Skin Laxity: What Causes It? How Can We Treat It?
Do you have concerns of loose, crepey skin on your face and/or body? Skin laxity is something everyone will face at some point in their life due to the natural aging process. Besides aging, there are other factors that can play a part in skin laxity, such as intrinsic and extrinsic factors, genetics, diet, lifestyle, sun exposure, stress and smoking. Sometimes following a healthy diet and workout regimen isn’t enough to target laxity in the skin. There are two vital components to the skin’s structure that will affect laxity; collagen and elastin. As we age we begin to lose these two key components and our skin begins to lose elasticity, resulting in loose or sagging skin.
What is collagen?
Collagen is the main structural protein found in the skin and other connective tissues throughout the body. Think of collagen as the “building blocks” of the skin.
What is elastin?
Elastin is a protein that coils and recoils like a spring within the elastic fibers of connective tissue, accounting for the elasticity of the skin and other structures of the body.
The skin depends on both collagen and elastin to remain tight to our face and body. Collagen and elastin are found in the deeper layer of the skin called the dermis, which is located right above the fatty layer which lies beneath the skin.
So why do we lose collagen and elastin as we age?
As we age, our bodies begin to stop producing collagen and elastin. Other outside factors are responsible for the destruction of these two key components in the skin; keep in mind the difference between destruction and production. The aging process can be rushed by the things we are doing in our day to day lives, affecting the appearance and health of our skin.
Intrinsic Factors: The Natural Aging Process
Intrinsic factors occur internally in our bodies and these factors are unfortunately sometimes out of our control. As we age our skin and body begins to decline over time - genetics play a huge role in this aspect. The production of collagen and elastin slows down, resulting in changes to the skin. At 20 years of age, your body begins to produce 1% less collagen per year and the skin becomes more fragile and thin. Other internal factors, such as sweat and oil glands, begin to diminish in overall function over the years. Our sebaceous glands (oil glands) are responsible for keeping the skin naturally hydrated and supple. As the production of those glands lessens the skin becomes drier, resulting in fine lines/wrinkles.
Extrinsic aging occurs from environmental factors including free radicals, toxins, pollutants and UV rays. In our day to day lives, we are exposed to high levels of free radicals which damage the skin and body. Antioxidants are key to preventing free radical damage so incorporating them into your diet and skin care regimen is essential. An antioxidant is a substance that inhibits oxidation or reactions promoted by oxygen, peroxides or free radicals, thus preventing damage to the body. A few key antioxidants are vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin A (retinol) and green tea. Incorporating these antioxidants into your diet and skin care regimen is a great way to reduce the visible signs of aging. Along with diet and lifestyle, protecting your skin from UV rays is a must. Sun exposure accounts for about 85% of skin aging so wearing a sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher needs to become part of your daily routine. Extrinsic aging causes the appearance of freckles, sun spots, excessive loss of collagen and elastin, formation of precancerous lesions as well as skin cancer. The appearance of an uneven skin tone, dryness, roughness and fine lines and wrinkles are also factors of extrinsic aging. The best thing you can do for your skin is wear a sunscreen every single day!
What skin care products should I use?
The products we apply to our skin play a huge role in overall skin quality and health - we need to feed our skin the same way we feed our bodies day to day! At Artisan Skin and Laser Center, we carry all medical grade skin care products, meaning the concentration of active ingredients are higher than most drug store or over the counter products. Medical grade skin care products include growth factors, antioxidants, vitamins, peptides and other essential ingredients. If you are concerned with skin laxity, growth factors are a must as they inhibit collagen production in the skin. Combining growth factors with the other essential ingredients will only benefit your skin!
What treatments can I do to improve skin laxity?
If loose skin, fine lines/wrinkles, or even cellulite are a concern of yours, there are advanced technology treatments available to rebuild collagen in the skin and increase its overall production. ThermiSmooth® is a wonderful treatment used to tighten lax skin not only on the face, but on the body as well! ThermiSmooth® is a non-invasive temperature controlled radiofrequency system that can help you achieve a more youthful appearance. ThermiSmooth® heats up the skin of the target area to comfortably tighten aging, sagging, or wrinkled skin by rebuilding collagen. A series of 4 treatments is recommended spaced out 1-3 weeks apart. After your initial 4 treatments, a maintenance treatment will typically be needed about 10-12 months later. ThermiSmooth® is a safe and comfortable treatment that requires NO downtime so patients can resume their regular daily activities!
At Artisan Skin and Laser Center, we offer complimentary consultations and would love to sit down with you and find a regimen that works for you and your lifestyle! If you are interested in learning more about skin laxity and the treatments that can be done, call the Artisans!