, healthy, soft, and firm as you age. We show you how to reverse the signs of aging and keep your skin radiant through the years in this article. But first, let us address what firmer skin means.
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What Does Firmer Skin Mean?
Firm skin basically refers to your skin’s ability to bounce back into place after you stretch or pull at it. Two proteins – collagen and elastin – are responsible for providing your skin with the required amount of suppleness, firmness, softness, and flexibility. According to research, your body is made up of 30-40% of collagen protein, which gradually reduces as you age (1).
Typically, areas such as your face, neck, abdomen, and arms are the first to lose skin elasticity and firmness as you age. We cover the tell-tale signs of aging skin below.
How Do You Know If Your Skin Lacks Firmness?
If you are wondering what old, saggy skin looks like, here are some pointers for you:
- Fine lines appear around your eyes.
- There is sagging around the eyes, jawline, and neck.
- Your skin looks stretched and does not immediately spring back into place when you pinch the sides of your cheeks.
If you have noticed all these signs, your skin is beginning to lose firmness. Now, let us look at what causes your skin to sag as you age.
What Causes The Skin To Sag As You Age?
Sagging, dull, and wrinkled skin, as well as changes in your face shape and contour, are caused by factors such as:
- Internal Factors
- External Factors
These include excessive exposure to sunlight, pollution, chemicals, and toxins that expose our bodies to free radicals and eventually lead to collagen loss and premature sagging (2). Collagen is one of the most abundantly found proteins in the body and is vital for ensuring skin health. As you age, the body loses collagen naturally.
- Reduced Skin Elasticity
- Rapid Weight Loss
According to a study, a significant amount of weight loss can lead to hanging, saggy skin (4). As you gain weight, your skin tends to stretch, damaging the collagen and elastin fibers in the process (5). However, if you end up losing weight too quickly, your skin, after years of being stretched, loses elasticity and may not be able to fit onto the smaller body frame. Thus, it starts hanging loose (4).
- Consuming Too Much Sugar
Consuming too much sugar leads to the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). This can lower the production of new collagen and elastin, leading to skin sagging (6).
So, now that you have a basic understanding of what causes premature sagging, here’s how you can reverse skin aging with the various treatment options available at your disposal.
How To Reverse Skin Aging
For many people, reversing skin aging involves going through aggressive surgical procedures. However, that is not required. There are various at-home remedies and cosmetic treatments you can try to preserve your skin’s firmness. These include:
I. Non-Surgical Methods
1. Anti-Aging Firming Creams
Anti-aging firming creams that contain vitamins A, B3, C, and E are rich in antioxidants and boost collagen production. Also, look for ingredients like retinoids, collagen, and elastin, which have potent anti-aging benefits (2).
Make sure to use the cream every day and follow a dedicated skin care routine that includes wearing sunscreen without fail.
2. Facial Exercises
Maintaining an at-home facial exercise regimen for about 30 minutes for at least 20 weeks can improve mid-face and lower face fullness and increase muscle growth (9).
You can complement your facial exercise regimen with a jade roller or a gua sha stone to tone and relax your facial muscles and boost blood circulation. However, note that the efficacy of using such tools has not been scientifically proven yet.
3. Oral Supplements
There is some scientific evidence that claims that oral supplements can offer anti-aging benefits (10). Also termed as functional foods, they contain carotenoids, polyphenols, vitamins C and E, red ginseng, omega-3 fatty acids, collagen peptides, etc. These ingredients can be effective in providing hydration, reducing dullness, and enhancing the overall appearance of your skin.
Some supplements that you can take include:
- Collagen Peptides
Consuming collagen dipeptides may significantly improve skin moisture, elasticity, wrinkles, and roughness (11).
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C supplements pose a variety of skin benefits, such as repairing damaged skin cells, boosting collagen production, delaying skin aging, and assisting in wound healing (12).
II. Cosmetic Procedures
Cosmetic surgeries for getting rid of excess skin include abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and mastopexy (breast lift).
