Letâs face it: Saggingâs only cute if youâre a Shar Pei. For most of us, our jangly jowls and hanging cheeks are a source of chagrin as we age. Here, five myths and facts about facial sagging, plus ways to stop the droop:
Running causes your face to sag
FALSE. Sagging skin is due to two age-related reasons: loss of collagen, which gives skinÂ its elasticity, and loss of facial fat, the absence of which causes skin to droop. While your whole body bounces up and down while youâre jogging, itâs highly unlikely that youâre jostling around enough to damage collagen, points out Las Vegasâbased plastic surgeon Michael Edwards, MD, president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
A more likely cause? Long hours exercising outdoorsÂ equals more UV exposure, which over time breaks collagen down. Make sure you slather up with plenty of sunscreen before venturing outside, even in colder weather.
Sleeping on your stomach causes sagging
FALSE. Your sleep position wonât actually cause sagging, but it can lead to sleep wrinkles: those creases and fine lines you see each AM in your bathroom mirror. Theyâre caused by your pillow tugging at delicate facial skin as you sleep. When youâre younger, itâs not an issue, as fresh, elastic skin bounces back easily, but as you age, skin becomesÂ less resilient and can settle into these lines. Your best way to avoid this is to sleep on your back, says Dr. Edwards.
But if youâre a die hard tummy sleeper or flip flop through the nightâsome studies have found sleepers switch positions 11 times a nightÂ on averageâyou can try the Juverest, a so-called âsleep wrinkle pillowâ ($195; amazon.com). This specially formulated pillow has a head cradle to encourage back sleep and graded steps toÂ minimize contact between your face and the pillow if you do roll over onto your side.
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You can do facial exercises to reduce skin sagging
TRUEâbut with a catch. âThey increase the size of facial muscles, which, while theoretically taking away some of the slacking skin, also causes expression lines,â points out Dr. Edwards. So while a few workout moves mightÂ help relieve basset houndâlike eyes, they'll probably alsoÂ worsen crowsâ feet. If you're not opposed to getting some help from a dermatologist or plastic surgeon, you may get better results from Botox.
Weight loss causes skin sagging
TRUE. When you gain weight, the skin on your face stretches to go along with your extra padding, just like it does everywhere else. But if youâve finally lost it, you may notice that youâre sporting under eye bags and a slack jaw.âAs you age and your skin loses elasticity, when you stretch it out it wonât bounce back the same way it did when you were younger,â explains Dr. Edwards. But donât despair: products like Retin-A can help, as can injectable fillers such as Voluma.
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There are products that may help fightÂ sagging skin
TRUE. You canÂ slow down the sag from the outside in: Try topical products like over-the-counterÂ retinols or prescriptionÂ retinoids, which boost collagen production, and vitamin C serums, which help restore elasticity, advises Dr. Edwards. In one study, a daily supplement of pycnogenol, a French pine bark extract, increased skin elasticity and hydration and increased production of hyaluronic acid, a skin plumping ingredient, by 44%, according to a 2012 German study (which was funded by the maker of the raw material used in the supplements).
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