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Do you have loose or saggy skin? Here’s What You Can Do About It

One of the most common skin problems, particularly among women over 50, is the development of saggy or loose skin. The skin becomes more susceptible to laxity as it loses its elasticity, which happens quickly past the age of 501. Any weight gain or loss is more likely to leave stretch marks or loose skin specifically.

Pregnancy, weight loss, aging, and other factors contribute to saggy or loose skin2. While it’s a natural fact of life, it can also wear on you mentally and increase your self-consciousness. So, while being able to lose massive amounts of weight is great, the result of loose skin is not exactly desirable.

Traditionally, getting rid of excess, saggy, loose skin may involve surgery. However, there are non-invasive options available as well. In this article, we’ll discuss all you need to know about saggy or loose skin and the methods to get rid of it.

What Causes Saggy or Loose Skin?

Wondering what causes the skin to sag in the first place? There are numerous factors that affect the skin’s elasticity and texture. Here are some of the more common reasons why you might be seeing loose skin on your body:

Weight loss

Carrying extra weight for an extended period of time can cause damage to the collagen and elastin fibers in your skin. Losing weight makes the skin more difficult to snap back into place. A significant loss in weight, such as a loss of 50kg or more, may result in sagging skin.

Sagging skin is also likely to occur when weight loss is rapid, such as after bariatric surgery3. Often, these weight loss procedures result in drooping, sagging skin.

Ketones, produced from fat cells in ketosis, circulate in the blood and are the body’s primary fuel source.

weight loss saggy skin
Aging woman

Aging

As the body ages, it loses two important proteins that are found in the dermis – elastin, and collagen4. Elastin, as its name suggests, provides elasticity to the skin and allows it to bounce back when stretched.

Collagen, on the other hand, consists of very tightly packed fibers, which help keep the skin firm. Losing these two proteins causes the skin to go loose.

Excessive Sun Exposure

Excessive exposure to UVA/UVB radiation leads to premature cellular death. UV radiation has been shown to cause collagen to break down at a higher rate. It does this by penetrating the dermal layer of the skin, causing the abnormal buildup of elastin.

When the elastin accumulates, enzymes are produced which inadvertently break down collagen. Overexposure to the sun increases wrinkles and sagging.

Sun bathing woman

Pregnancy

Loose skin is a normal experience for many women after pregnancy. During pregnancy, the skin stretches to accommodate the growing baby. As a result, many women find that the skin around their belly becomes loosened after giving birth. Maternal age also plays a role when it comes to the likelihood of the mother developing loose skin post-pregnancy.

How to Tighten Loose Skin

There are a plethora of skin tightening procedures available on the market that can reduce the appearance of loose or saggy skin. Surgical options for skin tightening include facelifts and tummy tucks6. They can produce more dramatic results but are more costly and have a higher risk of complications.

Non-invasive skin tightening treatment options are increasing in popularity due to the fact that they are less costly, less invasive, involve fewer risks, and have a shorter recovery time.

Radiofrequency Microneedling Skin Tightening

Radiofrequency Microneedling, also known as RF Microneedling, is an increasingly popular modality for treating loose and saggy skin, especially around the double chin and neck region.

RF Microneedling is a treatment that can deliver the RF energy deep into the skin, rejuvenating the skin from the inside. This induces a healing response that stimulates the production of new collagen and elastin fibers8.

The treatment is also beneficial in reducing scarring and stretch marks. It is a safe, effective, and inexpensive alternative solution to other skin tightening treatments.

Sylfirm RF Microneedling

Ultrasound Skin Tightening

Ultrasound skin tightening involves using a device to send focused sound waves deep into your skin to stimulate the production of new collagen. Similar to radiofrequency, ultrasound relies on generating heat in the skin. The existing collagen fibers contract and new collagen are now formed9. This results in a tightened appearance of the skin.

Radiofrequency Skin Tightening

Radiofrequency skin tightening uses a device to apply controlled radio waves to restore lost collagen to the targeted area of the skin. Multiple studies have shown that raising the skin’s temperature and keeping it there for at least 3 minutes can trigger the release of heat-shock proteins, leading to the formation of new collagen and increased elasticity10.

Laser Lipolysis Skin Tightening

Lipolysis, or laser therapy, is now a widely used and accepted modality for removing unwanted fatty tissue10. Since SculpSure’s FDA Approval in 2006, studies have continued to corroborate early clinical observations of decreased adiposity, shortened recovery times, and improved skin tightening.

One study used laser lipolysis and skin tightening to treat the lower subcutaneous layer. Treated skin tissue was evaluated and it was found that under constant heat, skin tightening was observed during the healing process without epidermal injury10.

Laser lipolysis has the potential of producing similar clinical results to those seen with liposuction while providing the additional benefit of skin tightening11.

a photo of a SculpSure machine treating a patient

SculpSure is an FDA-approved non-invasive body contouring treatment that uses laser lipolysis.  The FDA has also cleared the treatment as the world’s first noninvasive laser lipolysis therapy, designed to safely eliminate fat cells.

In addition to its effectiveness as a fat removal solution, its patented 1060nm wavelength laser is able to penetrate deep into the dermal layers of the skin. This stimulates collagen production without causing damage to the surrounding tissues. This results in a firmer and smoother appearance of the skin.

Microwave Treatment for Skin Tightening

A non-invasive technology, microwaves are used in the ONDA system, which operates by propagating microwave energy into tissues.12. Onda CoolWaves employs a patented technology that induces non-invasive growth and rejuvenation without causing skin damage to achieve a 3-in-1 effect of reducing fat deposits, cellulite, and skin laxity.

Studies have recorded that the longer wavelengths can penetrate deeper, and the energy produced by the microwaves during an Onda treatment has shown to cause immediate shrinkage or contraction of the collagen in the dermis. This results in a consequent tightening of the skin13.

The treatment also boosts the collagen production in the targeted areas, tightening and firming up the skin.

Onda Coolwaves

Conclusion

Saggy or loose skin may not be a cause for concern medically. However, for some, it can be frustrating and damaging to their self-esteem. If you struggle with saggy or loose skin that does not respond well to over-the-counter treatments, schedule a body appointment with us to find out which solution might be most suited for your condition.