24 Dec THE TRUTH ABOUT SAGGING SKIN
THE TRUTH ABOUT SAGGING SKIN
Okay, this has been a difficult blog to write. Mostly because I know you are probably not going to like what I have to say. In fact, you will hate it. But don’t shoot the messenger, folks. I’m here to tell it like it is. Are you ready?…
There is NO miracle in a bottle when it comes to sagging skin. Any claim by a manufacturer that promises an increase in elasticity in your skin is making empty promises and wasting your money. Don’t get me wrong, there ARE some miracles in bottles, but firming creams, for the most part, are bullsh*t. (I know. I know. Bummer.) But no potion you slather on your face will ever come close to medical procedures, such as lasers or cosmetic surgery. Ugh! Does that mean firming creams are completely useless? No. But their claims are highly exaggerated. Do I still use them? Yes, but I understand the results are temporary, at best. (Sometimes, when you have an important event, temporary is better than nothing. So they do have some value.)
Let me break it down for you. Here are the facts about sagging skin:
1. The main ingredient for a firm face and neck is elastin. These are fibers we are born with that allow the skin to bounce back into place after it’s pushed and pulled. But it doesn’t last forever, folks. Did your mother ever tell you to not contort your face into all kinds of funny positions for fear it would stick like that? Mine did (not that I listened). Well, your mother wasn’t entirely wrong. You see we are born with elastin and it continues to develop into early childhood. Then, it stops being manufactured by the body. Uggh! In addition, age, gravity, sun-damage (and even pulling on your face too hard) can all zap elastin, and once it’s gone, there is very little you can do to get it back, even with medical procedures.
2. Many “tightening” creams claim to have elastin and collagen in them. And they do. You can add these ingredients to anything. Heck, some countries even drink collagen (I call this very expensive pee). However, there is no scientific method (so far) that delivers those products into the skin in order for them to have an impact on your own existing elastin. (Or what’s left of it.) Collagen and elastin molecules are way too big to penetrate far enough into our pores. Even the new microscopic-sized ingredients have no way to penetrate deep enough to work. And even if they could, there is no evidence that they can work together with our own depleted supplies, and then regenerate the area. So… Any “before and after” results you are seeing are not supported by independent, scientific research, and are the result of variations of lighting, slight angle changes, and the film these products leave on your face, which do have a slight temporary tightening affect. Which brings me to the next point.
3. Most of the tightening effects from these creams are derived from a film which these concoctions leave on our skin. Spoiler alert: the effects, though perhaps noticeable, are temporary. We feel our skin getting tighter from these films, and we often think that when we “feel” something working, and hope that it is working, that it actually IS working. It ain’t. At least not after you wash it off.
So what does all of this mean???? Well, basically, firming creams are a waste of money. Sorry. Again, don’t shoot the messenger, folks. It’s important to know the truth so that we can all stop throwing our money down the drain. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that turkey neck that you are now noticing in the mirror, is basically here to stay… unless, of course, you change your strategy. And that’s exactly what we are going to to do.
NEW STRATEGY COMIN’ UP!
Although usually after age 40, your elastin is shot to hell, your collagen can still be stimulated. Hooray! It may not help your skin to get its “bounce” back, but it will help to support that crepe-y turkey neck so the sagging skin has more support and is less noticeable. We need to build and stimulate, people. Here’s how.
WHAT REALLY WORKS TO FIRM AND TIGHTEN YOUR SKIN:
1. Potions: Retin-A and Sunscreen. These are non-negotiable. You need a Retin-A product every night, and a sunscreen every morning. You should never leave your house without sunscreen. And the measly SPF 15 is not going to cut it, folks. You need an SPF of at least 30, applied every morning to your face, neck and chest. Women often forget about their necks, which is why a woman’s neck often looks much older than her face. The retinoid product, which you will be using every night, will also make you more susceptible to sun damage. So a 30 SPF or higher that protects from both UVA and UVB rays is an absolute must!
You can use a lesser-strength Retin-A product, however, or an over-the-counter retinoid if you don’t want to pay for the visit to the dermatologist. Even using the non-prescription strength versions are quite effective. My favorite over-the-counter products are the ROC retinol skincare line and SKIN CEUTICALS RETINOL 1.0. (Side note: if you feel like your “lifting” cream you’ve been using for years is really making your turkey neck and jaw-line more defined and lifted, I would bet there is a resurfacing ingredient in it such as a Glycolic acid (AHA), a salicylic acid (BHA) or a retinoid. These exfoliants have been shown to help build collagen. Increased collagen leads to increased firmness. You don’t need to use all of them, one is just fine. So I use a Retin-A at night, sunscreen during the day, and alternate between salicylic acid and Glycolic products for my body. If my face and neck are becoming irritated from my prescription strength Retin-A, I will often use an over the counter Glycolic acid or Salicylic acid for a few days. I like Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ($14) and Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant ($28).
