Sagging Skin and Loose Facial Muscles
Youthful unharmed skin is tight, elastic, and full. However, things like ageing and the act of losing and gaining weight can reduce the tautness of skin and result in the appearance of loose skin, a persistently tired look to the face, and the look of premature aging. Although there isn't much you can do to prevent the development of sagging skin and loose facial muscles there are a few things that you can do to slow down the development and even to correct the damage once it has been done.
What Causes Sagging Skin?There are five main causes of sagging skin: three that you can control and two that you can't. The two that you cannot control include the natural processes of ageing and the downward pull of gravity. Everyday that we walk, sit, and move around in an upright position is another day that our skin is affected by gravity. After numerous years of fighting the natural downward pull our skin begins to give in and sag downward. The effects of this gravitational pull do not show up until we are well into our mature years but the weakening of the skin happens from the day we are born.
Right around the time that gravity damage starts to show our skin is also suffering from the negative effects of ageing. As we age the components of our skin that are responsible for maintaining elasticity, firmness, and rebound are starting to breakdown. Once these components- collagen and elastin- breakdown our skin becomes looser and begins to droop, which results in fine lines and eventually deep wrinkles. To add to the problem, the muscles in our face are also weakened by age so the support that they give already loosening skin is reduced and increased sagging is apparent.
Since we cannot control the natural ageing process you would think that we would do everything we can to avoid other skin sagging culprits. However, that is not always the case. Sun exposure, smoking, and weight loss all contribute to the development of sagging skin. Sun exposure damages the skin cells and retards their ability to rebound from the gravitational pull. Smoking dries out the skin and reduces the available moisture that is responsible for keeping skin plump and full. Finally, weight loss, especially large amounts or the act of shedding pounds too quickly, results in skin sag where the fat once filled out the area below the skin.
So, if you can't control some of the factors that lead to sagging skin, and if you have already experienced any of the other factors, what can you do to improve the look of your skin?
Non-Surgical TreatmentsWhen people first start to notice the signs of sagging skin or loose facial muscles they usually turn to a simple, non-invasive form of treatment. These treatments consist of the use of specially formulated skin creams and lotions, and the use of specially designed facial muscle exercises. Skin firming beauty products can be found at most supermarkets, chemists, and retail stores. The creams contain chemicals and natural ingredients that help tone, tighten, and firm the skin resulting in a more youthful appearance. However, the effects of the product are not permanent and do little to help severely sagging skin.
Facial exercises, on the other hand, are targeted at strengthening the muscles that support the skin not just at tightening the top layers of skin. Through these exercises individuals can build up muscles so skin is held tighter to the face and sagging and wrinkles are reduced. The problem with this type of treatment is that the results usually take a long time to appear and the muscles can only be strengthened to a certain extent.
So, what do you do when your sagging skin needs more help? It may be time to turn to your doctor for more aggressive treatment.
Face Lifts and other Surgical TreatmentsWhen it is time to seek the help of a dermatologist or plastic surgeon for your sagging skin you have a few options that range from minimally-invasive to all out treatment. The least invasive is laser facial resurfacing. This technique utilises a laser to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and help minimise the look of skin sag. Another easy treatment is the injection of Botox. This chemical is injected into wrinkles and other areas of loose skin to plump the surface and reduce the appearance of sag. While both of these treatments work well on minimal sagging they are not permanent and they do not totally fix the problem of loose skin.
The next, more aggressive option is called a thread lift. A thread lift is a procedure that is performed by a plastic surgeon who inserts tiny threads under your skin to lift and support sagging areas. The procedure results in a lift similar to what can be expected from a face-lift but is less invasive. The downside is that the lift does not last as long and that some sagging cannot be eliminated with this type of surgery.
Finally, the most invasive but the most effective, treatment for skin sagging is a traditional face-lift. In this procedure the surgeon tightens the loose skin and facial muscles by lifting a pulling on the weakened areas. The result is a tighter, firmer look to your skin that lasts for years. The downside, however, is that the procedure almost results in pain, discomfort, and swelling that can last up to six weeks.