Aging can come with some amazing benefits. Who doesn’t love a senior discount, early bird shopping hours, and all that wisdom and experience to make good decisions? However, getting older has some downsides—losing collagen is the first and foremost. The taut skin of youth typically fades in our forties, accompanied by a mad dash for products and treatments to counteract these unwanted changes.
All hope is not lost! If you would like to tighten up areas of your face, specifically jowls that are dropping a bit or eyelids that appear heavier by the day, there are effective at-home skin tightening treatments. But first, let’s learn a bit more about the changes happening in our skin as we age.
Where’d the tight skin of my youth go?
Collagen is an extremely abundant protein in the body, so much that it is found from our bones to our dermis. It is the primary component that keeps the structural integrity of our dermis intact. As we age, our skin becomes thinner, and we produce less collagen. Less structure = less firmness. Another powerful protein affected by aging is elastin. The combination of loss of elasticity combined with collagen production causes skin to head south [source].
Another reason for sagging skin seems to catch up with us right around the same time as our elastin and collagen changes are happening. Decades of sun exposure damage our elastin, causing premature wrinkles and tautness to wane. Never underestimate the damage of ultraviolet rays; they can quite literally eat away our epidermis, which is our first defense from damaging free radicals and environmental pollutants [source].
Lastly, lifestyle choices have a significant impact on the skin [source]. Smoking is possibly the most damaging. Nicotine constricts blood flow, reducing oxygen and nutrients to the dermis. The effects are dryness, dehydration, and a dull or yellow complexion. Drinking alcohol can also dehydrate the skin. Lack of sleep or how you sleep can also be detrimental to the firmness of skin. Stomach sleepers tend to wrinkle more than back sleepers.
8 Effective Skin Tightening Home Remedies
Done with the bad stuff, and on to the good stuff! There are effective treatments available to tighten skin, and we are going to give you all the details.
For reference, there are a lot of treatment options at medispas and dermatologist/plastic surgeon offices, like laser, chemical peels, ultrasound, and injectables. Putting those options aside, we are going to specifically focus on what you can do in your home.
Gua sha is often referred to as “nature’s botox”. This simple jade stone and the accompanying techniques are said to get rid of toxins, stimulate circulation, and lift skin. Regularity is the key to its effectiveness. Two to three times a week in the morning is recommended for optimal results.
2. Pillowcase swap
Swapping out your cotton pillowcase for a silk one is an easy and effective beauty sleep treatment, especially if you’re a stomach sleeper. Silk is known to retain hydration in your skin because it absorbs less moisture than a nonsilk pillowcase.
There is mixed science regarding the benefits of taking collagen supplements, such as powders or pills, but many attest to their effectiveness. While there’s a slew of collagen powders on the market, the most absorbable type is hydrolyzed collagen (peptide), and marine collagen is believed to be better than bovine, with fewer toxins.
Retinol encourages cell turnover and boosts collagen. It reduces wrinkling and makes the skin more smooth [source]. A component found in many skincare products today, retinol can take multiple forms, such as peels, serums, and moisturizers.
5. Vitamin C
Vitamin C serums and oils contain powerful antioxidants that diminish the damage free radicals can cause on your skin. When pollutants deteriorate the integrity of skin cells, skin elasticity and sagging occur. Vitamin C works to boost collagen production as well [source]. It should be a part of every daily skincare regimen.
At-home masks from ingredients that are fresh, potent, and easy to find are a wonderful way to help tighten skin naturally. Turmeric masks are one option, as well as gentle clay masks, which have been shown to promote collagen production [source].
7. LED treatments
There has been a surge in the production of at-home LED machines, and I highly recommend these devices for tightening the skin. LED lights are proven to stimulate cellular activity and keep collagen from degrading [source].
While they can be done at a doctor or esthetician’s office, they can also be purchased as hand-held devices or facial mask devices for at-home use. These treatments might take a bit longer to see results, and their effectiveness might not be as dramatic as the more powerful office machines. But make no mistake, they are truly remarkable for treating sagging skin.
8. Silicone patches
Silicone facial patches offer high doses of hydration to targeted areas of the face and neck. The results are smoother and more lifted skin from this moisture boost. One option, and often a crowd favorite, are the Sio Patches.
While we may never ultimately win the battle we wage against gravity, genetics, and the environment, we certainly can have an arsenal of at-home treatments for improving sagging skin.
References (in order of appearance):
1. Kim DU, et al. Oral intake of low-molecular-weight collagen peptide improves hydration, elasticity, and wrinkling in human skin: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Nutrients. 2018.
2. Ruža Pandel, et al. Skin photoaging and the role of antioxidants in its prevention. ISRN Dermatol. 2013.
3. Khmaladze I, et al. The skin interactome: a holistic “genome-microbiome-exposome” approach to understand and modulate skin health and aging. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2020.
4. Shao Y, et al. Molecular basis of retinol anti-aging properties in naturally aged human skin in vivo. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2017.
5. Pullar JM, et al. The roles of vitamin C in skin health. Nutrients. 2017.
6. Valenti DMZ, et al. Effect of topical clay application on the synthesis of collagen in skin: an experimental study. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2012.
7. Guermonprez C, et al. Safety and efficacy of a novel home-use device for light-potentiated (LED) skin treatment. J Biophotonics. 2020.9