Your skin. It’s the largest organ of your body as well as the most visible, so it says a lot about you. When your skin is radiant and supple, you simply feel better. But what about when your skin isn’t so youthful or healthy-looking? Loose skin may be caused by factors including aging, weight loss, pregnancy, sun exposure, or smoking. It also may be the result of genetics.
Fortunately, there are a number of lifestyle changes and non-surgical treatments that can help tighten loose skin. Here’s a closer look at some skin-tightening options you can try:
You probably already know that exercise is good for your overall health, but it also can have a significant impact on loose skin. First, cardiovascular activity helps boost circulation, which is essential for skin health. Strength-building exercise also is effective. It enables you to develop lean muscle, which can help fill in loose skin and create a sleeker, more toned look. The key is to challenge your muscles beyond what they normally do, such as by lifting a heavier weight for eight to 12 repetitions. This kind of training creates tiny microtears in the muscle. When your body repairs those microtears, you build more muscle — and that, in turn, helps tighten your skin.
Lotions and Creams
There are dozens of skin-firming creams and products available that can help improve your skin’s appearance. These lotions are relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and can make your skin appear tighter and smoother when used regularly. Any lotion or cream that moisturizes your skin will help plump it up a bit, decreasing the look of wrinkles, lines, and sagging skin. Creams and lotions that contain retinoids may provide an additional boost because they trigger your body to produce more collagen, which makes your skin firmer. Creams that contain vitamins A, C, and E may also help encourage collagen production.
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How much water do you drink? Water is essential to overall health and also helps keep your skin hydrated and elastic. Get in the habit of drinking more water throughout the day for skin that looks healthier and firmer. Start your morning with a glass of water, and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. The amount of water you need will depend on factors including your weight and activity level, but aiming for eight 8-ounce glasses a day is a good place to start.
A Nutritious Diet
Your skin’s health is a reflection of your overall health, so choose a nutrition-dense diet that includes a variety of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Your goal is to “eat a rainbow,” or different colors of fruits and vegetables so you get the variety of phytochemicals (the substances in plants that have health benefits), vitamins, and minerals that your body needs. A balanced diet will provide antioxidants to help your skin fight off and repair damage to its structure, helping to maintain a healthy appearance.
You probably already know how good it feels to get a massage. In addition to lowering stress and reducing muscle tension, massage improves blood flow to the skin. This, in turn, makes the skin look healthier and more supple. You also can massage your skin with a rough brush before or after bathing to slough off dead skin cells, boost blood flow, and improve your skin’s appearance.
Collagen is an essential component of skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Consuming more collagen — whether through supplements or foods such as bone broth — can help support your skin and reduce sagginess. As you get older, your body naturally produces less collagen, which can lead to sagging or wrinkled skin. Replacing collagen can improve its structure and overall appearance as well as enhance its elasticity.
Seek Expert Help
Cosmetic procedures including fillers and neurotoxins can improve the look of loose skin. Other non-surgical treatments for loose skin include radiofrequency. Your dermatologist inserts a tiny tube into the area of loose skin, then radiofrequency energy is used to heat the skin beneath the tube. This triggers your body to produce more collagen, which helps tighten the area. You’ll wear a compression garment after the appointment to help reduce swelling, and can expect to see initial results within a month and continued improvement over the next six months or so.
What Results Can You Expect?
Just as everyone’s skin is different, the impact of any of these skin-tightening treatments will depend on a number of factors, including your age and genetics. Keep in mind that your skin is a living organ and the better you care for it, the more likely you are to see results from these techniques. For more information on steps you can take to tighten loose skin, see the attached infographic.