Loose skin can be frustrating and have an impact on self-esteem. While there are many ways you can develop loose skin, once you have it, it can be difficult to reverse.
Here are six ways you can tighten loose skin.
1. Firming creams
A good choice for a firming cream is one that contains retinoids, says Dr. Alyson Wells, owner and medical director, Valley Plastic Surgery and Medi-spa.
Retinoids are chemical derivatives of vitamin A and include:
- retinoic acid
They increase the proliferation, maturation, and turnover of skin cells, says Wells.
She also suggests using creams that contain hyaluronic acid, which attracts and holds onto water molecules. Hyaluronic helps:
- reduce the depth of wrinkles
- increase skin firmness
- diminish skin roughness
While there’s no magic pill to fix loose skin, certain supplements may be helpful.
Building muscle mass through weight training exercises can help decrease the appearance of loose skin, especially if the loose skin is from weight loss.
If excess fat distends the skin for a long time, the skin can lose some of its ability to shrink with weight loss. Replacing that lost fat with muscle mass can lessen the appearance of loose skin.
If you have loose skin from a recent pregnancy consult a doctor before exercising as there could be certain moves you should avoid.
One form of exercise that’s not proven to be effective for loose skin is facial exercise.
While facial exercises have been popular since the 1960s, there’s little research to support that these exercises actually help tighten loose skin.
4. Lose weight
Stubborn fat under the skin can make skin appear loose. This type of fat is called subcutaneous fat.
If you pinch the problematic area and there are more than a few millimeters of skin, then there’s subcutaneous fat present. Losing that fat could firm the skin.
5. Massage the area
Massaging loose skin can increase blood flow and help evoke an anti-aging response.
One study analyzed the effects of skin massage in conjunction with an anti-aging skin cream.
The study showed that regular massage with a hand-operated oscillating massage tool amplified the positive effects of the cream.
Alongside massage, you can also use a salt or sugar scrub to increase blood flow.
6. Cosmetic procedures
Many nonsurgical procedures can help with loose skin.
These procedures include:
Chemical peels. The removal of the outer layer of old skin can decrease the appearance of loose, sagging, or wrinkled skin on the face and neck. Once the old skin peels off, the skin underneath is usually less wrinkled and smoother.
Ablative laser resurfacing. This procedure is also known as “laser peeling.” It’s similar to a chemical peel because it removes the outermost layer of old skin. The laser also warms the layers underneath the top layer. This heat promotes collagen production.
Ultrasound skin tightening. This procedure uses heat to stimulate collagen production. Focused ultrasound energy is transmitted through the skin’s surface to heat deeper layers.
Radiofrequency treatments. This is another form of safe energy transfer that heats the skin to induce collagen production. This method focuses on the skin’s outer layer.
IPL/RF combination treatments. These treatments combine intense pulsed light (IPL) and radiofrequency (RF). The process heats outer and deeper skin layers to facilitate collagen production.
Neuromodulators. This treatment is often referred to as Botox. The toxin botulinum, known to relax wrinkles, is injected into the skin. While this isn’t the most holistic procedure, it requires minimal recovery time and reduces the appearance of loose skin when injected in certain areas where muscles work in opposition to each other.