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Drooping, sagging skin is one of the telltale signs of aging.
It happens to everybody eventually, although certain factors can push the process along more quickly.
What Causes Facial Skin to Sag?
The main causes of sagging facial skin can be summed up in a simple equation: aging + sun exposure + gravity. As we grow older, our skin loses two types of connective tissue, collagen and elastin, which are essential for making skin look tight, plump, and youthful. Facial muscles also weaken with age, and the malar fat pads under the cheeks descend as well. Repeated exposure to sunlight (and other
lifestyle factors, especially smoking) greatly speeds up this process. Then, as the skin becomes less elastic, it becomes more vulnerable to the persistent pull of gravity.
As facial skin sags, two major folds form: the nasolabial folds that run from the corners of the nose to the corners of the mouth and the “marionette” lines that run from the corners of the mouth to the jawline. Sagging skin also causes the forehead to permanently furrow, the eyelids to droop, neck skin to lengthen, and jowls to appear.
What Causes Body Skin to Sag?
Loosing a lot of weight—for example, after having gastric-bypass surgery—can result in large amounts of loose, sagging skin, particularly on the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, and upper arms. No amount of stomach crunches, pushups, or leg curls will tighten that skin.
Women who have gone through a pregnancy also develop loose skin, particularly around the abdomen. Often (but not always) they can re-contour their body to its pre-pregnancy shape through exercise and careful dieting.
What Treatments Are Available for Sagging Skin?
Several cosmetic treatments can help tighten mildly loose skin and help minimize the appearance of any deep facial folds that have formed as a result. Severely drooping skin can also be treated, but usually surgery is required. Talk with your physician about your options.
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