Do you look in the mirror and feel like your skin just isn’t as tight and firm as it used to be? There are various reasons for loose skin, but as we age, we also lose collagen and elastin, the proteins that keep skin youthful.
In this post, we explore the way skin changes throughout our lives and the associated causes. Most importantly, we explain what you can do to help make loose skin look firmer and lift and tighten skin on your face and body.
As we all know, life isn’t always kind to our skin and wrinkles and sagging can begin to show over time. Many factors contribute to this, including:
1. Decreased collagen and elastin production — As you age, a decrease in collagen production as well as a reduction of elastin fibres reduces volume in the epidermis and your skin’s ability to stretch and contract, leading to loose skin.
2. Subcutaneous fat loss — The subcutaneous layer of fat beneath the skin is critical to keeping it firm and plump. As we age, this layer of fat decreases in our face, leading to loss of structural support and sagging skin.
3. Sun exposure — Over time, ultraviolet (UV) exposure from the sun can damage the skin and break down beneficial proteins, decreasing collagen and elastin fibres and leading to saggy skin. Prolonged exposure to the sun can also cause the epidermis — the outermost layer of the skin — to become thinner, making your skin appear less firm.
4. Environmental factors — Pollution isn’t just bad for the environment; it can also damage your skin. Exposure to air pollution breaks down collagen and elastin fibres and free radicals created by pollutants reduce cell regeneration, leading to loose skin.
5. Diet — If you eat a diet lacking in fruits and vegetables and consisting mostly of highly processed foods, you will likely be deficient in certain vitamins. Beta-carotene and vitamins C, E and A are found in fruit and vegetables and help to protect your skin from damage caused by free radicals, which may prevent or delay cell damage and sagging or loose skin.
6. Smoking — Smoking increases free radicals in our bodies, which leads to impaired cell regeneration and breaks down the collagen that helps to keep skin firm. If you smoke, you may find you have loose skin sooner than you should for your age.
7. Weight loss — Losing weight can make you feel great, but it can also leave you with loose skin. When you put on weight, your skin expands to accommodate the extra volume. But when you lose weight, the skin doesn’t always shrink back to its original tightness, leaving you with saggy skin or loose areas! This may be more severe if you are over 30, as other factors will also contribute to making your skin more prone to sagging.
8. Pregnancy — Pregnancy can be an incredible journey, but the physical changes it brings don’t just end with a growing bump; your skin also stretches to make room for your baby or babies! Additionally, hormones change during pregnancy, reducing collagen and elastin production and weakening your skin’s resilience against sagging — especially in women over 30.
9. Genetics — Bad luck! You may be genetically predisposed to having less elastic skin, making you more susceptible to sagging and wrinkles.
Depending on your amount of loose skin and the cause, it is normally possible to tighten skin with non-surgical cosmetic procedures.
This incredible treatment uses the power of your blood’s platelets to stimulate collagen and elastin production. This can help to tighten skin, although you will normally require a course of treatments to see a noticeable difference if you have loose skin. The cost of platelet-rich plasma (PRP rejuvenation) —also referred to as PRP therapy — is, on average, between £350-£500 per session.
Botox is the brand name for the most popular type of neurotoxin injection that can help reduce wrinkles and tighten skin. The results of just one treatment usually last anywhere from three to four months and Botox injections typically cost between £200-£400.
Dermal fillers are substances that “fill” loose skin and provide volume by replicating areas of subcutaneous fat lost due to ageing. Dermal fillers are one of the most popular and fast-acting aesthetic treatments to tighten skin and define contours.
There are various types of dermal fillers and some last longer than others. However, only one type of filler can be dissolved if there are complications or you don’t like the results. This is hyaluronic acid (HA) filler and it is found in your body, meaning it is far less likely to cause an adverse reaction when correctly administered.
Hyaluronic acid dermal filler treatments average between £200 and £400 depending on the area being treated. If you want your entire face treated, you should consider a specific treatment, often called a liquid facelift.
This treatment uses either a carbon dioxide or an erbium laser to precisely and carefully remove the outer layer of your skin ( the epidermis) layer-by-layer and heat the dermis to stimulate the growth of collagen, which results in firmer skin.
You’ll need multiple sessions to achieve a difference if you have saggy skin and recovery time can take up to a few weeks. The cost of laser resurfacing can vary. To treat your face and neck, you would generally expect to pay between £500-£700 for one treatment.
Aqualyx is a revolutionary injectable substance used as a fat-dissolving injection that can help to make skin look tighter where there are fat deposits. Because the fat dissolves gradually, the skin can contract — unlike with liposculpture when the immediate removal of fat cells leads to loss of volume and can result in loose skin.
This fat reduction treatment is great for reducing a double chin and can also be used to dissolve small deposits of fat in almost any area of the body. On average, three to five sessions will be needed, depending on the fat deposit being treated. The cost varies from £350-£500 based on the size of the treatment area.
N.B. Cost varies for aesthetic treatments, depending on how qualified and experienced the practitioner is and the products used. Although it may be tempting to go to the practitioner charging the lowest prices, they will likely not be medically qualified and consequently, the risk of complications increases.
Severe complications are rare when aesthetic treatments are performed correctly. However, the possibility of complications from aesthetic treatments — including blindness and skin necrosis (death of skin cells) — increase when aesthetic practitioners are not medically trained.
1. Drink plenty of water, so your skin stays hydrated.
2. Reduce your intake of processed food and drinks — and those high in sugar or that contain artificial flavours, colours and sweeteners.
3. Take supplements to boost the vitamins, nutrients and collagen that aid cell regeneration.
4. Always apply sunscreen with a factor of 30+ on exposed skin, whether it’s sunny or cloudy outside!
5. Incorporate retinoids or alpha hydroxy acids into your skincare routine.
As you age, don’t be discouraged — there are plenty of ways to fight back! Of course, it’s natural for your skin to lose elasticity over time, but external factors like pollution and UV rays, as well as diet and lifestyle choices, can majorly affect the condition of our skin.
When you desire a more dramatic difference in the appearance of loose skin, consider non-surgical aesthetic procedures. Botox and dermal fillers are extremely effective procedures to tighten skin or define the contours of your face. However, they do carry risks of complications and should only be applied following a consultation to ensure you can achieve the results you are seeking.