Sagging Skin: What You Need To Know
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
You aren’t really taught to appreciate the tight, youthful feel of your skin when you’re young. Just like a full head of beautifully colored hair and joints that never ache, you simply take it for granted.
As we get older, our bodies change, and most of us take it in stride. However, none of us would complain about a scientifically proven solution for aging just a little more slowly, especially if that solution helped us look as young as we feel.
Sagging skin in particular can make us look older than we really are, and in some cases can become uncomfortable and disruptive to our lifestyles.
Let’s find out what it is, what causes it, and what we can do about it.
What Is Sagging Skin?
Sagging skin is skin that has lost its ability to snap back into place once it has stretched. As your body’s largest organ, your skin is responsible for keeping your insides protected from pathogens and also giving you shape.
Without elasticity, your skin hangs on your bones and looks loose instead of firm and tight. Sagging skin might first be noticed on your face. As we get older, the skin around your nose and lips begins to sag, forming what some refer to as “jowls.” You’ll also notice sagging skin near your eyes or on your eyelids.
If you aren’t sure if your skin is sagging, you can perform a quick test. Gently pinch the skin on the back of your hand. If you are scarcely able to grasp the skin to pinch it, chances are your skin is not sagging. If you grasp the skin and are able to pull it generously away from your hand, your skin may be aging a little faster than you want it to, and is starting to sag.
What Causes Sagging Skin?
Sagging skin happens for numerous reasons. Some of skin sagging is due to the aging process and is natural and normal. However, it still doesn’t mean we can’t do something about it. Here are some of the most common causes of skin sagging.
Maybe you think skin sagging is an unavoidable part of aging. You’re aren’t wrong, but the amount of skin sagging you experience doesn’t have to be quite as dramatic as what you may picture in your mind.
As we age, our skin cells become tired and weak. In fact, all the cells in our body get slower and function less as we get older. For the skin, this means you’ll make less collagen and elastin, and your skin cells will turn over a little more slowly.
Collagen and Elastin
Collagen and elastin help keep your skin looking firm and taut. Both fibers are proteins that are found all over the body, but they are especially important in your skin.
- Collagen is the protein that keeps your skin looking plump and youthful. Collagen keeps the areas under your eyes looking flesh-colored and awake, and keeps the hollows of your cheeks filled so your skin doesn’t hang on your cheekbones.
- Elastin is the protein that keeps your skin stretchy and helps it snap back into place when it has been stretched. When you pinched your skin earlier, if your skin snapped immediately back into place, or if you were not able to grab any skin on the back of your hand, you have plenty of elastin. If your skin pulled easily from your hand and took a little longer to rest back in place, your skin is making less elastin than it used to.
As we get older, our collagen and elastin production slows down. Our skin cells simply make less and less. While your skin is naturally making less of these fibers, external factors are also working on your skin, making it sag just a bit more than it would on its own.
The sun’s ultraviolet rays can also cause your skin to sag. Although they’re necessary for our body to synthesize vitamin D, too much UV exposure can cause our skin to become damaged.
Skin damage from the sun is referred to as photoaging. Photoaging causes your skin to lose more collagen and elastin than it would normally lose on its own. It can cause your skin to develop wrinkles and lines faster and also damage your skin cell’s DNA.
This damage is caused by free radicals, which are unbalanced molecules that harm your skin cells. The sun isn’t the only source of free radical damage.
Free Radical Damage
Free radicals are unbalanced molecules that need an extra electron. Extra electrons keep them balanced, so they look for balanced molecules that have an electron they can steal. When they find them, they take them, and the cell where the healthy, balanced molecule once lived is now damaged.
Free radical damage happens normally inside your body, but external factors cause even more free radical damage, and that damage can make your skin appear saggier.
Sources of free radical damage are:
- UV rays
- Smog and pollution
- Factory chemicals and some household cleaning chemicals
- Cigarette smoke
Some free radicals (like the ones that exist inside your body as a result of your day to day biochemical reactions) are unavoidable. Antioxidants help protect your cells from free radical damage.
Weight Gain and Loss
Excessive weight gain and loss can also lead to skin sagging. When skin covers excess weight (more than 100 pounds), the collagen and elastin fibers can become permanently damaged, making it virtually impossible for your skin to snap back into place once you’ve lost weight.
If you have weight loss surgery, you’ll be at a higher risk of developing sagging skin, as weight loss happens rapidly.
Having a baby can result in sagging skin around the midsection. While some women don’t experience sagging skin after they give birth, it can be very normal if you do. Your age, the amount of weight you gain during your pregnancy, and your genetics all play a role in how your skin will react after you give birth.
While topical creams and lotions may help keep your skin lubricated and comfortable while you’re pregnant, there’s no concrete evidence that any kind of topical product will prevent you from developing sagging skin.
Solutions for Sagging Skin
If you’re noticing the signs of saggy skin, you want a fix that really works. Lucky for you, there’s no shortage of solutions available on the market. Which ones actually work is another story. Here are three solutions that help with sagging skin.
Not so much a solution for sagging skin as it is a solution for firming up, exercise can help give you an overall more firm and toned appearance. As you build muscle, your skin will naturally “fill out,” which can create a more aesthetically pleasing look that may help make sagging skin less noticeable.
It’s also important to note that exercise is a fundamental part of keeping healthy, encouraging your body to work properly, and helping you feel good.
2. Invasive Procedures
Invasive procedures like lifts and lasers work, but they aren’t necessarily permanent solutions to the sagging skin problem. True, you will probably be able to get results you’re happy with, but these types of skin tightening and skin removal surgeries don’t prevent natural aging.
If you have a lot of excess skin from a weight loss surgery, these procedures may be the best option. If, however, you’re just beginning to notice a little sagging, there’s usually no need for needles or scalpels.
3. Pentadecanoic Acid
It may seem far-fetched that a fatty acid could help with sagging skin, but you might be surprised. Pentadecanoic acid, also known as C15:0, is an odd-chain, saturated fatty acid that a growing body of research suggests is the first essential fatty acid to have been discovered in over 90 years.
C15:0 works by giving your skin support at the cellular level, where it’s needed most. The cause of skin sagging is inside your skin cells, and C15:0 supports cell function in two ways:†*1. Strengthening cell walls. Aging cells have membranes that aren’t as protective as they once were. Those flimsy cell walls allow for intrusive damage from external stressors. C15:0 digs into cell walls and fortifies them, because it is a sturdy acid, helping keep your cells’ structure intact.
2. Boosting mitochondria output. Your cell’s mitochondria help power them to carry out cellular processes. As we age, our cells’ mitochondria begin to function more slowly. C15:0 helps boost mitochondrial function by up to 45%.
C15:0 helps support your skin cells so they can function better for longer, more like they did when you were in your youth.* That means your skin won’t be prone to sagging as quickly or as drastically as it would without the benefit of this little fatty acid.*
You can get a daily dose of C15:0 by taking fatty15, the only supplement that contains the pure, vegan version of C15:0, FA15™. Just one supplement a day can help improve your skin and bolster cellular health throughout your entire body.
With fatty15 you can age on your own terms and give your cells a fighting chance against age-related decline.
Ready to give your skin a little youth back? Get started with your fatty15 Trial Kit 30-day Supply here.
Stretch mark science: What happens to your skin when pregnancy gives you a stretch mark? Most topical treatments currently available are not evidence-based|Science Daily
Skin collagen through the life stages: importance for skin health and beauty|Parajournal.netSkin anti-aging strategies|NCBI
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.
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