It’s totally normal that your skin becomes looser as you get older. Feeling self-conscious or concerned about sagging skin can affect your confidence. But what can you do about loose skin? Read on to find out the 3 causes of loose skin and how to fix it.
Who Gets Loose Skin?
We are all aware of ageing skin on our faces, but what about loose skin on our body?
Weight loss, pregnancy and ageing are the most common causes of loose skin that can affect your body. Whilst it can affect any area on your body, it is most commonly noticed on your tummy, arms and inner thighs.
Weight Loss and Loose Skin
Having loose skin is often associated with weight loss. If you’ve been working hard to lose a lot of weight then you’ve probably noticed some loose skin on your body as your weight has reduced. We normally see clients with some degree of loose skin when they have lost 3 stone or more.
The bigger the weight loss the more loose skin you might be left with. Losses of 6 stones or more can result in hanging folds of skin that have to be surgically removed.
Pregnancy and Loose Skin
Pregnancy is a big cause of loose skin on your stomach. As the baby develops, your stomach increases in size causing your skin to stretch. If you have had multiple pregnancies or carried twins or triplets this can really affect your skin’s ability to recover. Resulting in excess saggy skin on your stomach and stretch marks.
The age you have a baby can also affect how your skin recovers after pregnancy. If you have a baby in your 20’s you are less likely to have issues with saggy skin on your stomach, compared to having a baby in your 30’s or 40’s.
We see this a lot with our Mum clients. They say that when they had their first baby when they were in their early or mid 20’s their skin recovered quickly. But then with a second or third child, in their 30’s, they were left with loose skin, like an apron on their lower tummy.
It’s not just pregnancy and weight gain that causes loose skin. The ageing process can dramatically affect the firmness and tightness of your skin. As we get older the firmness of our skin declines. We expect to notice our face starting to age from our 40’s onwards. But it can be a bit of a shock when you first notice saggy and crepey skin appearing in unexpected places. Such as:
- Upper arms
- Inner thighs
- Backs of your hands
Now that I’m in my 40’s, I notice changes in my skin every few months. Especially at certain angles, dodgy lighting or a glimpse in the mirror. I get a big shock when I notice a crepey skin on my upper arms and inner thighs.
Whilst ageing is a natural process, we can make things worse by poor choices such as excessive sunbathing, smoking and a poor diet.
What Causes Saggy Skin?
Normally, your skin has natural elastic properties which allow it to stretch and shrink when you gain and lose a few pounds or recover after pregnancy. As you get older you start to lose this elasticity which makes it more difficult for your skin to shrink.
Collagen and elastin are the cells that help your skin to stay flexible, strong and tight, providing its elasticity. But as you age your collagen levels start to decline by 1% per year from your mid 20’s and elastin reduces. This causes your skin to become thinner and more fragile. The ageing process also sees a reduction in natural moisturising factors and oil production which can lead to your skin being dehydrated. This affects your skin’s function which can lead to premature ageing skin.
It’s not just ageing that can cause loose or saggy skin. Your skin can also lose its elasticity if it is overstretched. For instance, from a very large pregnancy or a large amount of weight gain. During this time the skin expands to accommodate the pregnancy or weight gain. This can damage the collagen and elastin fibres which results in the skin losing it’s elastic ability to retract.
For some people, their skin might slowly recover and shrink back over time, but in many cases, the excess skin remains. Leaving you with saggy, loose skin and low body confidence.
Other Reasons Your Skin Losses its Firmness
- Sun exposure
- Poor lifestyle choices
How To Treat Saggy, Loose Skin At Home
I’m not going to lie, if your skin is loose then you’ll probably need professional help. But for mild changes to the laxity of your skin, there are some things you can do at home.
The first and most obvious choice for home treatment is a body firming cream. Firming creams can work in two ways: they can help keep your skin hydrated and they can have collagen-stimulating ingredients.
Your skin needs to stay hydrated in order to stay healthy and supple. Dehydrated skin is more likely to look wrinkled and lose its elasticity.
A good firming cream will not only hydrate your skin, but it will stimulate collagen and elastin production too. Providing it with the nutrients it needs to regenerate and produce healthier, stronger and firmer cells.
Many body firming creams over promise and under deliver. It’s important to recognise the limitations of a body cream other than moisturising benefits and providing hydration to your skin.
Look out for products that contain the following ingredients:
- Organic Silicum
- Vitamin C
We recommend Circadia Skincare Firming and Shaping Gel
Massage, Body Scrubs and Dry Body Brushing
Whilst massage, body scrubs and dry body brushing won’t necessarily tighten your skin, doing them regularly can help increase blood flow and oxygen to the area and help your skin to function better. This will have a beneficial effect on how you skin looks, feels and ages.
Nutrition & Supplements
There are some vitamins and minerals that have been shown to improve overall skin health and elasticity.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and required for the creation of collagen, as well as many other functions within your body. Increasing your intake of vegetables and fruits and supplementing with vitamin 1g-5g Vitamin C is a great way to boost your skin health and reduce the signs of ageing.
