Skin laxity refers to loose, saggy or lax skin. Ranging from mild, moderate to severe conditions, it is something that all of us will face in time as we move through different stages of our lives. Skin laxity can occur all over our body, although most commonly in our face, neck, arms and legs.
What causes skin laxity?
Intrinsic factors refer to natural processes within our body. The two main intrinsic components affecting skin laxity are Collagen and Elastin. Collagen and elastin are found in the deeper layer of the skin (Dermis), right above the fatty layer beneath the skin (Epidermis).
Collagen is a fibrous, supportive protein that binds cells together. It is found in the bone, cartilage, ligaments and tendon of all animals. While there are many different types of collagen, the most common and responsible for skin strength and elasticity is Type 1 collagen.
Elastin is another structural protein found in connective tissues, blood vessels and skin. Unlike collagen, elastin provides a snapback property that aides stretched structures to return to its original shape. Loss of elastin decreases skin flexibility and reduces wound healing capabilities.
Extrinsic factors to skin laxity include our environment, life events and lifestyle habits. These include:
- Harsh weather
- UV exposure
- Life events such as pregnancy and drastic weight changes
- Lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking
- Poor diet resulting in nutrient deficiencies
- Lack of sleep
Effects of Skin laxity.
Excess skin around our body can impede its normal functions and activities and may increase vulnerability to other issues such as skin rash, ulcers and pain. Like most skin conditions, skin laxity also has potential negative effects on our confidence, mood and body image. It may discourage many from engaging in exercise and social activities due to feelings of embarrassment.
How can I treat Skin laxity?
The five basic categories of treatments to tighten the skin include: Chemical, lasers, ultrasound, radiofrequency, and surgery.
- Chemical treatments refer to peels, creams and other over-the-counter products. They are accessible, non-invasive and usually affordable. However, its effects are often limited and only on a superficial level.
- Laser treatments utilize an infrared light source to send brief pulses of laser energy to the skin, heating the underlying collagen and contracting the skin. It also reduces wrinkles, fine lines and sun damage, thus improving skin tightness and texture.
- Ultrasound treatments utilize sound waves to pass through the skin. By heating and tightening the deeper tissues, it encourages collagen production and therefore firmer skin.
- Radiofrequency treatments tighten the skin by delivering high energy to induce heat and thus collagen production. It also cools the skin during treatment, it can also be used for fat reduction.
- Surgery removes excess skin to produce more dramatic results. It is the most invasive and best suited for severe laxity cases.
What is the best laxity treatment?
Unless your skin laxity is severe, it is generally recommended to seek non-invasive treatments first before considering going under the knife.
The best treatment depends on your personal skin type, condition and concerns. Generally, heat-based treatments (Laser, Ultrasound, Radiofrequency) work well for mild to moderate laxity.
Best for skin laxity and targeted fat reduction
Combining both Ultrasound and Radiofrequency to be delivered as heat beneath the skin, Exilis effectively stimulates and strengthens the collagen network. The auto-cooling technology also ensures skin protection while penetrating both superficial and deep layers. Apart from helping to firm and tighten the skin, the dual energy further speeds up the metabolic activity of fat cells which eventually die and get passed out through lymphatic drainage. The treatment is effective for improving skin laxity and targeted fat reduction.
Best for skin laxity, cellulite and fresh stretch marks
Cellulite occurs when fat cells protrude into the skin due to a downward pull in certain areas by our connective tissue bands. As our skin becomes looser and thinner with age, this visibility of wrinkles and lumping becomes even more pronounced. Cellulite treatment requires breaking up of these underlying connective tissue bands.
Using energetic acoustic waves, Shockwave therapy penetrates connective tissues to stimulate collagen production and break down these enlarged fat cells. The rejuvenated connective tissues improve skin elasticity and renewal, healing fresh stretch marks and firming up the skin for a smoother and tighter appearance. Fat cells shrinkage improves bodily aesthetics by providing a more slender and contoured figure with improved skin texture.
Can I tighten my skin naturally?
While it is not impossible to tighten skin naturally, it requires significant time and dedication. The results are often extremely mild and superficial for the level of input effort. Natural means tend to work better as prevention of skin laxity rather than treatment. Here are some habits and natural remedies we can incorporate into our lifestyle to try and slow down the ageing process.
Skin health requires a diet rich in antioxidants and nutrients. The best vitamins for skin elasticity include Vitamin A, C and E. Vitamin C and E are two potent antioxidants that effectively fight free radicals, and are most optimal when used together.
Vitamin C is heavily present in both the dermis and epidermis. It is constructive for skin protection and natural collagen production. Because it decreases cell damage, it also enhances the efficacy of sunscreens.
Excellent sources of Vitamin C are fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin E‘s main function in skin elasticity is the protection it provides against sun damage by absorbing harmful UV light. It is useful to include it in your diet since the efficacy of topical Vitamin E products tends to minimize upon sun exposure.
Other important nutrients
- Water helps to maintain skin moisture and improves bodily circulation.
- Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (eg. Nuts, seeds, fish) help to promote cell wall building.
Retinol refers to a form of synthetic Vitamin A and is also known as Retin-A or Retin-A micro. By obstructing the breakdown of collagen, it helps to prevent sun damage and works well with Vitamin C to strengthen cell walls. Retinol can be found in many skin care products today and is lauded for its capacity to boost cell turnover and collagen production. Note that because of its potency, it is generally not for delicate skin and should be introduced into your regime slowly and gently.
Sunscreens with sufficient coverage will protect the skin against photoaging and improve our skin in the long run. Among other harmful effects of UV exposure, photoaging (premature ageing) is one of the most detrimental to the skin. Studies have demonstrated that over time, UV rays can induce damage such as sagging and wrinkling.
Treat Skin & Postpartum Conditions
If Skin laxity is troubling your esteem and daily life, book an appointment with us to receive a thorough assessment of your condition and a treatment plan customized to treat its severity, as well as any other postpartum concerns you may have.
Orchard Clinic is a specialised centre for Postnatal and Postpartum conditions, helping clients achieve healthy and pain-free lifestyles.