Is It Possible to Prevent Facial Skin Sagging?

Elastin fibers and collagen in your skin help keep your face smooth and supple. As you get older, those fibers begin to break down, which can cause your face to sag. By treating your skin right, though, you'll minimize the damage and keep your face looking firm.

Senior woman applying cream to her neck (Image: mheim3011/iStock/Getty Images)

Make Healthy Choices

If you're a smoker, consider giving up the habit. Smoking 20 cigarettes a day made research participants look 10 years older, according to a study reported by "The British Journal of Dermatology." Sun exposure can also do serious damage to your skin. Stay in the shade between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun is strongest. Cover your face with a broad-spectrum sunblock if you plan to go outside or sit in front of a window. Sugary and carbohydrate-laden foods may taste delicious, but they're bad news for your skin. A diet rich in sweet and starchy foods may accelerate aging, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Processed foods are the enemy of healthy skin, so cut back on them and stock up on fruits and vegetables instead. Some foods, nutrients and compounds can even help keep your face smooth and sag-free. Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, phytoestrogens and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) help regulate degenerative processes and inflammation in the body, according to research by Zagreb University Hospital Center. Foods such as raisins, mango, chickpeas, eggs and Brazil nuts fight off facial sagging, says Allison Tannis, author of "Feed Your Skin, Starve Your Wrinkles." To keep skin looking tight and firm, snack on peanuts, cheese, celery and dried fruit.

Stay Fit

Excessive weight gain or loss stretches skin, which weakens the elastin fibers in your face. Carrying around excess weight is tough on your skin, organs and other body parts. It's vital to exercise regularly, but don't lose more than 1 or 2 pounds per week. All exercise is good for your body, but high-impact exercise, such as running, can jolt your skin. If you're a regular runner, the impact can cause collagen in skin to tear over time, according to plastic surgeon Dr. Gerald Imber. The health benefits of running, however, still outweigh the risks.

Follow a Skin-Care Regimen

Creams that contain vitamin A, also called retinol or tretinoin creams, help skin produce new collagen, according to Harvard Health Publications. They also firm skin and correct uneven skin tone. Nightly, treat skin with a product containing alpha-hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, or estrogen cream. According to a study reported by NYU Langone Medical Center, particpants treated with 8 percent glycolic acid, 8 percent L-lactic acid and estrogen cream showed signs of improved aging. NYU Langone Medical Center also reports that oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs), which come from pine bark and grape seed, may strengthen and protect collagen and elastin.

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