Sagging Skin: Why It Happens and What to Do About It

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Sagging skin is something many of us fear as we age. While it’s inevitable, we can take steps to delay it and keep our skin looking youthful.

There are different ways to tighten loose skin, ranging from simple self-care to medical procedures. When loose skin is severe, surgery might be an option.

This article explains why skin sags and offers tips to prevent it. It also suggests ways to improve the appearance of saggy skin.

Why Does Skin Sagging Happen?

Imagine skin as a stretchy rubber band. When you pull it, it bounces back into place. But over time, it loses this ability and starts to sag. This can happen in various places, like your eyelids, chin, or stomach.

Here’s why it sags:

  • Aging: As you get older, your skin loses two important proteins: elastin and collagen. Elastin gives skin its bounce, while collagen keeps it firm. Sun exposure, pollution, and unhealthy habits like smoking can speed up this process.
  • Weight loss: Carrying extra weight can damage your skin’s fibers. So when you lose weight, especially a lot of it quickly, your skin may not bounce back as easily. This can leave you with saggy skin, especially after bariatric surgery.
  • Pregnancy: It’s common for women to have some saggy skin after pregnancy, especially if they carry multiples. Age can also play a role here.
  • Illness: Certain medical conditions, like granulomatous slack skin or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, can cause saggy skin. These are rare and usually inherited disorders that affect collagen production.

Can You Prevent Saggy Skin?

Yes, you can prevent sagging skin, but it’s influenced by age and won’t stop it forever. If you want to delay sagging, focus on lifestyle changes. They’ll give you the best long-term results.

Here are some easy tips to prevent saggy skin:

  • Protect from Free Radicals: Free radicals, which are produced in response to the environment, can cause skin to age faster and sag. Avoid factors like pollution, UV light, and smoking, which increase free radicals. Antioxidants found in plant-based foods can help neutralize them.
  • Healthy Habits: Enjoy the sun safely by using sunscreen, avoid tanning beds, and maintain a balanced diet rich in nutrients. Stay hydrated by drinking enough water and using moisturizer to keep your skin supple.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Get enough sleep to allow your skin to regenerate properly. If you smoke, quitting can improve your skin’s health. If you’re losing weight, do it gradually to give your skin time to adjust.
  • Reduce Exposure: Minimize exposure to environmental pollution and cigarette smoke, as they can speed up skin aging and sagging.

Home Remedies

Certain lifestyle changes can help with sagging skin, depending on its cause and how severe it is. 

Different techniques may work better for specific parts of the body. Here are some approaches to consider:


Exercise can help improve saggy skin, especially after moderate weight loss or pregnancy. Here are some exercises that can be beneficial:

  • Weight lifting or resistance training: Using weights, machines, or resistance bands can increase muscle mass and tighten muscles, reducing the appearance of minor skin sagging.
  • Pilates: This form of exercise, also known as contrology, focuses on controlled movements to tighten and strengthen the core, arms, glutes, and legs.
  • Facial exercises: There’s some evidence that facial exercises can reduce saggy skin around the chin, jowls, and throat. Yoga practitioners often believe that certain exercises can help. One pose to try is simhasana (Lion Pose).

Firming products

Lots of products claim to firm up loose skin. They’re usually for areas like the face, neck, or belly.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, these products don’t work well. They often can’t get deep enough into your skin to really fix sagging.

But some products with retinoids might help a bit. Retinoids can boost collagen in your skin, making it look firmer.


Eating lots of colorful fruits and veggies is great for your skin. But sometimes, taking extra supplements can also help with sagging skin.

Here are some supplements to consider:

  • Collagen supplements: These can help replace the collagen your body loses naturally. You can find collagen in tablets, powders, capsules, and drinks. A study found that taking collagen for 8 weeks improved skin elasticity.
  • Antioxidants: These fight off free radicals that can make your skin age faster. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that also helps with collagen production. If you don’t get enough vitamin C, your collagen production drops.

You can find antioxidant supplements in tablets, capsules, powders, and even gummies. But remember, eating a healthy diet gives you lots of antioxidants, including vitamin C.


Massage can boost blood flow all over your body. This helps get rid of waste stuff like free radicals.

It can also wake up fibroblasts, which are cells that make connective tissues to keep your skin firm. These tissues include collagen and elastin.

A little study looked at using a handheld massage gadget with an anti-aging face cream. It found that massage made the cream work better on wrinkles and saggy necks.

Learn more about facial massage

Nonsurgical Treatments

If your skin is a bit saggy but not too bad, there are some treatments that don’t involve surgery. They’re quick and you’ll bounce back fast. You might have some redness or swelling afterward, but it goes away.

These treatments boost collagen and elastin by heating up layers of skin underneath. You might start seeing results within 2 to 6 months.

Some of these treatments include:


Ultrasound goes deep into your skin, heating it up to make more collagen. One session might give you a slight lift, but you’ll likely need more for a bigger effect.

Laser Treatments

Laser beams heat up your skin without hurting the top layer. You’ll probably need three to five sessions, and results show up a few months after your last treatment. They’re great for tightening skin, especially on the belly and arms.

Nonsurgical Radiofrequency

This treatment heats up the tissue under your skin. Some folks see results after just one session, but it might take more sessions for the best outcome. With the right skin care, the effects can last 2 to 3 years.

Minimally Invasive Options

There are a few simple treatments that can help firm up your skin. These include:

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

IPL uses light to heat up cells under your skin. You’ll likely need multiple sessions for results. It might cause some redness and swelling, but that usually goes away in a day. IPL might not be suitable for folks with tanned or dark skin tones. It might not tighten skin for everyone, but it could help with aging signs.

Surgical Radiofrequency

This treatment heats up your skin using small filaments inserted under the skin. You’ll probably get local anesthesia to numb the area. Recovery takes about 5 days, and you’ll start seeing results in about a month.

Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing targets deep layers of your skin. You’ll get numbing cream before the procedure. Recovery time depends on the laser used and treatment area size, usually 3 to 10 days. One treatment can make a big difference, but sometimes you’ll need more. Results can last for years.

Surgical or Cosmetic Options

For serious skin sagging, surgery might be an option. But keep in mind, these procedures need a lot of recovery time, usually a few weeks.

Body contouring surgeries can leave scars, especially on places like the upper arms. Recovery takes 2 weeks to a month. You can choose to treat one area or multiple areas.

Here are some types of body contouring surgeries:

  • Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
  • Arm Lift Surgery (Brachioplasty)
  • Face Lift
  • Neck Lift
  • Lower Body Lift
  • Upper Body Lift
  • Medial Thigh Lift

Final Words

Saggy skin isn’t a medical issue and doesn’t bother everyone. But for some, it can be annoying or affect how they feel about themselves.

There are different ways to improve sagging skin. For mild to moderate sagging, you can try:

  • Regular exercise
  • Use firming products
  • Massage your skin
  • Take supplements

If you have tried home treatments and your saggy skin doesn’t see visible improvements, talk to your doctor about other options. 

Looking for professional skincare advice? Schedule an online consultation with dermatologist Dr. Ava Patel to address your concerns.

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