Loose or saggy skin is unfortunately, something that everyone will develop if they live long enough. It’s not pretty, but it’s a natural part of the aging process. As adults age, their skin begins to lose its elasticity. The result is an appearance that is foreign to what most remember as children and young adults. Age, sun damage, environmental factors, bad habits, and gravity work together to make skin sag.
Though it is impossible to completely reverse the aging process, it is possible to slow it down and to correct some of the environmental damage that has occurred over ones lifetime. Topical cream, facial exercises, injectable fillers, laser treatments and surgery are all methods people use to remedy or get rid of loose or saggy skin.
The most obvious place skin begins to sag is on the face, but saggy or loose skin can develop anywhere on the body. Maintaining a healthy weight and taking proactive steps to tighten loose skin are the best ways to deal with loose or saggy skin found anywhere on the body, including body parts other than the face.
More than one factor causes the skin to sag and become loose. The primary one is age. As people grown older, their skin begins to lose two important components, elastin and collagen. These connective tissues are responsible for giving the skin its youthful, tight appearance. Weakened facial muscles can also cause the skin to sag. The same is true of gravity. The older we become, the more exposure we have to gravity.
Bad habits will eventually have a negative impact on the skin. For instance, smoking has a huge impact on the appearance of your skin. While it alone doesn’t cause the skin to sag, it contributes to the skins negative appearance. Smoking causes the skin to lose its tone. It also causes fine lines and wrinkles. The same is true of sun bathing or spending time in the sun without adequate protection. Ultraviolet radiation, which comes from the sun, contributes to the breakdown of elastin and collagen, which leads to premature wrinkle and sagging of the skin.
Losing a significant amount of weight can also cause the skin to become lose and sag. This is especially true if a person loses a lot of weight at once. This happens because the skin has been stretched to a point where it is no longer able to snap back. This can be discouraging for individuals who have worked hard to lose weight. Rather than showing off their newly svelte body, they feel compelled to hide and cover it up.
Fortunately, there are ways to treat saggy loose skin. Some are more invasive than others. Below, we’ll discuss a few of the more popular and oft used ways to tighten loose and saggy skin.
Moisturization: You might be surprised to learn that keeping skin properly moisturized can be very helpful in keeping your skin firm. A good moisturizer which contains alpha hydroxyl acid, vitamin A, vitamin C and/or beta hydroxyl acid can help tighten the skin. Vitamin supplements which contain antioxidants can be helpful as well. Hydrating from the inside-out is also important. It is important to drink a sufficient amount of water each day.
Laser resurfacing treatments: These sorts of treatments use a laser to resurface the skin and tighten loose skin. Two of the most popular and effective for skin tightening are infrared and radiofrequency lasers. Lasers heat up the skin, tighten it, reduce wrinkles, and restructure collagen that has become damaged due to age, bad habits, and environmental pollution. In order to obtain noticeable results, more than one treatment is required.
Fillers: Fillers are becoming an increasingly popular way to treat loose and sagging skin. They work by plumping up the skin so that it’s forced to tighten around the filler. Fillers such as fat cells, hyaluronic acid, and collagen are used for this purpose. Fillers may need to be injected every few months or years, depending on what type is used.
Facial exercises: There is some controversy concerning whether or not facial exercises help tighten or prevent loose and sagging skin. Some dermatologists believe it works. Others do not. Those that do, contend that facial exercises increase blood flow to the area, gets rid of toxins, while increasing the production of elastin and collagen. Those in the opposite camp believe that facial exercises cause fine lines and wrinkles.
Surgery: When none of the aforementioned treatments work to tighten loose skin, a person may opt for surgery. This is obviously more invasive than the methods discussed above. Surgery is more risky than topical solutions and the results are permanent. If a person doesn’t like the results, they either have to learn to live with the outcome or attempt to have it fixed. Having loose skin removed is one way to get rid of it. Getting rid of the extra skin around the eyes, jaw line, and mouth can make a huge difference in a person’s appearance and the tone of their skin.
PRP Treatment for Loose or Saggy Skin
Unfortunately, loose and saggy skin is something that everyone will eventually experience. It comes ‘part and parcel’ with age. No one is immune to it. There are, however, a variety of ways to “treat” it. Plastic surgery is one of the most common. Injectables and implants are others. PRP (platelet rich plasma) therapy is becoming an increasingly common way to treat loose and saggy skin as well.