These treatments can potentially reverse skin damage and regenerate the elastic fiber system and collagen (12). However, please consult your dermatologist before undergoing any cosmetic procedure to understand the side effects.
Some common and effective cosmetic procedures include:
1. Chemical Peels
This minimally invasive procedure is great for improving your skin texture and elasticity, as it can assist in repairing and regenerating your skin cells (2). It also increases collagen fiber and water content in your skin.
Note that chemical peels can be performed on your face, neck, and hands and ideally should be done every 4-6 weeks.
2. Laser Resurfacing
Laser resurfacing can be effective in counteracting photoaging. Common types of laser surfacing treatments include fractionated CO2lasers and erbium glass or erbium-YAG lasers. These devices emit pixelated light onto the skin, which works towards wound healing and skin tightening (2).
Remember that these types of treatments require multiple sessions to be effective. Plus, the results will not be permanent, and the normal aging process can relapse.
3. Injectable Skin Rejuvenation And Dermal Fillers
Fillers are products injected into the skin. They contain a cocktail of ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, nutrients, hormones, amino acids, autologous cultured fibroblasts, homeopathic products, etc.
These injectables can reduce wrinkles, assist in wound healing, and boost the synthesis of collagen, elastin, and HA (hyaluronic acid) (2).
4. Botulinum Toxin (BTX)
Regular BTX injections can reduce certain dynamic facial lines and wrinkles, thereby slowing down the visible aging process (2).
5. Autologous Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)
PRP is derived from fresh whole blood, which contains a high concentration of platelets. This treatment is widely used for skin rejuvenation by boosting collagen production (2).
These are some of the natural and cosmetic treatment options that can help make your skin firm and give it a tight lift. Now, let us see whether certain skin firming techniques are better for specific areas of the body.
Do Some Skin Tightening Techniques Work Better On Different Areas?
Yes, different firming techniques work better on different parts of the body. For instance, ultrasound skin tightening and over-the-counter lotions and creams work better for tightening the skin on your face and neck.
Weight training exercises that help build mass work better for tightening areas around the arms and legs. In contrast, laser resurfacing treatment is preferred for tightening the skin around the abdomen. Always consult a dermatologist before proceeding with these treatments, whether natural or cosmetic.
Next, let us check out some tips to follow to maintain a firmer body and face.
Expert Tips To Keep Your Skin Tight And Firm
If you wish to know how to keep your skin tight and firm, here are some expert-approved tips that work as long as you follow them diligently:
- Use A Moisturizer Every Day
Moisturizers contain substances, such as dimethicone, petrolatum, mineral oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, etc., that can reduce water loss and, in turn, boost skin firmness.
Opt for a serum or a moisturizer that contains peptides or antioxidant-rich vitamins B3, C, and E. These can boost collagen and elastin production while keeping your skin firm and hydrated (2).
- Sun Protection
An important tip for ensuring firm skin is protecting it at all times from the sun. Using a lightweight SPF 30 or higher sunscreen can help you avoid UV damage.
- Keep Yourself Hydrated
As mentioned earlier, hydration is key for your skin’s natural functioning. Make sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to stay hydrated.
- Do Not Compromise On Your Sleep
Lack of sleep can cause skin dehydration, decrease skin elasticity, and accelerate the onset of wrinkles (13). Getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night allows your skin to repair itself from the wear-and-tear of everyday activities.
- Limit Exposure To Environmental Risk Factors
Research claims that by reducing smoking, focusing on good nutrition, and limiting exposure to sunlight, you can prevent premature skin aging (12).
Having saggy, dull skin is an age-old concern with damaging physical and psychological effects. But, it is a natural process caused by loss of collagen, rapid weight loss, pregnancy, and overexposure to the sun, among other factors.
You can delay the aging process by trying the various home and cosmetic treatments outlined above. That said, make sure to speak to a dermatologist to understand the pros, cons, and side effects of any supplements, lotions, or treatments that you wish to try.
- 12 Best Skin Tightening Creams for 2020 in India
- How To Tighten Skin On The Face Naturally
- India’s Top 10 Best Facial Firming Creams 2021
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