Why Our Skin Sags and Wrinkles With Age

/ Skin Health| BY Kartik Shah

Skin sagging and wrinkling is a common occurrence in older adults. Around age 40 to 50, most men and women will experience some degree of skin sagging and wrinkling. It typically manifests in areas with excess, loose skin, though it can occur in other areas of the body as well. So, why does our skin sag and wrinkle with age, and how to you prevent this from happening to your skin?

Decrease in Elastin Production

While several factors play a role in age-related skin sagging and wrinkling, one of the most influential is a decrease in elastin production. The primary protein used in connective tissue, elastin is found in the dermis of the skin. It’s used to hold the skin together, allowing it to stretch and bend without sustaining damage. Our bodies produce a substantial amount of elastin when we are young to support growth. Later in life, however, this biochemical process slows down, leaving our skin more susceptible to sagging and wrinkling.

Sun Damage

Sun damage may also cause skin sagging and wrinkling later in life. Research shows that the average person gets most of his or her sun exposure before age 18. But even then, all that sun exposure can take a toll on their skin health, contributing to permanent damage that paves the way for sagging, wrinkled skin.

Decrease in Sebum Production

Furthermore, our skin produces less sebum as we age. Of course, sebum is an oily substance that’s released by the sebaceous glands. It’s used primarily to lubricate the skin and protect against dryness. As sebum production slows down, it leaves our skin vulnerable to sagging and wrinkling.

How to Protect Against Skin Sagging and Wrinkling As You Age

Because it’s a natural bodily process, you can’t always prevent your skin from sagging and wrinkling as you age. But there are ways to promote youthful, healthy skin later in life, beginning with eating the right foods. Choose antioxidant-rich foods like fruits and vegetables to protect your skin from oxidative stress. Oxidation is a destructive cellular process caused by exposure to free radicals. When free radicals reach your skin, they can trigger oxidation, which leads to early aging and associated wrinkles. Antioxidants, however, protect against such damage by neutralizing free radicals.

There are also nonsurgical cosmetic procedures available that can tighten your skin — even after age-related sagging and wrinkling has occurred. Physique, for example, offers Velashape III, a cosmetic procedure that uses radio frequency (RF), infrared (IR) and vacuum technology to tighten the skin and improve its appearance.