As the years go by, our skin becomes thinner and loses elasticity. This results in dry, crinkly, crepe-paper-like skin that is difficult to treat. So prevention’s better than cure.
As we age, sun damage, weight fluctuations and genetics all have an effect on the appearance of our skin and its elasticity. It’s the elastin fibers within our skin that allows it to return to its original shape after stretching or contracting.
Let’s begin with facial aging. The changes that we observe, fine lines and wrinkles, are primarily the result of sun damage and smoking. And the visible loss of volume due to rapid weight loss or simply age, is because of the thinning of the underlying fatty layer and stretching of the ligaments that attach the facial musculature.
Sagging skin around the torso and lower body is usually attributed to extreme weight fluctuations and reduced muscle mass. Excessive weight changes will break or weaken the supportive elastin fibers in the dermis, resulting in stretch marks. Once this occurs, the stretchable strength within the dermis is lost and the skin cannot bounce back to restore its original shape. This is similar to when a rubber band is stretched beyond its limit and remains weakened.
What are the best tips to prevent sagging skin?
- Avoid sun damage. The number one cause for premature aging. Use sunblock when outdoors. Avoid sun exposure during peak hours (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.).
- Don’t smoke; smoking is the second most common cause of premature aging.
- For your facial skin, incorporate a skincare regimen that includes exfoliation (salicylic and alpha hydroxy acids), hydration (hyaluronic acid), rejuvenation (retinol-based compounds) and nutrition (amino acids, vitamin C and E).
- Lose weight slowly. While dieting, maintain your protein and nutritional needs (avoid starvation and dehydration). Preserve your muscle mass by incorporating strength training in your workout regimen.
- Avoid fatty, processed foods that are high in sugars. Foods that have a high sugar content increase your circulating insulin levels. Elevated insulin leads to increased inflammation in your body, and elevated Inflammatory levels are linked to early cellular damage.
Ultimately, our skin will lose some of its tone as we age, but with simple preventative measures, we can age gracefully and preserve our youthful appearance for decades.