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Health

Saggy Skin in Old Age: Why It Happens and What to Do About It

Your skin goes through changes throughout your life.

The skin you had in your youth will not be the same as your skin when you have reached your senior years. For example, if you had oily skin as a teenager, you will notice that your skin starts to become dry as you grow older. Instead of removing moisture from your face, you will want to add it back. Dry skin emphasizes the appearance of fine lines and increases wrinkles.

Factors such as hormones, sun exposure, and age lead to decreased sebum, the natural oils that keep your skin hydrated and protected throughout the day. After menopause, women typically see their skin become dry because their sebaceous glands produce less sebum.

Another change in your skin that will occur because of age is sagging.

Why Skin Sag

Sagging is a common occurrence, especially among older folks. You see, with age, the skin loses collagen and elastin — two proteins responsible for the elasticity and bounciness of the skin. Young people have no problem with their skin sagging because they still have their collagen and elastin intact. Even if they lose or gain weight, their skin can easily extend or snap back in place. Those who lost a significant amount of weight within a short period might see their skin sag. However, typically, it is a problem experienced by seniors.

It does not happen overnight. It is a process that gradually occurs over time. Many factors also contribute toward sagging skin, such as long-term and frequent exposure to ultraviolet rays, everyday environmental pollutants, poor nutrition, and alcohol consumption.

Sometimes, illness can also lead to sagging skin. One rare condition associated with saggy skin is granulomatous slack skin, which causes the development of pendulous skin, commonly in the axillae and the groin. However, it happens very infrequently.

Unfortunately, when the skin becomes saggy, it is challenging to get it back to its original state. However, it is not impossible to improve the elasticity and appearance of your skin.

For Significant Sagging: Go Under the Knife

The quickest way to get rid of saggy skin is through cosmetic surgery. When you undergo a procedure, a professional will remove the excess skin on a problem area. Different types of surgeries address saggy skin, including abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), brachioplasty (arm lift surgery), medial thigh lift, neck lift, and facelift.

Having surgery may leave a visible scar, but that, too, can be prevented or, at least, minimized through proper wound care, moisturizing the affected area, and applying sunscreen to prevent darkening/uneven skin tone. The procedure will also take about 2 weeks to a month to recover.

There are also non-invasive options. There are several types of laser therapy treatments, for example, that promise to boost the production of collagen and restore the skin’s elasticity. However, this takes multiple visits to the dermatologist clinic.

Choose to be Healthy

Maybe you do not have to go under the knife to improve the appearance of your skin. If you are willing to wait and work for it, you can restore your skin’s elasticity by choosing options that benefit your physical health. Exercise, a nutritious diet, drinking at least eight glasses of water, and avoiding alcohol and cigarettes can contribute to better skin overall.

Exercise, specifically building muscles, can help your skin become taut. As you grow older, you lose muscle. You drop more if you live a sedentary lifestyle. As a result, the skin sags. Exercise, especially those that aim to build muscle, can lift your skin back up.

Having regular physical activity can boost your skin’s elasticity. When you increase your heart rate, you stimulate your blood circulation. It contributes to younger-looking skin.

Meanwhile, eating a balanced diet is key to better skin. Consuming more vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, can repair skin cells from damages caused by free radicals. It also boosts your production of collagen. Some studies have found evidence that oral supplements that contain collagen and hyaluronic acid, a substance naturally produced by your body, can also reduce and prevent saggy skin.

Pick the Right Skincare Products

Skincare is also important to healthy skin. There are over-the-counter products that have been proven to improve the elasticity of the skin. Those that contain retinol can minimize the appearance of wrinkles, especially around the eye area. There are also prescription retinoids that are more potent and can show improved skin faster, but you would need to consult a dermatologist about it.

A chemical peel may also help for minimal skin sagging. It helps remove old skin cells and replace them with new ones, which will make you look younger and more revitalized.

Skin will sag through time, but you can minimize it by living a healthy lifestyle and using the right products. However, if you already have skin sagging that can no longer be addressed through exercise, eating healthy, or using skincare products, the best way to get rid of it is by undergoing clinical procedures under expert hands.

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