How can I avoid wrinkled and sagging skin …or at least tighten it up a bit?

A favorite quote of mine  is, “With age comes wisdom.”  I also have a least favorite quote, one that is not as popular as the previous and not nearly as positive, “With age comes … wrinkles, and saggy skin too.”

I’ll be the first to admit that I wish I didn’t have to deal with it.  I realize that saggy and wrinkled skin is a common problem among aging individuals because older skin loses elasticity with age.  Gravity also takes a toll as the skin’s underlying structure slowly breaks down.  As we age our skin renews itself much slower than it once did when we were younger.   And then there are other factors that bring on the wrinkled, sagging skin like genetics and sun damage.  Sagging skin also occurs following a drastic weight loss.

This is a subject that is brought up nearly every time I speak to someone about my 162 pound weight loss.   Many people want to know if I had to deal with saggy skin and my answer is yes, but it does not effect the quality of my life.  I’m not a spring chicken by any means and my skin was going to start sagging a little bit whether I lost weight or not.   But I look at it this way,  if I would not have lost weight I may not be alive to worry about a little extra skin on my arms, legs or face anyway.  Being morbidly obese was much more of a concern to me since it could have caused my demise.

I will admit that wrinkles and saggy skin is not what I like to see in the mirror.  Yet I do know that since I follow a healthy lifestyle, walking 1.5 miles daily, drink plenty of water, avoid fatty foods  (along with never smoking or consuming alcoholic beverages) and moisturize my skin often, I don’t look as saggy and wrinkled as I might otherwise.

I know that some doctors say that once skin starts to slacken, pores often look larger, as if they’ve been stretched out of shape and cannot be strengthened through exercise.   But there is an encouraging element here.  Lean muscle can fill in the area under the skin and can help to stretch it tight.  According to Phil Kaplan Fitness Associates, as long as the skin is well-nourished and resilient, it can spring back into shape when filled with new muscles.

But obviously, anyone who loses weight – or is simply growing older – does not wish to worry about excessively sagging skin.  Here are some tips from Livestrong that can help you keep your skin strong as well:

  •  Lose weight slowly to give your body time to shrink.
  •  Eat foods that will maintain your skin’s elasticity.
  •  Use weight training, calisthenics, resistance bands or stabilization exercises to build muscle mass.
  •  Stay hydrated with beverages and food.

And my personal recommendation is to keep a positive attitude!  It’s pretty simple if you continue to remember that with age comes wisdom – yes we are becoming a bit wiser as each moment passes … you’ve got to love that!

Photo credit: play4smee

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