Ageing can be split into two categories; intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic is maturation that happens naturally, like the slipping of fat pads and muscle weakening, whereas extrinsic describes outside factors that influence the way your body acts or reacts. A plethora of factors come together to affect the severity of sagging skin as an ageing concern.
Though most of these factors are obvious, there are some that may come as a surprise.
Natural ageing (intrinsic) comes with a decrease in the production of collagen and elastin, proteins that give skin its flexibility and strength, and, coupled with the loss of fat beneath the skin, can contribute to the appearance of sagging skin.
Smoking delivers a strong blow to the skin in two main ways. Nicotine reduces the ability of the body to deliver blood containing vital oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Carbon monoxide breathed in while smoking displaces oxygen in the blood, which, again, deprives your skin of nutrients like Vitamin C, used by the body in damage repair.
Sunbathing might be a nice way to spend a few hours, but exposure to UV rays affects your skin, accounting for 80% of ageing. The sun emits UVA and UVB radiation, which cause tans and wrinkles, and sunburn, respectively. When UV radiation hits the skin, our first line of defence is melanin; it protects us, creating a tan, and when it can’t protect any more, we develop sunburn. This exposure damages elastin, limiting skin’s ability to ‘bounce back’ and increasing laxity, and hampers collagen production, which leaves skin weaker.
What About Food And Drink?
Having a drink with friends might seem harmless, but regular drinking, or alcohol binges, can have a negative effect on your skin. Dehydration caused by alcohol and the formation of free radicals can increase skin’s laxity as they damage collagen and elastin.
There are many different foods that people claim are bad for you, but the key idea when it comes to skin is eating in moderation, and ensuring your diet isn’t filled with ingredients and chemicals that will negatively affect your skin.
– Sugar is in everything, and has its benefits, but too much can break down collagen and elastin, and worsen the effects of UV radiation on the skin.
– Caffeine, if consumed regularly in high doses, can impair your ability to sleep, which reduces the time your body has to repair damage. Saturated fat accelerates the ageing of skin, leading to laxity, and trans-fats make skin vulnerable to more damage.
Weight And Genetics
When weight is put on, skin stretches to accommodate the larger size of fat cells, then if that weight is lost quickly or without exercise, skin does not have the chance to shrink back, leading to lax skin in certain areas. Exercise can stimulate the production of collagen, which gives skin strength, and there are workouts can reduce the appearance of saggy skin.
Dehydration can cause skin to lose firmness, so it is always important to stay hydrated, both with water and a good cream or serum. This, however, can only help so much, and will not banish saggy skin altogether.
Genetics is a simple cause of saggy skin; if your parents have saggy skin, you are more likely to develop it yourself. Skin elasticity is hereditary, so if you are predisposed to laxity, other factors like diet, alcohol, and smoking will exacerbate the problem further.
You might have noticed that you break out in spots when you feel stressed, because the hormone cortisol is secreted, making skin more reactive and sensitive. As well as this, stress results in decreased blood flow to the skin and dehydration, keeping skin from receiving vitamins that help with damage repair.
Lack of sleep can cause a decrease in collagen, leading to reduced skin elasticity, which just adds to the appearance of sagging or lax skin.
At PHI Clinic, we have a range of treatments suited to reducing the appearance of sagging skin anywhere on the body. To find out more information, or to book a no obligation consultation with one of our experienced clinicians, call us today on 02070 345999 or log an enquiry through our website.