how to prevent saggy skin

Can you prevent saggy skin from well… sagging and looking all turkey like?

Bad news: once your skin is saggy, you can’t unsag it. Not with skincare anyway. There’s a reason Kris Jenner opts for facelifts, ya know?

Good news: you can slow down the sagging process and keep your skin tight for as long as possible. Would you like that, gorgeous? If so, read on to find out 4 science-based ways to prevent saggy skin that REALLY work.

But first, a bit of science (you can skip to the “How Do You Prevent Saggy Skin” section if this bit doesn’t interest you).

Why Does Your Skin Sag?

Think of your skin as a mattress. Collagen is the frame that holds the whole thing together. Elastin is the springs that make it bounce back into place. Fats are the stuffing that gives it its volume. As every part becomes weaker, the mattress starts to sag.

The same happens to your skin. When you’re young, your skin makes all the collagen & co it needs to stay firm and elastic. But as you get older, it starts to slack on the job. Here’s what I mean:

  • Collagen: It’s the protein that keeps skin firm. As soon as you turn 21, you start losing 1% collagen a year. At first, the loss is so tiny, you barely notice it. 10 years later, you wonder when did your skin become so slack. By the way, things only get worse with menopause. You lose 30% collagen in the first 5 years!
  • Elastin: It’s the protein that makes your skin elastic. Once elastin breaks down, it’s very hard for your body to make more of it. Prevention is key here.
  • Fats: Remember the baby fat you couldn’t wait to shed? It filled up your cheeks and under-eye area, making it look smoother and plumper. As fats deplete with age, your face loses volume. Cue hollowed cheeks and eyes. (By the way, how unfair is it this happens only on the face?!)

This is a natural process that happens to all of us. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. Phew!

Related: 8 Science-Backed Ways To Rebuild Lost Collagen

Struggling to put together a skincare routine that minimises wrinkles, prevents premature aging, and gives your complexion a youthful glow? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):

What Makes Skin Sag Faster?

Sagging is a natural process. But the rate at which it happens ain’t always natural. There are a number of things that speed up the process.

Here are the worst culprits:

  • Gravity: It pulls everything down – fact.
  • Pollution: It generates free radicals, little nasty molecules that destroy collagen, proteins, and everything they else they find on their way, speeding up the aging process.
  • Smoking: It speeds up collagen and elastin depletion – as well as cause a lot of other, more serious damage, to your health.
  • Too much sugar: It causes glycation, a fancy way to say that it corrupts your collagen and makes your skin sag faster.
  • UV rays: They destroy collagen, elastin, and everything else they find in their way. They’re one of the biggest sources of free radicals.
  • Weight loss: If you’re always losing and gaining weight, you’ll weaken the “springs” that keep your skin firm and elastic.

You have no control over gravity. But how many of the other factors are you not addressing? For examples, do you wear sunscreen religiously? Do you smoke? And how rich in sugar is your diet?

If you smoke, your skin will sag faster than that of a non-smoker. Same if you skip sunscreen. Your sunscreen addict friends will enjoy a smooth complexion for longer.

I know it’s hard to make some of these changes. But skincare products alone can’t do much to prevent skin if you chain smoke, never wear sunscreen, and eat too much sugar. Relying only on them won’t get you the results you want.

Related: How To Protect Your Skin From Pollution

paula's choice super-light daily wrinkle defense spf 30 review

How Do You Prevent Saggy Skin?

You can’t do anything about gravity or the natural aging process. But that doesn’t mean you’re powerless. Here’s what you can do to prevent saggy skin for as long as possible:

1. Wear Sunscreen

Sunscreen is NON-negotiable. UV rays are the number one cause of saggy skin (and all other signs of premature aging). Every time you go out without sunscreen, you’re aging your skin. Period.

Yes, even in winter. Even if it’s rainy. Even if it’s snowing. UV rays are sneaky. They get through the darkest clouds and get reflected on snow. Just because you can’t see the sun, doesn’t mean it’s not harming your skin.

FYI, UVA rays penetrate through glass, too. Don’t think you’re safe in your car or near those big office windows. Wear your sunscreen, ladies.

WARNING! You can follow all the other tips in this article, but if you skip sunscreen, it’s all for nothing. Sunscreen is THAT important, and I strongly recommend enrolling in my scientist friend Cheryl’s online course, AgeLock to get it right today. Because remember, if you’re using the wrong sunscreen you won’t know it till you’re seeing saggy skin…

Best Picks:

  • Dr Dennis Gross Dark Spot Sun Defense Sunscreen SPF 50 ($42.00): Enriched with 3 forms of Vitamin C that boosts sun protection, this sunscreen protects skin from UV rays and prevents premature aging. It’s most suitable for dry skin. Available at Cult Beauty, Nordstrom and Sephora
  • EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47 ($25.00): One of my fave sunscreens for oily skin, iyt provides broad spectrum protection without leaving a greasy residue on skin. Available at Dermstore and Walmart
  • Paula’s Choice Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 ($33.00): Another great option for oily skin, this sunscreen is enriched with plenty of antioxidants to enhance the effectiveness of the sunscreen and prevent premature wrinkles. It has a tint to avoid any white cast. Available at DermstoreNordstrom, Paula’s Choice and Sephora.

Related: 6 Sunscreen Myths You Need To Stop Believing Right Now

best vitamin C serum: drunk elephant c-firma day serum

2. Use A Vitamin C Serum

Did you know that Vitamin C is essential for collagen production? The more your skin has, the more collagen your skin pumps out.

While it’s at it, Vitamin C fights off free radicals, too. They’re nasty molecules generated by UV rays, pollution, smoking… all the usual culprits. Free radicals give you wrinkles and dark spots, make your skin sag faster, and even play a role in the development of cancer and other awful diseases.

