In Cosmetic, Medical Dermatology

Sagging skin is the dreaded certainty that many of us have in our future. However, while it is certain to come eventually, we should do all we can to prolong its arrival and maintain our youthful look.

Unfortunately, in spite of all that we may do, there are a few forces (or causes) that push against our efforts and perhaps make that saggy skin arrive prematurely. 

So, if you’re looking for a way to prevent unwanted impacts on your skin, like premature sagging, it is easiest to understand the causes and then use treatments to address the condition you’re most prone to. With that in mind, we are providing you with an overview of the causes and the possible treatments that may help your endeavor to stay youthful.

Causes of sagging skin

As we stated, sagging skin is a certainty with aging, mainly due to the loss of two important proteins created within the middle layer of skin in your body, the dermis. Those proteins are elastin and collagen.

Elastin is responsible for giving your skin its elasticity or, in other words, the ability to bounce back and return to its original position after being stretched or moved. On the other hand, collagen is created by the most common type of cell found in connective tissue (fibroblasts). Collagen gives your skin that firm and taut feeling – furthermore, it’s essential for maintaining your skin’s structure.

So, it’s easy to see how your skin may be prone to sagging without these proteins. However, elastin and collagen don’t decrease in production only because of aging. Other factors do include UV exposure, pollutants, poor nutrition or drinking an excessive amount of alcohol.

More causes of sagging skin

Weight loss

After your body has spent a considerable amount of time carrying around extra weight that it was otherwise not accustomed to, there may be lasting damage to the collagen and elastin fibers in your skin. That damage may result in your skin having difficulty bouncing back to its original state – before the weight gain.

However, any weight loss will not guarantee that damage occurs. It is typically through excessive or quick weight loss that your skin fibers may not be able to compensate, resulting in your saggy skin.


A completely natural part of pregnancy is stretched skin around the abdomen as the baby develops. Unfortunately, after giving birth, the mother will be left with stretched, damaged skin that is unable to bounce back easily.

Medical conditions

There is more than one medical condition that may result in sagging skin. And determining which condition may be responsible for sagging skin is a job that is best done by a dermatologist.

Can you prevent sagging skin?

The short answer is yes, but only for so long, with age being such an important factor. If you’re interested in keeping it at bay for as long as possible, we recommend that lifestyle changes be at the top of your to-do list. Those will yield the best results over time.

Treatments for sagging skin

Depending on the actual cause of the sagging skin, the effectiveness of some treatments may vary. However, if you are concerned or otherwise bothered by the skin, there are a few things that you can do to ease your way and possibly bring your skin back to its original state.

When considering these treatments, keep in mind both the severity of your sagging skin and its location of it.

For minor sagging

The treatments for minor sagging skin are simple and won’t require much change outside of your normal routine.

For instance, exercise is a great way to see some minor improvements in your skin. You can try weight lifting, resistance training, pilates or facial exercise. But if you’re not satisfied with the results of only exercise, you can also incorporate supplements, topical treatments, or other lifestyle changes such as wearing sunscreen or staying more hydrated.

For the most part, though, it’s about consistency and a targeted skin care routine.

For moderate sagging

There are both non-invasive and minimally invasive treatments for tightening loose skin. Just note that with all of these treatments, we encourage you to maintain the healthy lifestyle choices mentioned above for optimal results.

Skin tightening procedures include several types of laser therapy that help stimulates collagen production and can be used on the face and neck. Then laser resurfacing, which is more invasive than therapy and removes the upper layers of skin, requiring a longer recovery time but leaving better results. And micro-focused ultrasound is a technique that sends heat deep into the layers of your skin, supporting collagen production and lifting sagging skin.

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For significant saggy skin

There are few options available other than cosmetic procedures, which may not be covered by insurance for removing significant sagging skin. A concise list of those surgical skin tightening includes facelifts, neck lifts, arm lift surgery, tummy tucks and lifts for other areas of your body.

But once again, determining whether one of these procedures is the correct fit for you should be done by a medical professional– please keep that in mind as you research.

Decide on what you need to do soon

As you can imagine, time is a major factor in a situation such as this – given that as you age, the treatments will increasingly become less effective. So, while we have your attention, we recommend applying the lifestyle changes now and consulting with one of our board-certified cosmetic dermatologists on whether or not one of the other procedures is right for you.

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