It’s a fact of life that everything changes with time, including our skin. While most of us enjoyed a dewy, healthy glow and plump complexion in our teens and 20s, everything changes as we approach our 30s and beyond. That telltale youthful glow tends to fade a little, and you may find yourself reaching for more products to recreate it. It can sometimes seem that fine lines and creases appear overnight. As we enter our 30s, time spent in the sun starts to catch up in the form of unwelcomed dark spots on faces and the back of hands.
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Perhaps one of the hardest aspects of the aging process is seeing once firm skin start to sag. This happens around the eye area, as well as the jowls, neck and décolletage. But luckily there are plenty of products on the market that can help tighten and firm the appearance of the skin without resorting to a facelift, such as firming creams.
Why Skin Becomes Saggy and Loose
As we get older, our skin loses it collagen and elastin, which are the support structures of the skin and give it that firm, plump look. By the time someone has reached their late 40s, they have 45 percent less collagen than they did when they were younger. Our natural levels of hyaluronic acid, which hydrate the skin, also dip dramatically as we approach our late 40s and 50s.
While some of this is due to the natural aging process, one of the biggest culprits of sagging skin is the sun. Over time, prolonged exposure to the sun’s damaging rays break down the elastin in the skin and weaken it. Think of it as a rubber band that has lost its bounce back quality and has started to sag and droop.
But the sun isn’t the only thing to blame for loss of firmness. As we get older, our skin loses its ability to retain moisture and becomes drier. Significant weight loss can also lead to crepey looking skin, and some medications such as steroids can also be a factor. Also wreaking havoc on the skin are the environment and lifestyle factors. The degradation of elastin can be accelerated by a poor diet, too much alcohol and smoking, as well as inadequate sleep.
Why Does My Neck Start to Sag First?
As the saying goes, necks don’t lie. Loss of firmness is often seen on the neck and décolletage first, as the skin here is thinner. Age spots and wrinkles may show up here first, which can lead to turkey neck and a saggy appearance. This can be caused by damage from UV rays, as well as lifestyle habits. Gravity doesn’t help either, especially as most of us spend hours hunched over screens, which can also lead to “tech neck.” The neck also contains fewer oil glands than other parts of the body, which means it doesn’t get as much moisture naturally.
How Do Firming and Tightening Creams Work?
While it is impossible to turn back the clock, there are plenty of products that can help minimize the appearance of saggy skin, such as a skin tightening cream. Whether you’re looking to target your face, body or your neck, a firming cream can do wonders in a pinch but it’s important to keep in mind that any results are temporary.
The best firming and tightening creams take a multi-prong approach. First and foremost, they are powerful moisturizers because adding a good dollop of moisture to skin gives the skin a plumper, fuller look. The added hydration makes fine lines and wrinkles less noticeable. Some firming creams contain caffeine to restrict or tighten the skin, which gives it a temporary “lift.” Other products rely on skin exfoliators to create a smoother looking surface and minimize the appearance of fine lines. Some body firming creams are packaged in tubes with roller ball massage applicators to help stimulate circulation and boost skin smoothing effects.
The Best Ingredients in Anti-Wrinkle Cream and Anti-Aging Skin Care
Not all firming and tightening creams are created equally. Looking for ultra hydrating ingredients such as glycerin, shea butter and hyaluronic acid, which quench thirsty skin and plump it up by filling in fine lines. Other super moisturizers include squalene and skin softening oils.
Many skin tightening formulas are packed with vitamin C which is thought to boost collagen production and brightens skin, as well as nourishing vitamin E. Peptides can also help encourage collagen production to improve elasticity. A dose of retinol (a vitamin A derivative) in face firming creams helps encourage cell turnover, reduce the appearance of fine lines and leave skin looking smoother and fuller. Some creams harness the power of botanical extracts from artichoke, apples, sorghum or bayberry leaves which are thought to have firming qualities.
Smoother skin is fresher looking, so reach for a firming cream containing glycolic acid to exfoliate the skin, as well as alpha hydroxyl acids.
Caffeine is another key ingredient as its thought to tighten the skin and help reduce the appearance of cellulite and dimpling.
Here’s a look at the best firming and tightening creams.
The best firming cream of 2021 is Carrot & Stick The Repair Serum.