They say that knowledge is power, but some knowledge makes you feel downright lousy. Take the knowledge that we will all age for example. It’s a simple, well-known fact that as the years wear on, our skin will start to droop and sag, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Or is there?
Sure, some amount of aging is inevitable, but you have far more control over it than you think. After all, there are plenty of identical twins who end up looking 20 years apart in age. That doesn’t just come from bad luck.
This is where the “knowledge is power” idea actually becomes empowering. When you understand how that sagging happens, you’ll know exactly how to hold it back.
Why Does Skin Sag?
Sagging skin all comes down to protein. In particular, there is one protein above all that you need to pay attention to: collagen.
Your body naturally produces collagen for your skin. Like everything else in your body, collagen only lasts for a certain amount of time before it breaks down. Thankfully, your body has a continuous flow of new collagen to replace.
That’s how it works when you’re young, at least. As you get older (and we’re talking around age 25, if you can call that “older”), your body’s collagen production starts to decrease. You’re no longer producing the same amount of collagen you’re losing, so the amount of collagen in your skin gets gradually lower.
Since collagen is the strong protein that keeps your skin tight, thick, and firm, your skin is less able to withstand gravity when it has less collagen. That’s why your skin sags.
How to Keep Your Skin from Sagging
As you can glean, the trick to looking young is to keep as much collagen in your skin as possible. Because the problem is an imbalance between your collagen breakdown and your collagen production, you have two possible strategies: make your collagen break down more slowly or make your body produce more collagen.
Let’s start by looking at a few ways you can keep your collagen breakdown to a minimum.
Throw Yourself Some Shade
You might not love this, and neither do I, but it’s biology. The radiation from the sun will break down the collagen in your skin far more quickly. We’re not just talking about the sun exposure that happens after that magical age of 25 when your collagen production slows down. Yes, even those afternoons in the sun as a child and your pre-prom tan can take a toll.
Now that you know, you can cut down on your sun exposure in the future. Make daily sunscreen a part of your morning routine. On top of that, get decked out in sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat if you expect to spend more than a few minutes in the sun.
Look Smokin’ Hot by Not Smoking
Chances are that in at least one of your high school health classes, your teacher showed you those scary pictures of a smoker’s lung compared to a non-smoker’s lung.
As awful as those pictures are, let’s be honest: teens usually care more about their looks than their health. Maybe it would be more effective if our teachers showed us pictures of 30-year-old smokers’ faces compared to 30-year-old non-smokers. The difference is huge, and it only gets worse as the years go on.
That’s because smoking breaks down the collagen in your skin. While tobacco smoke accounts for part of the problem, vaping nicotine has issues too. Nicotine constricts your blood vessels so your skin doesn’t get all the oxygen and nutrients it needs to maintain collagen and stay healthy.
Sun exposure and nicotine are some of the most damaging factors if you want to protect the collagen in your skin. Of course, you can look even better if you also take steps to rebuild your collagen, like these.
Use Skin Firming Products
There are plenty of skin care products around that say they firm your skin, and they aren’t just blowing smoke (sorry for the pun, I couldn’t resist).
While your body produces collagen on an ongoing basis, there are also ways to trigger that production and kick it up a notch. Certain skincare ingredients are pros at this. For example, Babor Collagen Cream Rich uses a unique algae extract that stimulates the collagen production process.
Try Professional Skin Treatments
I won’t lie to you: there aren’t a ton of options if you want to increase your collagen production. There aren’t any reliable home remedies, so your options are to either use collagen-boosting skin care products or to opt for professional skin firming treatments (or better yet, do both).
As far as professional treatments go, procedures like laser treatments, microneedling, and many chemical peels can do a great job of fixing damage. There are also heat-based skin firming treatments and even certain injectables that build collagen.
My best advice is to choose a dermatologist, medical spa, or other skincare professional you trust and ask them which treatment is the best fit for your skin.
While those procedures can give you strong results, you also need to use skin-firming products at home to maintain your results and continue building on them.
Skincare Every Day Keeps the Facelift Surgeon Away
Sagging skin is one of those issues you don’t think about very often until it starts to happen to you. That’s a problem, because the best thing you can do is to prevent the sagging as much as possible before it happens.
Fortunately, for all of us, though, it’s never too late to get back some of the collagen you’ve lost. Between using the right skincare products, keeping the sun at arm’s length, and taking care of your overall health, you can turn back time (as far as your skin is concerned, at least).