As people age, their skin loses elasticity due to changes in elastin and collagen production. Pregnancy, weight gain or loss, sun damage, and environmental factors can also cause skin to become saggy and loose. However, while some loss of elasticity is inevitable, there are plenty of steps you can take to no only minimize it, but potentially reverse it!
The cells that make up skin’s outermost layer, the epidermis, are constantly being replaced and renewed, but the cells that make up skin’s deeper layers, the dermis and hypodermis, are more permanent. If you take care of these deeper layers, you’ll have tighter, firmer, more youthful-looking skin.
Exfoliation does much more than remove surface-level dead skin cells. It also stimulates blood flow, making it easier for nutrients and oxygen to get to the skin’s surface.
- Exfoliating Scrubs: Scrubs are probably the most common exfoliation tools; they’re reasonably priced and widely available. They’re also simple to make. Brown sugar mixed with honey is a cheap, effective exfoliant. Combine equal parts raw honey and brown sugar and massage it into wet skin. Not only will it help tighten your skin, but honey has anti-bacterial properties that may heal acne.
- Dry Brushing: Dry brushing, an ancient practice experiencing a modern resurgence, cleanses and exfoliates without removing skin’s protective oils. All you need is a brush made from natural fibers. Before you shower, use it to brush your skin, using long, sweeping strokes. Not only does dry brushing exfoliate your skin, but it also helps the body detox by stimulating the lymph system to rid itself of waste.
- Salt and Mineral Scrubs: Scrub them into your skin while showering, then rinse them away. Depending on the type you use, you’ll receive benefits beyond exfoliation. For example, sea salt’s high magnesium content may help relieve muscle soreness and flush impurities from your system.
Hydrated skin has greater elasticity while dehydrated skin leads to oxidative stress, which decreases the body’s ability to fight free-radical damage. The right moisturizer keeps your skin firm and helps prevent sagging.
Look for these ingredients when you’re shopping for a new cream, lotion, supplement, or serum.
- Ceramides: Ceramides are molecules that keep skin plump and supple by providing a protective barrier between the skin and the environment. As you age, your body produces fewer
ceramide molecules, leading to dry, dull skin. Products that contain them can help replace the ones lost to the aging process.
- Essential Fatty Acids: Your cells require these healthy fats to keep skin healthy and moisturized. However, your body doesn’t produce them; you must add them to your diet and your skin-care routine. Products containing olive oil, shea butter, and avocado will help your skin lock in moisture. Add salmon, walnuts, and eggs to your diet for an additional boost.
- Hyaluronic acid: Just one hyaluronic acid molecule can hold a thousand times its weight in water. You produce less of this naturally-occurring lubricant as you age, and this decreased production contributes to dryness and sagging. To counteract this, use a product containing hyaluronic acid to plump and hydrate the skin. For a more intense, immediate treatment, see a doctor for an injectable form.
3. Use Products with Skin Firming Ingredients
For tighter skin, use products that address skin firmness. Consider using a serum containing skin-firming ingredients in conjunction with your moisturizer for faster results. Serums have greater concentrations of high-performance ingredients and are easily absorbed.
Look for these ingredients in skin-firming products.
- Vitamin C: The antioxidant properties of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and its role in collagen synthesis make vitamin C a vital molecule for skin health. Dietary and topical ascorbic acid have beneficial effects on skin cells, and some studies have shown that vitamin C may help prevent and treat ultraviolet (UV)-induced photodamage.
- Aloe Vera: If you’re looking for an affordable, natural way to tighten your skin, try aloe vera. You can purchase products that contain it, or break open an aloe vera leaf, extract the gel, massage it into your skin and wash it off with warm water after twenty minutes. It hydrates, firms, and nourishes.
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A strengthens and repairs skin tissue by assisting the body in collagen production. It can also help combat problems with acne, oily skin, and wrinkles. Skin care products containing Vitamin A are widely available and you should get it from your diet as well. Carrots, sweet potatoes, and winter squash are all good sources.
4. Don’t Forget the Sunscreen
Much of what people consider an inevitable part of aging is actually caused by sun damage. Long-term exposure to the sun can cause collagen to break down and elastin to degrade.
- Broad Spectrum: Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects you from both UVA and UVB damage. If it isn’t labeled broad-spectrum, it’s probably not going to provide enough protection to prevent sun damage.
- SPF: SPF refers to the amount of protection sunscreen provides from UVB rays. According to the Skin Care Foundation, products with an SPF of 15 block about 93% of rays while products with an SPF of 30 block about 97%.
- Zinc Oxide: Look for products containing zinc oxide; it provides a physical barrier between UV light and your skin. It’s a smart choice because it doesn’t contain chemicals and protects you from both UVA and UVB rays.
While loss of skin firmness is a natural part of aging, there’s a lot you can do to minimize it. Educate yourself on the right products, foods, and routines that can help keep your skin healthy and toned.