In this article I’m going to be talking about firming creams. Do they really work or are they just another gimmick?
Creams that claim to firm and tighten saggy skin seem too good to be true. I mean how could applying a cream to your skin make it tauter.
Long story short, creams do not fix saggy skin, but they may improve the appearance of saggy skin, depending on the ingredients, which I’ll get into a little bit later.
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What Causes Skin Sagging?
But first and foremost why do we have saggy skin?
Saggy skin comes about as a result of age-related decline in collagen production and elastin in the deeper layers of our skin. We lose collagen in our skin as a result of aging and as a result of our lifestyle factors, things like sleep, exposure to ultraviolet radiation, pollution, smoking, our diet and stress.
If a cream is going to claim that it improves saggy skin then that means it must boost up collagen production.
What the heck is collagen anyways’
Collagen is part of the deeper layers of the skin and it really is what is the framework of the skin, and as we lose it with age, then there is less support, so our skin sags.
Elastin is another component of the deeper layers of our skin that we lose with age and it is responsible for bounce in our skin.
The two together start to decline and that’s why we have saggy skin.
After the age of 25 we make about one percent less collagen each year and by the time you’re 50, there’s really no new collagen synthesis going on in your skin. And the collagen that you have is often fragmented.
Creams do not offer a miracle solution to saggy skin.
Preventing Skin Sagging
Another factor is your lifestyle. Smoking, pollution, stress, your diet, all of these things can accelerate the rate of aging of the skin, Ultraviolet radiation exposure and poor sleep.
You can make a lifestyle decisions that influence the rate of aging of the skin.
Don’t smoke, figure out a way to manage and cope with stress. Make sure you eat your fruits and vegetables packed with antioxidants that ward off free radical damage in the skin and contribute to aging.
Definitely protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation from the sun by wearing sunscreen every single day, regardless of if it’s sunny out or not. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is what destroys the collagen in our skin and ultimately will lead to saggy skin.
Don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Getting eight hours of sleep has so much benefit on your overall health as well as the appearance of your skin.
St night time when we’re sleeping that is when our skin repairs a lot of the damage that we were exposed to throughout the day.
If you don’t get enough sleep, your stress levels go up and that actually can lead to more inflammation in the body that further ages the skin.
If you don’t sleep well you probably know firsthand that when you wake up in the morning your face looks puffy, sagginess is much more pronounced and you have those creases and wrinkles and over time that really can age your face.
Procedures for Sagging Skin
There are many procedures that can help saggy skin.
For example, biostimulatory fillers like Sculptra, can really help just by adding volume back into saggy skin.
If you have undergone a lot of weight loss and you have saggy skin or loose skin, creams are not going to touch that. Do not waste your time on a cream. That’s actually going to be a surgical procedure to remove that extra skin.
If you just have a little bit of saggy skin around the abdomen, you may consider a tummy tuck. A cream is not going to achieve what a tummy tuck can do.
Liposuction can help in smoothing out areas where you have dimpling and reducing saggy skin in certain target focused areas in a way that a cream never would touch.
Importantly, creams are not going to get rid of stretch marks and creams are not going to get rid of cellulite.
That being said, many firming creams on the market can actually be beneficial in addition to some of these procedures.
Ingredients For Sagging Skin
Many creams on the market that are firming creams are also fantastic moisturizers and when you’re using a moisturizer that helps hydrate up the top layer of the skin and smooth everything out.
That’s a temporary effect.
If you’re going to be wearing an outfit or you’re showing more skin, definitely moisturize up with one of these firming creams. It can actually help transiently improve the look of your skin and improve the look of sagginess.
Beyond just moisturizers though there are actually some ingredients in skin care products that can help a little bit with sagging.
First and foremost is probably the kingpin of cosmeceutical ingredients and that is retinol or prescription retinoic acid aka tretinoin.
Retinol, a form of vitamin A, when applied to the skin, over time can boost up production of collagen in the deeper layers of the skin and have a smoothing effect.
The other set of ingredients are antioxidants. They can scavenge free radicals that ultimately lead to destruction of collagen and saggy skin.
They include things like green tea, niacinamide, vitamin C, etc.
Antioxidants are not the most stable ingredients. Whether or not they’re actually able to scavenge free radicals when applied to the skin is still a matter of a debate, but they’re in a lot of products so they might offer some benefit.
The other family of ingredients that can potentially improve the look of saggy skin is alpha hydroxy acids.
Alpha hydroxy acids include lactic acid, mandelic acid, glycolic acid. These exfoliate the skin and with ongoing use can potentially stimulate collagen production as well.
Another category of ingredients that might help is peptides. Many peptides and moisturizers can potentially get into the skin and stimulate collagen production.
Peptides and moisturizing products are actually really good humectants. They hold on to water so they’re going to have that hydrating plumping effect to smooth out the surface of skin.
You also might consider a caffeine cream.
Caffeine applied topically to the skin can temporarily improve the look of cellulite and dimpling because it constricts the blood vessels in that area and helps transiently impart a tightening effect.
Products For Sagging Skin
If you’re looking to improve saggy skin on the body, I’m going to recommend three skin care products that with ongoing use might improve the look, but it’s not gonna be a miracle and it’s not gonna be a substitute for procedures to improve saggy skin. But if anything it can offer at least a temporary cosmetic improvement.
The first body product is pretty affordable. It’s Amalactin Rapid Relief restoring lotion and ceramides.
This is an alpha hydroxy acid body moisturizer. It’s got lactic acid in it. It’s going to exfoliate some of the dead layer and it’s also going to improve dehydration status, smoothing everything out. If you have hyperpigmentation that alpha hydroxy acid can help lift that up out of the skin and brighten things up, smooth things out. So it’s a really good affordable product.
The second is from Paula’s Choice. It is Retinol Skin Smoothing Body Treatment.
This is a retinol body moisturizer that also has antioxidants in the product. It has a stabilized vitamin C. I’m not sure to what extent those ingredients are necessarily effective, but they’re in there. And then you have good old retinol, which can with ongoing use boost up collagen production in the deeper layers of the skin.
The third product is by Replenix. It is a brand that is really good at creating products that have green tea polyphenol. Green tea has antioxidants EGCG, which is probably one of the most well studied antioxidants in skin care with evidence to support that it reduces some of the inflammatory damage and free radical damage from UV exposure.
Their body lotion has that. It also has caffeine in it. Caffeine is going to give that temporary vasoconstriction, potentially smooth out dimpling.
The product has retinol in it as well. That’s going to help with boosting up collagen production.
In addition to the caffeine and their green tea, it’s also got resveratrol in it. So this product has a few good ingredients.
Logic would follow that with ongoing consistent use, it might somewhat improve the look of saggy skin, but do not expect rapid tightening or anything like that.
Definitely see a board certified dermatologist though if you have profound saggy skin or a board-certified plastic surgeon.
There are so many great procedures, many of them minimally invasive, that can improve the look of saggy skin.
These particular products are a nice adjunct to those procedures to provide maintenance results and boost up the outcome, but the procedures are really what deliver drastic change for existing saggy skin.
Rebecca is a licensed aesthetician and certified laser technician with almost 15 years experience in the dermatology. Her life-long passion is making people look good and happy.