It’s a fact of life. We are all destined to have a sagging neck and jowls. Growing older is the complex of aging signs and symptoms. While they can be lessened, slowed, or otherwise battled, they are unavoidable nevertheless.
Why are a sagging neck and jowls an inescapable part of aging?
- Decreased Collagen: As the collagen in our skin deteriorates, our skin stretches and loses its elasticity. Fixation of the skin to the underlying structures causes heavy folds to gather at the jowls, neck, and cheeks.
- Loss of Facial Fat: Adding to this insult is the wasting and shrinkage of the facial fat and bone. While the skin is designed to naturally contract as we gain or lose weight, when paired with the loss of collagen, our skin does not retract properly which causes further sagging.
- Gravity: By nature, gravity pulls things down. Unfortunately, this includes our skin.
Sadly, the combination of these factors leaves us looking like a Shar-Pei dog like we see in those ads for beautifying scams. All-in-all, it is not a pretty situation.
That probably leaves you asking: What do I do now to somehow lessen this? While aging and some degree of sagging is unavoidable, there are factors that you can control.
- Avoid Sun Damage: You have probably heard this a million times. As a plastic surgeon specializing in facial procedures, I will tell you again – WEAR YOUR SUNSCREEN. Choose a high-quality sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and avoid direct sun exposure when possible. Sun damage can destroy the collagen and elastin in your skin.
- Better Nutrition: You are what you eat. Choose foods that are good for the skin including those rich in vitamins A, C, and E (remember ACE), copper, zinc, and omegas 3 and 6.
- Exercise: Exercise doesn’t just make you feel younger, studies show that it can help you look younger as it may impact the chromosomes that control aging.
- Avoid Environmental Hazards: Our skin is exposed to a variety of pollutants ever day including air pollution and blue light from our electronic devices. Don’t add to that with smoking, vaping, or otherwise harmful habits.
While lessening further damage is an important step, you may also be looking to address the damage that has already occurred or that which is inescapable. That’s where the plastic surgeon’s catch words come in: RESTORE, RENEW, REJUVENATE.
Unfortunately, there is no miracle procedure or product that can reverse the signs of aging. That is why I am a firm believer in a comprehensive team approach. Tools like laser, radio frequency treatments, and topical skin restoration can help to rebuild collagen, elastin, and thicken the skin. Injectables such as fillers can help restore lost facial volume. And ultimately, for many, surgery such as a lift and tuck is the best remedy to a sagging face.
Regardless, if you are at the point of evaluating non-invasive skin tightening procedures or those that are surgical in nature, it is important to enlist the help of a plastic surgeon. While you may not think a plastic surgeon’s skill is necessary, consider your safety. Tools such as lasers and energy treatments are powerful. While they can do a lot of good, put in less capable hands, they can also do a lot of damage. While it may be tempting, going to a spa or lesser trained provider is like going to a salvage yard to have your Ferrari tuned up. Don’t do it. Instead, go to the best, so you get the best results. While a plastic surgeon’s skill may not be necessary, they surround themselves with those that are highly qualified and able to provide the right treatment for you.
To learn more about the surgical and non-surgical options available to help you achieve your goals, contact The Institute of Aesthetic Surgery by calling (407) 409-8000. Our team has assisted thousands of patients achieve a more youthful look, and we can help you too.