Due to the dermal extracellular matrix, composed of collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans (read: hyaluronic acid) your skin starts to sag at a certain age. Of course, environmental factors like sun exposure, stress, pollution, and smoking lead to the breakdown as well — causing wrinkles and sagging skin.
Our face changes everyday actually, from the bones of our skull to the fat and muscles underneath the skin. In fact, tons of the underlying support structures that hold up the skin start to diminish as the fat from our cheeks shift downward to the jawline. The result: Face sagging.
Basically, the framework of our faces lose density and structure. Gravity works to keep sucking it down. All the fat pads you had as a adolescent or young adult starts to shrink and disappear.
The good news: You can make changes right now to fix this, here’s how.
1. Adjust your diet
A diet high in sugar and bad fatty acids (fast food) can have sugar binding and accelerating the sagging and aging of the skin. To combat, make sure you are drinking enough water, and maintain a low-glycemic index diet. Alcohol is also a diuretic — helping to deplete your body’s natural source of water. So maybe lessen up on it.
2. Stop smoking
Smoking has been known to weaken the skin by creating pigment changes and texture irregularities. And if you don’t smoke, avoid exposure to secondhand smoke. This is because smoke contains free radicals that can oxidate and damage human tissue.
3. Regulate your weight
Irregular weight changes, especially a huge decrease in weight, will affect the skin’s sagginess.
4. Avoid excess sun exposure
Over exposure to ultraviolet light can cause a deduction in collagen and elastin — the thing that makes our skin firm. To adjust, use sunscreen with SPF 30 or 50, daily.
Now that you know the lifestyle changes you can make, below are some topical treatments that can help firm up sagging skin.
Luckily, certain ingredients in topical creams can gradually help. Warning, though: They might not be as big of a help as say, a cosmetic procedure, but you will feel the effects in the most non-invasive way. It should be noted that topical products work primarily to stimulation the formation of collagen, elastin and other structural components.
When you’re looking for new products, try to read the labels and see if they have evidence to back their claims. Some important products to watch for are below.
1. Antioxidants, plant extracts, and peptides
These act as an agent in the production of new collagen. Look for Vitamin C and E, niacinamide plant extracts, and peptides (amino acids that penetrate the skin and signal to the cells that it’s time to produce more collage and elastin) as they will target the extracellular matrix to address the loss of structure and elasticity.
Help slow the sagging process and is the highest level of medical support for sagging skin. Retinoids lighten age spots, firm skin, and improve surface texture.
Surprising but it is a vasoconstrictor — basically, it shrinks blood vessels allowing the blood flow to decrease while simultaneously reducing inflammation and redness. Caffeine is often used in eye creams as it depuffs the swollen areas of the skin. Studies also show that regular massaging of the cream to affected areas will improve circulation and appearance of the skin.
4. Hydroxy Acids
Also known as fruit acids, these are used for anti-aging as well. Hydroxy acids will increase epidermal proliferation, thickness, and hydration.
Of course, skin sagginess is a natural product of aging. If you want to fight aging further, try purslane extract.