The secret to looking young is tight skin. Beginning in your early 20’s the skin begins to loose elasticity and tone, and by your mid 30’s, not only is there an abundance of fine lines and wrinkles, you can begin to see signs of loose skin.
What Causes the Skin the Sag?
The short answer is Elastin. Elastin is a fiber in the body that allows the skin to ‘bounce’ back and resume its shape after being stretched or contracted. Elastin does not regenerate in the body, and by age 25-30 the body stops producing elastin altogether. That’s why signs of aging begin as early as your mid-20s. The more we age, the less elastin we have, the more our skin sags. Unfortunately, we cannot produce more elastin once it’s lost. The key to tightening loose skin is to build more collagen.
Tightening Loose Skin
Collagen exists naturally in our skin as a structural support. It makes up a large part of the dermis (the layer of skin below the surface). Collagen is like padding – it’s what makes our skin look plump and smooth when we are young. As we age, we lose collagen and the skin gets thinner and wrinkles begin to form. Although collagen doesn’t help sagging skin bounce back (that’s the job of the elastin in our skin), it does help support skin so that sagging is less apparent.
Unlike elastin, you can boost collagen production with skin-care products that contain the right ingredients like potent antioxidants and other skin-repairing ingredients. Regardless of what product you select to combat signs of aging, there is one thing that is certain: No firming/tightening cream or serum can deliver the same results as those that can be achieved from medical treatments such as laser treatments like thermage®, dermal fillers, or cosmetic surgery.
That said, there are plenty of very effective skin firming products available, but it helps to know what you are looking for in a product. Most consumers are unaware that creams and serums that firm the skin are different from those that are designed to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. ‘Anti-wrinkle’ creams plump the skin to smooth out wrinkles and fine lines, but are not designed to tighten the skin or reduce sag at the dermal level. For that you need ingredients that promote the production of collagen.
Skin Tightening Ingredients to Look For
DMAE – (dimethylaminoethanol) is a nutritional substance that is a powerful anti-inflammatory and membrane stabilizer. DMAE can help maintain muscle tone in the face and body as we age, helping to prevent both sagging and drooping of the muscles under skin. When applied topically, the effects are almost immediately visible. The effects are also cumulative, so that over time the skin looks firmer, lifted, less lined, and smoother.
Peptides – These amino acids are proven to speed healing and restore collagen. Products that contain peptides are an excellent way to stimulate the production of collagen which helps eliminate fine lines, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and increase the skin’s elasticity.
Kinetin – this is a plant hormone that occurs naturally in the DNA of most living things, including people. It accelerates the skin’s ability to repair itself after injury and there is evidence that kinetin stimulates the production of collagen.
Retinol. This is a type of vitamin A – a favorite anti-aging ingredient often used in products for its cell-renewal, collagen-boosting properties.
Hyaluronic acid. This powerful, naturally occurring molecule is found in abundance in young skin. As we age, it diminishes. Hyaluronic acid-based injectable fillers are a popular way to rejuvenate the skin, but you can get good results with topical products that contain hyaluronic acid.
There are dozens of game-changing ingredients and products out there. But you cannot fight aging with creams and serums alone. Lifestyle plays a huge role in how our skin looks and ages. How much time you spend in the sun; what you eat; how much alcohol or sugary drinks you consume; your skincare routine; whether you exercise or not, etc., etc.
A well-rounded routine, involving UV protection, healthy living and the right skin care products, can slow down or even reverse the signs of aging.
Other Ways to Keep Skin Tight
Use a daily sunscreen rated SPF 15 or greater. This should be part of your daily routine because UV rays destroy elastin and collagen every day.
Exfoliate your skin regularly – daily if possible. Exfoliants containing salicylic acid or glycolic acid help stimulate the skin, encourage cell renewal and build more collagen to keep skin firm.
Eat a nutritious diet – eating the right foods is very important to sustain collagen production. Brightly color foods like tomatoes, watermelon and grapefurit contain powerful antioxidants that prevent collagen loss. Foods rich in Vitamin C and leafy green vegetable fight free radicals that attack and destroy collagen. Avoid starchy foods and sugary substances as these cause inflammation which interferes with the body’s production of collagen.
Medical procedures are the most effective way to tighten loose skin with more permanent results. Laser treatments and other light therapies such as Fraxel or Ulthera have impressive skin-firming results and can also improve sagging skin.