Skin Laxity

Sagging skin, loose skin, lax skin – however you describe it, becomes an issue for most of us by our mid-30's.  Certain areas of our face begin to lose firmness and  definition. 

The most common cause of sagging facial skin is ‘aging.’ It occurs due to two age-related reasons:

  • Loss of collagen, which gives skin its elasticity, and loss of facial fat, the absence of which causes the skin to droop.

  • With age, collagen (which gives skin its strength) and elastin (the stretchy part of the skin) get weaker. This is when wrinkles start to form as ‘expression’ lines.

When skin laxity due to loss of elasticity and collagen is subtle, you may start to notice textural changes such as skin creping and deepening skin folds, not only on the face and neck but on the neck and décolletage as well. 

 As laxity becomes more pronounced, gravity may really begin to take its toll, causing drooping skin to pool in places like the upper and lower eyelids, jawline and neck.

Generally speaking, as far as volume loss goes, this issue can result in an anti-youthful change in the overall shape of the lower part of the face. Gone is the inverted triangle formed by our cheeks and chin and, in its place, a more square appearance forms, as the facial structures begin to pool around the mouth and jawline.

Sagging facial skin is not the result of just these two causes though.   There are several factors that are likely contributors to making your skin tired looking and droopy. Here are a few:

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep is a time for the body to heal, renew and eliminate toxins from the body. And a bad night’s sleep affects facial features. Not getting enough restorative sleep shows signs of premature skin aging and make it slow to repair. It makes the skin look and feel tired and causes dark circles and bags under the eyes.



Stress is the new biological clock — and it is so powerful that it can age you by a decade. When people are under stress, they don’t eat well, they exercise less, and they generally don’t maintain a healthy sleep schedule, all of which can impact a person’s appearance. Worry causes frowning, and over time facial muscles conform to that movement, causing lines and wrinkles. So stop worrying much. Everyday stress can play havoc with your skin, due to the release of a stress hormone,  cortisol into the body which degrades collagen.


Sun exposure is responsible for 80 percent of your skin’s visible aging. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light breaks down the skin’s structural tissues (collagen and elastin). When these fibers breakdown, the skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to go back into place after stretching. This leads to premature wrinkles and sagging skin on face and neck, making the skin look mottled, dry and leathery. Long-term UV exposure can also lead to pigmentation and causes most of the skin changes that we think of as a normal part of aging.

Aging is unavoidable but Sun exposure is completely within your control. So don’t forget to slather up with plenty of sunscreens before venturing outside, even in colder weather.


Here is one more reason to motivate you to quit smoking, ‘it impacts your appearance and contributes to premature wrinkles.’ Research has shown that cigarette smoking is detrimental to the skin, especially in women. There are more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, and many of them trigger the destruction of collagen and elastin. The nicotine in it causes blood vessels to constrict, resulting in a decreased blood flow to the outermost layers of your skin. With less blood flow, your skin doesn’t get as much oxygen and important nutrients, such as vitamin A. Apart from the direct harmful effects of the cigarettes on the body, the constant act of pursing the lips to inhale cigarette smoke leads to wrinkling around the mouth.

So, if you wish to protect your youthful looks, then quitting smoking surely makes some sense.


Sugar and carbohydrate laden processed foods may look delicious but they are the enemy of healthy skin. So cut back on them and stock up on fruits and vegetables instead. A diet rich in sugar and starchy foods creates an internal environment that is not youth-friendly and may accelerate aging process.

Crash dieting is one more reason for sagging facial skin. With sudden weight loss, there is a loss of elasticity and collagen due to the excess stress on the body, making the facial skin more vulnerable to wrinkling and sagging.

What we put into our bodies can have a direct impact on our skin. If you have a poor diet, that expensive anti-ageing cream or strict skincare regime may not be enough to keep the wrinkles and spots at bay.



ALSO READ: Stay Young With Best Anti-Aging Foods


Pollution is harmful not only to the lungs but the skin as well. It can actually cause reactions that disturb the skin’s regulatory system. Air pollutants can affect the skin’s ability to retain moisture levels, making the skin dry and scaly. Dust can also clog pores and increase bacteria on the face resulting in acne. Cold weather can have a similar effect. It chaps and dries out the skin, eventually leading to wrinkles and rough skin.

