Almost everyone experiences saggy skin at some point in their lives, and with the advent of social media, it has become increasingly important to present a smooth, clear face to the world. The problem with this face-centric approach to youthfulness, however, is that it neglects the other 90% of the body, such as the skin in the neck, which can become a telltale sign of aging by as early as 40 years old.
What Causes Saggy Skin?
When firm skin is stretched, it bends and snaps back into place; aging skin, on the other hand, droops and sags. There are two important proteins that keep skin youthful: elastin and collagen. With time, the body produces less and less of these compounds, causing the skin to sag. UV exposure, air pollution, and poor diet can also accelerate wrinkling.
Because neck skin is thin and constantly subjected to muscle movement, it ages faster than skin elsewhere on the body, and is especially susceptible to the effects of weight gain and loss. Weight gain, for example, limits collagen production, so neck skin will accordingly lose its elasticity; losing a significant amount of weight, on the contrary, can make neck skin sag.
Pregnancy also affects skin elasticity. Typically, pregnant women will be left with stretch marks and excess skin around the abdomen once they give birth. Another cause of saggy skin can be Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a genetically inherited disorder that affects 1 in 5,000 people. People with Ehlers-Danlos cannot produce normal amounts of collagen, so their skin becomes doughy and droopy.
How Can I Non-Surgically Treat Saggy Skin?
Not everyone is ready to bite the bullet and get surgery, so here are some ways to fix that loose skin without going under the knife:
- Pilates use specific movements to strengthen and tighten the body’s legs, glutes, core, and arms.
- Weightlifting and resistance training build muscle mass and strengthen the skin.
- Facial exercises can tighten the skin around the chin, throat, and jowls. There is also a routine called ‘face yoga,’ which many believe can smoothen wrinkles.
Supplements and Topical Treatments
Oral collagen and hyaluronic acid supplements can tighten aging skin. Lotions, creams, and serums with retinol can also improve elasticity around the eyes and cheek areas. Many over-the-counter products are available for skin care, and prescription retinoids, such as tretinoin and retin-A, boost collagen production in the body (these are typically more effective than over-the-counter remedies).
Micro-needling can clear up wrinkles, acne scars, and tighten saggy skin. The PiXel8-RF, a commonly used micro-needling device, uses bipolar energy to heat up the epidermis, leaving the skin clearer and more elastic. This machine also promotes collagen growth by causing hemostasis and coagulation, which make the skin firmer. Common problem areas, like the cheeks, eyes, brows, and forehead, are no match for the PiXel8-RF.
Kybella is an FDA-approved injectable formula that eliminates fat under the chin and around the neck. The active ingredient, deoxycholic acid, is found naturally in the body and plays a vital role in breaking down fat cells. Kybella uses this acid to burn away the membranes of fat cells for natural-looking improvements. A Kybella treatment is known as a “non-surgical neck lift” because it does not require any incisions and lasts permanently.
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