The more free radicals are roaming your body, the faster you age. Vitamin C helps you neutralise them before they can wreak their havoc on your skin… especially when used with other antioxidants.

Make sure your Vitamin C Serum contains as many antioxidants as possible. At the very least, it must contain Vitamin E and ferulic acid. Studies show this combo makes Vitamin C work better and boosts sun protection, too! That’s why I like to layer it under my sunscreen to make it work better.

Best Picks:

  • Paula’s Choice C15 Booster ($49.00): My fave dupe for Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, this baby contains 15% L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Vitamin E, and ferulic acid. This powerful combinations brightens skin, fights free radicals, and enhances sun protection. Available at Nordstrom, Paula’s Choice and Sephora.
  • Paula’s Choice Resist Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum ($38.00): This serum contains every antioxidant under the sun to help you fight free radicals and prevent premature wrinkles. Available at DermstoreNordstromPaula’s Choice and Sephora.
  • Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($166.00): The original L-Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin E, and ferulic acid, this serum brightens skin, boosts collagen, and prevents premature wrinkles. It has many dupes, but few work as well as this. If you can afford it, it’s totally worth the splurge. Available at Dermstore and Skinstore.

Related: The Complete Guide To Vitamin C In Skincare: What It Is, What It Does, And How To Use It

peter thomas roth retinol infusion pm night serum 01

3. Add A Retinoid To Your Skincare Routine

Retinoid is a catch-all term for every member of the Vitamin A family, including:

  • Hydroxypinacolone retinoate (Granactive Retinoid)
  • Retinaldehyde
  • Retinol
  • Tretinoin

Retinoids slow down premature aging in 3 ways:

  • They prevent wrinkles and saggy skin: They fight off free radicals and neutralise them so they can’t initiate the chain reaction that leads to the destruction of collagen and elastin and, from there, to wrinkles and saggy skin.
  • They firm skin: They boost the production of collagen, the protein that keeps skin firm. Skin starts losing collagen once you turn 21. The more collagen you can replenish, the firmer and younger-looking your skin will be.
  • They smooth out skin: They speed up cellular turnover, the skin’s natural exfoliating process to make skin smoother and more even-toned.

Tretinoin is the most effective – and the most irritating. So irritating, it’s available by prescription only.

Retinol works more slowly, but it’s less irritating. Still, it’s a good idea to start with a low concentration (0.01%) and work your way up to 1%. I show you how to do it in this article.

Retinaldehyde is somewhere in the middle. It’s more effective than retinol, yet gentler on the skin. The catch? It hard to stabilise for use in skincare products, so the price is higher. Hence why few brands use it.

I don’t recommend other retinoids for saggy skin prevention. These 3 have the most research to back up their claims. Most of my clients go for retinoid because it’s cheaper – and it still does the job well. If you’ve been using it for years and can tolerate it well, it’s worth it to ask your derm to switch to Tretinoin for faster results.

Best Picks:

  • La Roche Posay Redermic Anti-Aging Dermatological Treatment ($56.99): A simple, medium-strength retinol serum that fights premature wrinkles and smoothes out skin texture. It contains 0.1% retinol. Available at Dermstore
  • Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum With Retinol ($34.00): A low-strength 0.03%retinol suitable for beginners with dry skin. It’s also enriched with every antioxidant under the sun to prevent premature wrinkles. Available at Paula’s Choice
  • Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM ($65.00): A high strength 1.5% retinol for women (and men) who have built tolerance to this active and are willing to go to the next levels. It smoothes out skin texture, brightens skin, and prevents and treats wrinkles. Available at Beauty BayCult BeautyDermstoreSephora and Ulta

Related: What Type Of Retinoid Is Best For You?

5 food rules to follow for beautiful skin 03

4. Avoid Eating Too Much Sugar

I know, I know… I have a sweet tooth, too. There ain’t no way I’m gonna give up on cake, ya all. I just eat it only on my cheat day. Here’s why:

Too much sugar causes all kinds of havoc on your skin:

  • Wrinkles: Ever wondered why people affected by diabetes look older? Glycation. That’s a fancy way of saying that sugar hardens and cross-links collagen and elastin, the proteins that keep your skin firm and elastic. When they’re damaged, skin sags and wrinkles appear.
  • Pimples: High levels of insulin trigger the skin to produce way more sebum that it needs. Hello, pimples! (If there’s one thing worse than wrinkles, it’s wrinkles AND pimples…)
  • Inflammation: Too much sugar causes inflammation, the root cause of pretty much every disease and skin woe, including wrinkles, dark spots and irritations.

Again, I’m not saying to cut sugar out of your diet completely. If you can do it, kudos to you. For most people (myself included), deprivation only leads to sugar binging a few weeks later. Ahem…

There’s a better way. The Low Glycemic Diet is a simple diet with only one rule: eat more foods low in sugar and fewer foods high in sugar.

By the way, don’t let the word diet put you off. The Low Glycemic Diet is more of a way of eating than a diet. It doesn’t ban any foods. It just encourages you to eat more of the foods that nourish your body and less of those that make you age faster.

If you want to know how to get started on the Low Glycemic Diet, check out my guide here. It’ll be a game-changer for you and your skin.

Related: I Went On The Low Glycemic Diet And It Transformed My Skin

The Bottom Line

You can’t prevent saggy skin completely, but you can slow down the aging process considerably. How? Wear sunscreen, cut back on sugar, and add vitamin C and retinol to your skincare routine. And be patient! It takes months of consistent use to see results. Don’t quit!

Cheryl, my award-winning scientist friend, shows you exactly how to do all of this inside her raved about online course, AgeLock which you can check out here. Psst – you can also get 17% off by using code GIO17.