By treating your skin right, you can minimize the damage and keep your skin looking firm. The best way to protect your skin is to make sure you are doing everything you can to protect and care for your skin, inside and out.

  • Never miss the cleansing, moisturizing and toning routine. This stimulates increased blood flow and collagen production to the face.

  • Facial and face packs are the best way to regain a more youthful appearance.

  • Exercise is another natural way to reduce sagging skin by building muscle mass.

  • Vitamins A, C, and E play a major role in collagen production, making the skin softer. Consumed orally in form of healthy diet and applied in the form of serum promote healthy skin.

ALSO READ: Homemade Anti-Aging Eye Cream To Make You Look Younger




Sagging or Lax Skin Assessment in Vancouver, BC

There are a variety of treatments that can improve the tone and quality of the skin. At 8 West Clinic, we are a team of skin and face specialists including Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Thomas Buonassisi and highly experience medical aestheticians. We specialize in quality consultations and developing treatment plans that take into consideration each patient’s objectives and tolerance for downtime. We offer the complete spectrum of surgical and non surgical treatments for skin tightening. A consultation with a skin specialist will help uncover your options.

What Causes Sagging, Lax, Loose Skin?

While gravity does, indeed, take its toll, several other forces are at work when it comes to sagging skin:

  • Sun exposure: The ultraviolet rays from the sun penetrate into the skin and damage the elastic fibres that keep skin firm. Sun exposure causes wrinkles, and is responsible for sun spots and other pigmented areas on the face, chest hands.

  • Loss of elasticity and collagen: Our skin, over time, tends to lose elasticity and collagen, causing it to become looser and less successful at holding back what is happening underneath – i.e., problems become more visible or noticeable at the skin’s surface. Remember, for instance, when the skin beneath your lower eyelids was tight and taut enough to hold back and “hide” the small pocket of fat below? As you age, that delicate skin will generally loosen, becoming less effective at its former job, and that pocket of fat begins to bulge forward, causing a bag.

  • Loss of volume in the face: Most of us, at age 35 or so, start to notice subtle changes – specifically, loss of volume – in our faces. For example, as volume in our cheeks is lost and gravity pulls the mid-section of the face down, folds may appear around the mouth, pooling at each corner and forming nasolabial folds. The lower portion of the face can lose volume, as well; when this occurs, we tend to see shadowing at either side of the mouth near the jawline, which eventually become marionette lines and, finally, jowls.

  • Weight fluctuations: Yo-yo dieting or large swings in weight cause the face to continually stretch and contract. After about age 35, because our skin is less elastic, the contraction isn’t as effective anymore.


Prevention: Your First Line of Defence

When it comes to sagging skin, prevention really is key. As such, it’s important to protect your skin from sun damage that can impact the elasticity – and compromise the smooth, youthful look – of the skin. Cover up with protective clothing, wear a hat, always use a physical sun block – such as that contained in Jane Iredale Mineral Makeup – and, as much as you can, stay out of the sun for prolonged periods of time.

Correction & Treatment of Sagging Skin

In the case of sagging, lax and loose skin, treatment should always begin with a proper diagnosis by a professional skin specialist, who can then develop the most effective course of action for you. Generally speaking, however, the best results are often obtained when a combination of treatments are administered, due to the fact that various factors are usually at play. These treatments can include:

  • For jowls, a sagging lower face and lax neck: The gold standard in dealing with sagging skin, a lower facelift with Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Thomas Buonassisi looks natural and effectively tightens the whole lower face area. Tissue is deeply repositioned to where it was before, and extra skin trimmed away.

  • For sagging upper and lower eyelid skin: With options for hiding incisions inside the lower eyelid or in the natural upper eyelid crease, blepharoplasty (eyelid lift) surgery removes the extra skin and fat that ages the eye area.

  • Medical-grade skin-care products: A medical-grade skin-care system includes products that strengthen the skin’s barrier function and increase the body’s natural wound-healing response and produce collagen, making them a key part of an effective course of treatment for sagging skin.

