Treating a sagging face
It can affect self-confidence so what can we do about it? For some, it is no problem at all.
As each year passes, our skin ageing process increases steadily and eventually loses its elasticity over time. Poor skincare habits might accelerate face sagging which affects self-confidence. So, what can we do? What are the available treatments? How can we slow down the sagging process?
Dr Sii Sik Liong from S Aesthetics Clinic shares his insights:
Why do we sag?
Saggy face is one of the most common concerns among women and men who visit cosmetic doctors. As we get older, our structural support system of our faces weaken. Ligaments become weaker, and struggle to hold our facial skin up against our biggest enemy – gravity. We also lose facial fat, collagen and volume. All this results in a gradual loosening and sagging of our face and neck skin, just like how a fully-inflated beach ball becomes increasingly deflated over time.
What can we do about sagging?
Here are your options:
- Lifestyle – Our lifestyle plays an important role in our overall skin health and in delaying our skin ageing and sagging. However, it is also probably the most neglected portion of our self-care process. It is important to dump bad habits like smoking and excessive alcohol intake. Heavy smoking and excessive alcohol intake accelerate skin ageing, making our face and neck skin sag earlier. Do not underestimate the power of sleep. When you sleep, the skin reparation process is functioning at its peak while your stress hormone is at its lowest. This allows your body to rest and your skin to heal and repair. Regular exercise and a balanced diet helps to keep skin well-hydrated. Avoid food that is rich in sugar and fat, and remember to stay well-hydrated through the day. Staying active also improves blood circulation, providing essential nutrients to the skin.
- Quality skincare & collagen – Invest in high-quality skincare products and guard your skin against UV rays with adequate amounts of high-quality sunscreen. UV rays from the sun cause damage to your skin, right down to the DNA, significantly accelerating skin ageing. You should also keep your skin well-hydrated with a moisturiser, serum and hydrating mask. Skincare products and supplements that induce collagen production or delay collagen depletion are also helpful in delaying skin sagging.
- Volume replacement – Remember the slowly deflating beach ball? Air in the beach ball creates volume and makes it taut and elastic. When the air leaks, the beach ball loses volume and becomes deflated, loose and wrinkly. The same thing happens to us. Our faces become deflated when we lose fat and collagen over time. This results in loose skin, wrinkles and face sagging (that cursed gravity!). If we replace some of this volume periodically, we will be able to treat or delay this face sagging process. Dermal fillers are commonly used for volume replacement. They can be injected in specific areas of the face to provide structural support to the face and to enhance the lifting capacity of existing facial ligaments. Filler treatment, if done correctly, not only restores some volume in the face and creates a face lifting effect. A specific set of fillers, known as collagen fillers, are also being used to replace volume and enhance collagen production in the facial skin at the same time.
- Physical lift – Besides volume replacement, the facial structures such as skin and fat that have sagged over time can be re-positioned to their original place with physical lifting treatment such as face thread lift. This treatment involves placing ultra-thin absorbable threads under the skin to simply “put back” the structures on the face that have gone south. Some threads also have the ability to stimulate collagen production in the skin over time, creating a more youthful appearance. Face thread lift treatments have become more popular due to safer and more advanced thread technology and treatment techniques.
- Embrace technology – If injections are not your thing, consider skin tightening and lifting treatments which use medical devices. The most popular face lifting technology is ultrasound lifting. They are commonly known as Ultherapy (micro-focused ultrasound) and HIFU (High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound). These devices use precise ultrasound energy to heat up skin tissue to the optimal temperature, causing an acceleration of collagen production in specific layers of the skin. This in turn results in skin lifting and tightening results over a period of time. Another popular face lifting treatment is known as Thermage. Thermage uses a unique patented monopolar radiofrequency (RF) technology that safely heats up the deeper layers of our skin where collagen has been lost and broken down as we age. This directed heat causes the loose collagen matrix to contract and encourages new collagen to regenerate and grow again, helping to create tighter and smoother skin that continues to improve four to six months after treatment. Other RF technology devices that use bipolar and multipolar RF can also effectively treat and delay face and neck sagging.
It is important to know that all these treatments with injections and medical devices should only be carried out safely in medical clinics by trained doctors and professionals. Saggy skin is not a medical condition and it is not considered a problem for everyone.
(** PHOTO CREDIT: Marisa Howenstine)