PRP therapy is a cutting-edge form of care that involves the use of ones own blood to jumpstart the healing process. The body’s growth factors which are found in the blood’s platelets, in particular, are utilized for this purpose. Growth factors are proteins that the body uses to heal damaged tissue and/or regenerate it.
PRP therapy has thus far proven to be effective in treating soft tissue injuries and conditions. More recently, some doctors have been using it for cosmetic procedures, for instance, to heal acne scars and treat loose or saggy skin.
Anti-aging is one of the newest areas in which the procedure is being utilized. One of the best attributes about PRP therapy is that it uses a person’s own blood. Therefor, there is minimal risk of the body rejecting it, or a person experiencing an allergic reaction to it.
When PRP therapy is used as an anti-aging procedure, in addition to treating saggy or loose skin, it can be used to fill out the nasolabial groves and get rid of wrinkles around the eyes, lips, forehead and neck. It is effective for the treatment of the loose skin and wrinkles because the platelets used prominently in the procedure, rejuvenate and activate the cells. Concentrated platelets also increase the production of collagen and capillaries which help to improve the appearance of the skin while helping to rejuvenate the skin.
There are a number of ways that doctors can use to treat wrinkles and loose skin. Surgery in the form of a facelift or the removal of loose or saggy skin, are amongst the most commonly utilized methods of treating this “condition.” Facelifts are available in various degrees, with a full-facelift, being the most complete and invasive. Injectables and implants are other common ways that get rid of loose and saggy skin. PRP therapy is now also an option. It is perhaps the least invasive, has fewer side effects and has the least amount of risks.
Though PRP therapy has proven to be an effective and powerful treatment for a myriad of injuries and conditions, the process is surprisingly simple and straightforward. The doctor will draw a small amount of the patient’s blood, generally about 10ccs. He or she will place it in a vial or test tube and then in a centrifuge, where it is spun until the blood’s components are separated. The platelets are removed from the blood and then injected into the injured part of the individual’s body or the one that is being treated. A person that has loose and saggy skin will have the platelets injected into the part of their body that they want the loose skin tightened or filled out.
The PPR procedure is generally a short one. It generally takes between 20 and 30 minutes. Once the platelets are injected into the body, they will begin to increase the production of hyaluroinc acid, collagen, and improve the wound healing process. Each of the aforementioned, taken together, help to improve the appearance and severity of a person’s wrinkles. The process is generally considered to be pain free. Most people won’t feel any pain. The mild discomfort that a patient may or may not experience occurs post injection and it will generally last an hour or two. Severe pain or discomfort is extremely rare. Those that do experience a great deal of pain are instructed to take Tylenol or are prescribed a mild pain reliever.
After receiving PRP therapy an individual may experience some swelling. This will typically subside after about three hours. They may experience some achiness and soreness but this doesn’t last very long. There is virtually no risk of an allergic reaction because the procedure uses the body’s own blood. This is one of the many benefits associated with using this form of treatment. The fact that there are few side effects, the procedure isn’t invasive, and seems to be effective.
Again, though loose and sagging skin is most noticeable on the face, it can develop anywhere. Individuals who have extra skin on their upper arms, buttocks, legs, stomach, and the neck may want to have it surgically removed if less invasive options haven’t proven to be effective. Sometimes, skin stretches beyond the point of no return. When it does, the surgical removal of loose skin is the only way to remedy it.
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent loose and sagging skin. Even if a person does everything right, i.e., consumes a healthy diet, drinks plenty of water, stays out of the sun (or uses an adequate amount of sunscreen), limits their consumption of alcohol, and refrains from smoking, they will still develop loose or saggy skin because we all age. While this is true, there are ways a person can to slow down the aging process and heal some of the damage caused by not taking good care of ones skin and environmental damage.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
1. What do you believe is causing my skin to sag?
2. What do you recommend?
3. Is surgical removal of my loose skin the best solution?
4. Are there any non-invasive skin-tightening methods I can use? What are they? Would you recommend them for me?
5. What do you think about laser skin tightening procedures? Am I a good candidate for them?