What Causes Skin Laxity and How You Can Treat It

Defy the effects of gravity!
BY Sarah Lim
| Last updated Apr, 2023
Skin Laxity Causes and How You Can Treat

If you’ve ever seen skin that looks less plump and has even started to sag, you may have been seeing skin laxity. It’s a cute look for a turtle, but most humans prefer not to let skin hang too early on.

Skin laxity, also called crepey skin, can happen over time as people age. But what causes skin laxity, and how can you treat it? Several things can cause the skin to lose firmness and volume, causing it to sag and appear more aged.

Here’s all you need to know about sagging or crepey skin, including how to improve and maybe avoid it.

How Sagging Skin Happens

How Sagging Skin Happens

No one wants to have sagging skin. Unfortunately, the skin’s natural aging process naturally contributes to some skin laxity over time. Here are the top factors that contribute to loose or sagging skin.

1. Lower Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid Production

As we age, the skin produces less collagen—up to 1.5% less every year, starting in your 20s. Hyaluronic acid, a superstar moisture molecule that helps skin retain moisture, leading to a firmer, plumper look. It also decreases with age, resulting in a loss of moisture in the skin—hence the crepey look. 

2. Fat Loss in the Skin

Skin also naturally loses some of its fat as we age, which can cause the face to change shape and lead to sagging or laxity in the skin. Oil glands in the skin also stop producing as much sebum, increasing your risk for fine lines and wrinkles.

3. Weight Gain and Loss

You may be more prone to skin laxity if you’ve lost or gained a lot of weight throughout your life. Research shows that the collagen in skin in people who have lost a lot of weight is significantly decreased, contributing to sagging skin. 

4. Poor Lifestyle Habits

While happy hour might help you relax, it’s unfortunately not helping when it comes to skin aging and laxity. Drinking alcohol and smoking both significantly influence skin aging. Stress, sleep deprivation, and a diet deficient in antioxidants and nutrients may all contribute to skin sagging.

5. Less Elastin

Elastin is a protein that permits your tissues to stretch, which explains why ligaments, blood vessels, and organs like the lungs can stretch as needed. Unfortunately, elastin decreases with age, contributing to skin sagging and thinner, more fragile skin. 

6. What About Sun Exposure?

Although sun exposure certainly does influence skin aging as far as wrinkles and hyperpigmentation go, skin sagging is more related to aging than specifically to sun damage. Don’t use this as an excuse to skip sunscreen, though! 

When and Where Does Skin Laxity Happen?

Skin laxity can begin to happen as soon as age 35, thanks to decreasing collagen and elastin production. While most people who reach a certain age will have sagging skin, some may see skin laxity sooner or later, depending on their particular genetics and lifestyle.

Sagging skin is most commonly seen in the cheeks and around the jawline. However, it can also happen on the neck and other body areas, especially if you’ve gained and lost weight.

If you have skin laxity, you may notice your skin looks less plump or that your cheeks are beginning to droop. You also may notice that your jawline looks less defined than it once did.

Can You Treat Skin Laxity?

The good news is that skin laxity can be treated. You have various options when helping skin look more firm and less saggy.

Keep Skin Moisturized 

Keep skin moisturized

Although moisturizer won’t result in a dramatic difference in skin sagging, it can help improve the appearance of skin firmness and plumpness. Staying hydrated can also keep as much moisture as possible in your skin to reduce the dry and crepey appearance.

Consider Collagen Supplements 

Consider collagen supplements

Remember, the skin can’t absorb collagen from the outside, so even if a skincare product contains collagen, it won’t be as helpful as ensuring you get enough collagen and collagen-supporting foods (such as vitamin C) in your diet. 

Laser Resurfacing

Laser Resurfacing

Laser treatment may be able to help sagging skin. In fact, laser resurfacing is considered one of the most effective skin tightening treatments for tightening loose skin. It can produce results faster than lifestyle changes or over-the-counter skincare treatments

Dermal Fillers

Dermal Fillers

Fillers may be able to help soften wrinkles and improve the appearance of sagging skin, although keep in mind that they won’t improve the appearance of excess skin. While they aren’t permanent, they do provide immediate results. 

Facial Exercises 

Facial Exercises

Exercising your face may help improve the appearance of sagging skin, although exercise may be best used in combination with other therapies for skin laxity for more dramatic results.  

How to Prevent Sagging or Crepey Skin

How to Prevent Sagging or Crepey Skin

Can you prevent sagging or crepey skin as you age? Although completely avoiding sagging skin may not be realistic, it’s certainly possible to reduce the appearance of skin laxity and keep any sagging to an absolute minimum.

First, get enough antioxidants in your diet. Green tea, vitamin C, and beta-carotene are antioxidants that fight free radical damage, minimizing UV damage and even helping to prevent wrinkle formation. 

In addition, many healthy foods such as citrus fruits, fish, eggs, lean meats, and leafy greens can support collagen production in the body as we age. Using antioxidants in your skincare can also help support a youthful appearance. These include vitamin C, coenzyme Q10, and green tea extract. 

Skincare actives that support cellular turnovers, such as retinol and retinol alternatives, may also help support younger-looking, healthy skin and reduce skin sagging

Anything you can do to manifest a healthy lifestyle, such as eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, and decreasing stress, can all help to reduce skin aging and sagging skin.

What’s Your Skin Type?

Do you know your skin type? Knowing your skin type might help you select the appropriate products or professional skincare treatments to prevent and enhance the look of skin laxity. Find out now by taking our free quiz!

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