It is important to ensure your diet includes enough protein – as protein is the building blocks of your cells. Lysine and proline are two amino acids essential for collagen production. You can find them in many high protein foods such as chicken, fish, beans, lentils and peas.
Collagen supplements have swamped the market recently and with good cause too! Ingesting collagen has been proven to improve your collagen levels and support many functions in your body such as your hair, skin, nails, joint health and gut health.
Our favourite is Collagen Shots which is available to buy online or in the clinic. Collagen Shots naturally supports your skin’s collagen levels and improves hydration providing a visible improvement to the firmness and texture of your skin.
Professional Treatments For Saggy or Loose Skin
Whatever the reason for your loose skin, if you have noticed changes on your body such as loss of firmness, a crepey appearance, or sagging loose skin, then professional treatments can help.
In the past, the only way to get rid of loose skin was by surgery. Tummy tucks, body lifts, arm lifts and the like are all forms of surgeries performed to remove excess skin. Whilst these surgical procedures are highly effective, the costs, risks, recovery time and permanent scarring, put many people off.
Over the last few decades, some revolutionary, new non-surgical treatments have been developed. Treatments which use radio frequency or high-intensity ultrasound can help reduce saggy, loose skin and give you firmer, tighter skin without the need for surgery.
Radiofrequency Skin Tightening
Radiofrequency skin tightening is a non-invasive and painless treatment that uses radiofrequency energy to tighten the skin. The electrical energy heats up the dermis in your skin which stimulates the production of collagen and elastin. At The Body Clinic we offer radiofrequency skin tightening treatments using a device called the Exilis Elite.
What Is Exilis Elite?
Exilis Elite is a non-surgical skin tightening treatment that rejuvenates and tightens the skin on your body or face. By stimulating collagen regeneration in the deeper layers of your skin we can create healthier, more youthful and tighter skin. Helping reduce any saggy, loose skin and giving you the smooth, sleek body you desire.
Exilis Elite is a very popular treatment and it’s easy to see why – it’s FDA approved, non-invasive and very safe.
How Does It Work For Skin Tightening?
Using radiofrequency and ultrasound, we target the deeper layers of skin, heating them to around 40-45°c. This heat causes any weak or old elastin and collagen to break down, signalling to your body that it’s time to make more. These new collagen and elastin fibres are stronger, healthier and firmer – giving your skin a tighter and firmer appearance.
For the best results, you’ll need a course of 6-8 weekly treatments. Each treatment takes around 1 hour depending on the area you want to treat. It takes a couple of months to see the results but these can last up to 12 months. Or more if you have occasional top-up treatments.
It’s safe, effective and best of all – totally pain-free!
Click here to find out more about Exilis Elite for skin tightening….
HIFU Skin Tightening
HIFU is an exciting non-invasive treatment that’s used to reverse the signs of ageing and tighten saggy, loose skin on your body or face. Using high intensity focused ultrasound energy we target different layers of the dermis, intensely heating them to kickstart the body’s healing response. The healing effects create new, stronger collagen and elastin – giving you a firmer appearance and reducing wrinkled, saggy or loose skin.
How Does HIFU Work For Skin Tightening?
Similar to Exilis Elite, HIFU uses heat to trigger the production of collagen and elastin. This treatment uses ultrasound, a very safe technology similar to that used in pregnancy scans, to regenerate your skin.
HIFU is more intense than radiofrequency, heating your tissue to between 65-70°c. As such, you have fewer treatments which are spaced further apart. This is great if you have limited time and do not want to commit to a weekly course of treatments.
For the best results, you’ll need 3-4 treatments per year. Each treatment takes around 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the area. The results become visible in the coming weeks and months as your body produces new collagen.
HIFU is safe and gives natural-looking results.
Click here to find out more about HIFU on our non-surgical facelift page…
When To Seek Help For Your Saggy, Loose Skin?
Saggy, loose skin isn’t a health concern, but if it’s having an impact on your self-confidence and how you feel then it’s a good idea to get some advice from a reputable clinic who can help you.
Prevention is always better than the cure so I strongly recommend you take steps to naturally support your skin as you get older. Think nutrition, lifestyle choices and self-care.
In regards to when is it a good time to seek professional help, I would definitely recommend sooner rather than later. If you can have non-surgical treatments to improve your body when you first notice changes in the firmness of your skin, then do so. This will achieve a better outcome and help keep your body looking firmer for longer.
There is definitely a limit as to what non-surgical skin tightening treatments can do. Once the skin has lost too much structure and support, this is the time to consider surgery. An experienced practitioner will be able to give you an honest opinion on whether they think a treatment will be successful or not.
Here at The Body Clinic, we offer free consultations to anyone considering treatment. We’ll discuss your needs and give you all the information you need to be able to decide if skin tightening treatments are right for you. To find out more click here…
If you enjoyed this blog post, check out our blog about improving a “Mummy Tummy”.