Loose or saggy skin is, unfortunately, something that everyone will develop if they live long enough. It’s a natural part of the aging process. As adults age, their skin begins to lose its elasticity.
Age, sun damage, environmental factors, bad habits, and gravity work together to make the skin sag.
Nobody can stop the clock completely, but there are prevention strategies and clinical solutions for tightening up the skin.
Why Skin Sags?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It holds the skin in its structure and forms the joint tissue between the muscles and bones.
The body naturally produces collagen, but as you age, the production of this important protein decreases. As a result, skin becomes less elastic, and wrinkles start to become visible.
As natural collagen levels decrease, so does the natural amount of fat in the deeper layers of the skin. That leaves unoccupied space underneath the skin layers, which can cause the skin to droop or sag where it used to be firm.
Other lifestyle factors can result in wrinkles forming earlier. If you’re prone to wrinkles, it’s mostly a result of genetics. Other factors that can contribute to early wrinkles include:
- Frequent exposure to ultraviolet A (UVA)/ultraviolet B (UVB) rays
- Extreme weight loss or gain
- Diet high in processed foods
Bad habits will eventually have a negative impact on the skin. For instance, smoking has a huge impact on the appearance of one’s skin. While it alone doesn’t cause the skin to sag, it contributes to the skin’s negative appearance. Smoking causes the skin to lose its tone. It also causes fine lines and wrinkles.
The same is true of sunbathing 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 wrinkling and sagging of the skin.
Losing a significant amount of weight can also cause the skin to become loose 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.
Treatments for Sagging Skin
Fortunately, there are ways to treat saggy loose skin. Some are more invasive than others. When a person is beginning to notice their skin sag they can try the following methods:
- Moisturization: Keeping skin properly moisturized can be very helpful in keeping skin firm. A good moisturizer that 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.
- Fillers: Fillers 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, and get 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 consider surgery. This is obviously more invasive than the methods discussed above. Surgery is riskier 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.
These methods can be helpful in preliminarily slowing down sagging skin. However, they aren’t proven to be effective over time without consistent and repetitive care. Depending on the extent of one’s sagging skin, they may no longer be an effective treatment.
PRP Treatment for Saggy Skin
Unfortunately, saggy skin is something that everyone will eventually experience. There are, however, ways to treat it. 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 one’s 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 of PRP therapy is that it uses a person’s own blood. Therefore, 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 skin, it can be used to fill out the nasolabial grooves and get rid of wrinkles around the eyes, lips, forehead and neck. It is effective for the treatment of 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.
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. 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 individual’s body. A person that has loose and saggy skin will have the platelets injected into the part of their body that they want the 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 hyaluronic acid, and collagen, and improve the wound healing process. The process is generally considered to be pain-free.
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.
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent loose and sagging skin on the face. Between genetics, living conditions, and aging everyone will experience this.
Luckily, there are ways to treat this. Simple home remedies can help slow it down but platelet rich plasma injections will work to bring the face back to a tighter, younger-looking form.