*Beauty doesn’t have to cost a fortune, folks. My next blog will be “Beauty of a Budget,” which I will post just after the holidays.
2. Procedures: I’m dividing “procedures” into two categories. “At home procedures” and “in-office” procedures. Not everyone can afford to spend thousands of dollars on beauty treatments at a plastic surgeon’s office or medi-spa. But that doesn’t mean you should just give up! There are many affordable treatments you can do at home. And if you stop wasting your money on creams with empty promises, you may actually be able to afford potions that really DO work. Or you can put that money you were wasting on ineffective products into a fund, and save up to do some of the more expensive in-office procedures.
At-home procedures: Home skin tightening devices have been shown to have good results when used consistently. The problem is consistency. So, just like other beauty or exercise routines, I suggest you pick certain days of the week and stick with them. I like to pair my beauty routines with normal activity so that it just becomes second nature. For example, I micro-needle every Sunday evening, and I use my facial toner on the three mornings per week (mornings when I’m not running off to the gym) while I drink my tea and watch the news. Micro-Needling is one of those little miracles I’ve found that really works. Facial toning machines work by stimulating the facial muscles. They stimulate muscle, thereby giving the face a smoother, plumper look. And guess what is supporting our skin? That’s right, our muscles. Keeping your facial muscles toned is just as important as keeping your triceps toned! There are two devices I like. First, I like Nurse Jaimie’s Accelerator. There is a face and a body setting. I use the body setting for everything (it’s stronger). My other favorite facial toner is by NUFACE. I’ve been using this for the past month, and I have noticed an improvement in my neck and jowl area. Hooray! (Make sure you read the directions and precautions with each of these products.) Just like different skin tones react differently to different lasers, so is true for at-home skin tighteners. Read the directions and precautions.
In-office procedures: Some of the most effective treatments for tightening the skin include Fraxel laser, Ulthera,The Pen, and the Clear & Brilliant Laser. Fraxel laser creates tiny perforations in the skin’s surface that help to resurface as well as stimulate collagen. Horizontal lines that age the neck dramatically can be greatly reduced with this technology, as well as a full-face lifting effect as the collagen is stimulated. The Pen has similar results, although with less down-time. The Pen (also called The Dermapen, Eclipse MicroPen, and Skinpen) is among the top Micro-Needling devices available at medi-spas. I like to pair Micro-Needling with a platelet rich plasma facial (PRP) for an added boost. Multiple treatments work best, and most plastic surgeon offices or medi-spas will offer a package deal. Like the Fraxel laser, Micro-Needling devices leave microscopic perforations in the skin to stimulate collagen. The Pen, Clear and Brilliant, and the Fraxel are all treatments I swear by. Ultherapy, on the other hand, uses ultrasound energy to lift and tighten the skin naturally—without surgery or downtime. It hurts like H@LL! Most plastic surgery offices will give you a pain pill and a Valium to try to manage the pain. (It still hurts like H@LL.) However, many people have seen amazing results with this laser. I was not one of them. I noticed very little difference in my skin, in fact it seemed to melt the fat out of one side of my face and left me with a dime-sized dent in my cheek, which I have been struggling to re-fill ever since.
(NOTE: Remember with every laser, there is a mere mortal operating it and these procedures are not foolproof. I know this from personal experience – I am your guinea pig, remember my shaving accident? – Use precaution with anything you do to yourself, or that you are trusting others to do to you. As I said, I do know women who swear by the Ulthera, so just do your homework to see if it’s right for you. It does show amazing results on a saggy neck. However, most of the “before and after” photos are on quite overweight women with significant double chins.)
3. Surgery: When all else fails, you may want to consider surgery. I have not gone down this path yet. But I have done a lot of research on it. (I’m not an uneducated or uninformed guinea pig!!) Today, they are doing facelifts which are a lot less invasive; they address the problem by lifting the underlying muscle first, before addressing the issue of crepe-ing skin. Long gone are the overly pulled stretched face-lift masks of yesteryear. When you combine these more natural facelifts or mini-facelifts with state-of-the-art skin care, the results can be amazing!
So there you have it. Let’s stop wasting our money on crap that doesn’t work!