Sagging skin is one of the telltale signs of aging, but what you may not realize is that all skin does not sag because it has aged. There are a number of reasons that skin may become loose and unattractive. These reasons have one commonality: they all occur beneath the visible skin. The various structures that reside beneath the epidermis are typically responsible for why skin begins to sag.
Understanding the Anatomy of Skin
To understand why skin sags, it’s important to first understand the anatomy of skin. The subtle features beneath the visible layer of skin often determine how the skin looks. The epidermis is the visible layer of skin, followed by the dermis, the collagen layer, fatty tissue and muscle. The bones beneath these layers represent the most basic foundation, but it is generally the collagen, fat and muscle that determine the “tightness” of your skin.
Why Does Skin Sag?
As the body undergoes regular processes, various tissues become less able to maintain their form. This may happen as the result of changes in hormones, weight loss or gain, injury or the normal processes associated with aging.
The collagen layer of the skin, for example, has small fibers that keep the layer taut. These fibers become less able to accomplish this as they age, as they may break and fail to be replaced by the body.
The fat layer may experience changes due to shifts in weight, hormones or a number of other changes in the body. This may allow more fat to rapidly develop in one area, which in turn causes the collagen layer to be stretched. Depending upon your age, the elasticity of your skin may be compromised, and therefore, skin may begin to sag.
Fat may also be lost in certain areas of the body. The cheeks are one area where definition may be lost due to erosion of fat deposits. This can produce a sagging effect because the cheeks are no longer as full as they once were.
Muscles are the last major component that may make your skin sag. The lines at the corner of the face, near the nose and around the eyes are telltale signs of sagging skin created by deformations of the muscle. These deformations make permanent changes in the collagen layer, which in turn leads the skin to sag.
Treating Sagging Skin
The good news is that there are as many ways to treat sagging skin as there are causes for skin to sag. This means that most problems can be fixed with the skilled hands of an experienced plastic surgeon. Options range from facelift surgery to a less invasive fat transfer. These can allow you to fight the effects of aging, which in turn can help you appear younger and more beautiful.
To learn more about why skin tends to sag, or to learn what you can do to correct sagging skin, contact the office of Dr. Wendell Perry, MD in Miramar. During your consultation at our office, we will be happy to answer all of your questions and help you form an effective treatment plan. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.