As we age, our skin naturally starts to lose collagen and elastin, the stuff that essentially keeps it looking plump and taut. The result can be sagging skin that makes your face look as if you are ageing prematurely. The good news is there are some simple steps you can take to keep your skin tight and firm, and to tighten loose skin. We’ve come up with a 6 step guide to tightening and firming ageing skin.
1. Use retinol
If you haven’t heard of retinol, then you are really missing out! It is derived from Vitamin A and is a highly active skincare ingredient, widely agreed to be a heavyweight when it comes to ageing skin for lots of reasons! One of which is that it works to stimulate collagen and elastin renewal and to speed up the process of cell renewal in general. Why is that good news for your sagging skin? Well, the reason that we naturally produce less collagen and elastin is that our cell renewal rate decreases with age. Retinol gives this a boost and helps to tighten and firm skin.
Our retinol favourites
If you want to give retinol a try but aren’t ready to invest fully, then a great entry level option is Viola USkin Retinol Serum. It has 2.5% retinol but it isn’t encapsulated (we’ll come to this in a min!) so it isn’t as potent as some of the higher end retinol products. It has a combination of brilliant active ingredients and will work to stimulate cell renewal and is a great introduction to retinol and also great if your skin is more sensitive.
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Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair is a microencapsulated formula of retinol, which is at 0.5%. However, the way that this is formulated means the retinol can get deeper into the skin and have a more potent effect. It comes with a buffer cream so you can slowly get used to this potent ingredient.
Make sure you eat well in the day, get 8 hours sleep, and drink water.
It may sound like basic good advice for general life but making sure you are eating well, drinking plenty of water and getting eight hours sleep can help your skin to keep tight and firm. How? Well, firstly a diet that has plenty of antioxidant-rich foods will help to eliminate free radicals and protect the collagen in your skin. Antioxidants work to battle sun damage and pollutants that create free radicals. What kinds of foods do we mean? Grapes,avocados,olives, honey and passion fruit are all excellent choices, as are citrus fruits, pears, watermelon and berries. Avoiding too much salt, soda, alcohol and fried foods is also a good move for firmer skin. A great snack is Brazil nuts because they contain skin-boosting selenium, which can help maintain elasticity in the skin.
3. Start doing face exercises
When it comes to tightening your facial skin, it’s a bit like tightening any other area of the body - you need to exercise to make a difference. There are some really simple exercises you can do, in less than 20 minutes, to help with skin firming. You can even combine it with applying your skin care products for maximum efficiency and loads of benefit to the skin!
To tackle a double chin - close your mouth, tilt your head back and look up at the ceiling. Imagine you are chewing a piece of gum, using your chin and jaw. Move it up and down for sixty seconds.
To tackle loose skin on the neck - close your mouth and suck in repeatedly for sixty seconds.
To tackle cheek jowls - make a fish pout and then relax. Repeat for sixty seconds.
Payot Paris founder, Nadia Payot, came up with a series of facial gym exercises. You can find some of them here:
4. Use a Face Mask
Face masks can be associated with a treat day for the skin. Which is absolutely true! But they are also a key part of a regular skin care routine - face masks can be used to boost treatment for specific skin concerns, if you get the right one! You should apply a face mask for 5 minutes, twice a week, with active ingredients to target your sagging skin.
Our top favourites
Guinot Masque Eclat Liftingis a face mask that is filled with active ingredients designed to lift and firm aging skin. It has pro-collagen which stimulates the production of collagen and elastin fibres in the skin. It also has a unique dyna-lift complex to help lift and firm sagging skin. At the same time, it has Vitamin C, which is a skin brightening antioxidant and a Hydrocyte complex, which works to nourish and hydrate your skin. Quite a lot of work in five minutes!
Masque Eclat LiftingRadiance Enhancing Lifting MaskSkincare4 x 19ml sachets: £40.25
Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masqueis a great example of how using a face mask can give a boost of active ingredients, in addition to a daily skin care routine. It has concentrated vitamins A, C, E and F, which combined work to help skin to recover and renew itself. Vitamin A, as we have already discovered, helps to stimulate collagen renewal and to increase elasticity.
Multivitamin Power Recovery Masquenutrient-rich rescueSkincare75ml: £46.00
You can also make your own face mask, if you have the time to clean up afterwards!
Cucumber mask- use 2 tablespoons of cucumber juice, one egg white, a few drops of lemon juice, and a few drops of vitamin E oil - mixed together. This needs to be on for about 10-15 minutes for maximum effect. Wash away with warm water for tighter and firmer feeling skin.
5. Use antioxidants in your skincare
We’ve already touched on this but antioxidants are key for fighting free radicals that are created when your skin is exposed to the sun and pollutants. Free radicals are unstable molecules, that need an extra electron. They attack the skin’s healthy cells, trying to borrow an electron to become stable. The result is those cells also becoming unstable and often dying off. Antioxidants are able to stablise and neutralise free radicals, stopping any further damage.
Why are free radicals bad for sagging skin? Well they often attack the collagen and elastin in your skin. And as we have already discovered, this isn’t as quickly being replenished as when the skin was younger, so this can lead to your skin looking older than your years.
As well as including antioxidants in your diet, you also need to apply them topically for the best results for the skin. How often? Well your skin is being attacked daily so we’d say try and include them everyday!
Our top choices for antioxidants
Evolve Organic Beauty Miracle Facial Oil is a a great choice to get some antioxidant goodness. It has natural retinol from Rosehip Oil, which is also packed full of Omega 3s and 6s. It also has argan oil, which is packed full of antioxidant goodness as is its blackseed oil. This can be added before your moisturiser for an antioxidant kick start.
You can use the juice of a lemon for a Vitamin C boost that will stimulate collagen production and help to restore elasticity in your skin. Simply extract the juice fresh from the lemon and apply to your face and neck. Leave for ten minutes and then rinse with warm water. For a quick fix, add lemon juice to cold water and use as a cold rinse after your cleanse.
6. Use SPF everyday
Our final tip is to always wear an SPF if you are heading outside, regardless of the weather. You only need 10 minutes of sun to get your daily vitamin D fix, then cover up with an SPF.
Some of our favourites
Guinot Newhite Brightening UV Shield SPF 50 combines SPF with a targeted moisturiser for ageing skin. It has UVA and UVB sun protection filters, along with melanoxyl which reduces melanin production and targets uneven skin tone and Vitamin C to brighten your ageing skin.