  • Dermal fillers: Natural looking and requiring little downtime, dermal fillers provide a great way to quickly add volume back to the face. Best of all, these safe, effective injectables can be strategically placed in areas of the face that tend to lose volume first and fastest, such as cheeks, lips, temples and around the mouth.

  • Laser skin resurfacing: By directing short, concentrated pulsating beams of light at irregular skin, precisely removing skin layer by layer, laser resurfacing can not only improve skin elasticity and produce a general tightening effect, it also has the added benefit of simultaneously improving fine lines and wrinkles.

  • SkinTyte: A non surgical tightening treatment that penetrates deep into the skin to stimulate collagen production and tighten, SkinTyte uses advanced infrared light technology to increase tissue firming with virtually no downtime.

  • BBL Photofacial Rejuvenation: The newest-generation of Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) technology, called BroadBand Light (BBL) Photofacial Rejuvenation, improves skin thickness, tone and texture by stimulating collagen.

  • Forever Young BBL: Forever Young BBL is an innovative technology that delivers light therapy (similar to IPL or intense pulsed light) in a groundbreaking manner that’s been shown to effectively change genes’ expression of aging, with minimal downtime. Patients looks younger than they did 10 years previous, and there is Stanford University research behind it.

t is unusual for someone younger than 40 to have any significant facial skin laxity, but on occasion hereditary conditions may result in premature aging. It is important to take control of the way your skin will age during your 30’s, and this can be done with some simple preventative measures. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT AGE PREVENTION. At the Center for Aesthetics we will fully assess your specific needs and make recommendations.

In your early 30’s, your body naturally stops producing collagen. Collagen is a critical component of the skin as well as other important support structures of the body. Aging collagen fibers initially begin to slightly splay apart and unravel, leading to loss of elasticity and laxity. Luckily, the production of collagen fibers can be stimulated through a variety of topical and in-office treatments. To put this in perspective, think about what happens to bacon as it cooks—it shrinks. Likewise, collagen fibers respond to heat by curling together and shortening—this is the exact opposite of what happens to aging collagen fibers in living tissue. New technology can deliver this energy deep enough into the support structures of the face to achieve non-surgical “lifting”.

Facial volume changes can occur as early as your mid 30’s, although they often begin subtly. Volume changes can also contribute to the appearance of skin laxity. Sometimes patients like this volume change at first, as their faces become more slender and more defined. Decreased facial volume is caused by the disappearance of fat in specific regions of the face as a result of aging. Fat loss in the cheeks can lead to a tired appearance, making the orbital rim and tear trough more visible. Bone resorption, or loss of bone mass, can also be a factor in facial aging. The jawline is most susceptible to these changes, and soft tissue fillers may be required to correct for aging in the jawline and jaw angle.

TOPICAL THERAPY using prescription strength clinically-proven products is the best option to manage early aging. At the Center for Aesthetics, we only prescribe topicals that have been clinically studied with evidence to support their effectivenenss. Topical therapy is the key component to long term success no matter what else is prescribed, and will lead to more impressive and long-lasting results from any procedure.

To address skin laxity, we often recommend Ultherapy treatments as you approach 40. Ultherapy uses ultrasound energy to visualize the collagen layers of your face before applying microscopic thermal injuries to that tissue. A full treatment of the lower face typically takes about 45 minutes, and collagen fiber contracture will take effect immediately. The astute patient may notice the feeling of skin tightening and subtle lifting immediately following their session. Complete results usually appear gradually over the course of about six months as your body creates new collagen fiber. Ultherapy is an in office treatment which does not require sedation or other oral medications. There is usually no downtime, although bruising can occur. Your Center for Aesthetics board-certified medical provider will make recommendations for future treatments based on your age and starting condition.

Soft tissue fillers are often used to address volume loss in the face. Dermal filler placement is similar to sculpting—there is a true art to assessing where volume is needed, and precise placement is essential for a natural appearance. The Center for Aesthetics is a national leader with 20 years of experience in providing soft tissue fillers, and we continually re-educate our board certified providers with the latest technology and methodology to ensure you get the best results possible. soft tissue fillers can be used in many locations on the face to achieve youthful balance and proportion. During your consultation at the Center for Aesthetics, we will present you with a customized plan for soft tissue fillers if you are a good candidate.

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