As we age, our appearance changes in many ways, and a lot of them are less-than-ideal. Loss of skin elasticity is one of the many physical changes people experience as they grow older, which can leave them feeling a little self-conscious. According to Certified Family Nurse Practitioner Tashara Lester of U.S. Dermatology Partners in Carrollton, Texas, “Losing elasticity in the skin may be a natural part of the aging process, but the good news is it’s not one that you have to just accept if you don’t want to. Cosmetic dermatology providers can advise you on a range of treatments from preventive skincare products to advanced surgical interventions and everything between. When you’re ready to stop pulling up on your face when you look in the mirror and contorting to take more flattering selfies, we’ve got you covered.” Learn more about the top treatments that improve skin elasticity on this page or by calling our team.
What is Skin Elasticity?
Skin elasticity refers to the skin’s ability to stretch, crease, move, and return to its original shape. As we age, expose skin to sunlight, gain and lose weight, and generally live our lives, the skin’s elasticity diminishes. This process is called elastosis. As the skin loses elasticity, it may look loose, saggy, leathery, or have significantly more fine lines and wrinkles.
Why Do We Lose Skin Elasticity?
According to Ms. Lester, “As we age, we produce less collagen, which gives skin cells their fullness, and elastin, which is found in the connective tissues in the dermis layer of the skin and allows it to bounce back after it creases or moves. Young people have full, smooth skin because their bodies produce collagen and elastin in larger quantities. As elasticity diminishes, the skin doesn’t bounce back the way it once did, but the good news is, there are many options to sustain elasticity longer and restore elasticity once it’s lost.”
Age is the most common cause of elastosis, but it’s not the only reason our skin loses elasticity. Other causes of decreased skin elasticity include:
- Changes in hormone production
- Sun exposure (especially when frequent or prolonged)
- Exposure to pollution, toxins, and chemicals
- Rapid weight loss
- Inadequate nutrition
- Dehydration (especially if it’s chronic or prolonged)
How Do You Tighten Saggy Skin?
Once skin loses elasticity, it doesn’t have to stay gone. Below, we’ve outlined some of the conservative, non-surgical treatments as well as more advanced, surgical cosmetic dermatology options for saggy skin.
About the benefits of non-surgical treatments for sagging skin, Ms. Lester says, “There are abundant technologies, medications, and advanced dermatologic treatment options available to address saggy skin. While surgical treatments like face, neck, or eyelid lifts offer dramatic improvement, they also require a much more invasive procedure, more downtime, and greater risk for adverse reactions. Our minimally invasive treatment options can deliver good results with greater comfort and less downtime.”
Some of the minimally invasive treatment options available from U.S. Dermatology Partners for sagging skin include:
- Chemical peels – By removing the outer layers of dead skin cells, chemical peels reveal healthy, new skin, and they trigger the body’s healing response, leading to greater elastin and collagen production. We offer a few chemical peel treatments, including:
- Microdermabrasion – Like chemical peels, this procedure uses physical exfoliation to remove the outer layers of skin. In addition to general microdermabrasion treatments, we also offer HydraFacials.
- Laser treatments – These procedures use lasers to create micro-injuries on the skin, which jumpstarts the healing process. Our available laser treatments to address saggy skin include:
- Radiofrequency (RF) treatments – An ultra-thin needle is inserted into the skin to heat the tissues in deeper layers. This jumpstarts the healing process, stimulating collagen production and elastin creation without damaging the visible portions of the skin. U.S. Dermatology Partners provides several different types of skin tightening RF procedures, including:
- Laser skin resurfacing – This procedure is one of the most effective, minimally invasive procedures to treat saggy skin, but it also has the most downtime. Similar to treatments like chemical peels and dermabrasion, these procedures use lasers to vaporize the outer layers of dead skin, revealing healthy new skin and jump-starting the production of collagen and elastin. U.S. Dermatology Partners provides several laser skin resurfacing procedures, including:
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – Changes in hormone levels can diminish skin elasticity, and for some patients, HRT is a beneficial solution to saggy skin.
- Platelet-rich plasma therapy – These treatments work by injecting your body’s own platelet-rich plasma into the body. The growth factor proteins trigger the body’s natural healing process.
If less invasive options are ineffective, we may recommend dermatologic plastic surgery. Neck and facelifts are the most common plastic surgeries to address saggy skin, and we also offer:
- Blepharoplasty (eyelid lifts)
- Mini neck lifts
Can I Prevent Sagging Skin?
According to Ms. Lester, “You can’t stop the clock completely, but effective skin care and proper precautions can significantly reduce the amount of skin sagging and help you retain a tighter, more youthful appearance for longer.” Each person should partner with a trusted dermatology provider to create a personalized skincare plan to maintain optimal skin health, but some of the steps that can help anyone keep skin firm include:
- Limit sun exposure and use sunscreen, which protects skin from free radical damage from UVA/B rays
- Eat a nutritious diet rich in antioxidants like vitamins C and E
- Stay hydrated to ensure your skin is youthful and supple
- Stop smoking as this narrows blood vessels and limits the ability of nutrients to reach skin
- Take a collagen supplement
- Use skincare products with retinols, retinoids, and hyaluronic acid
Visit U.S. Dermatology Partners to Learn More
When you’re ready to learn more about improving skin elasticity, get in touch with the cosmetic dermatology professionals at U.S. Dermatology Partners. Just take a few moments to complete our online request, and one of our team members will be in touch soon.
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