Several factors intrinsically linked to aging are responsible for sagging skin.
Firstly, age brings a loss of bone support which weakens the contours of the face. Under the effect of gravity, tissue starts to droop, the effects of which are particularly visible around the jawbone, temples and cheekbones.
At the same time, there’s a decline in the production of hyaluronic acid, collagen , and elastin, substances present in the extracellular matrix which play a key structural role within the dermis. Reduced elasticity means the skin is less able to ‘snap back into shape’: it appears looser and more distended, which also results in the appearance of the first fine lines and wrinkles (often from the thirties onwards) (1).
In women, the fall in estrogen levels that comes with menopause also precipitates sagging skin, as estrogen is a natural stimulant of collagen and elastin production (2). Smoking and lifelong exposure to the sun and environmental pollutants also exacerbate the process (3-4).
Note too, that people who have lost a lot of weight are more prone to sagging skin: when overstretched for a long period by adipose tissue, the skin loses the ability to return to its original shape (5).
Toning the skin starts with eating the right foods! The first strategy is to increase your intake of collagen. The problem here is that dietary sources are rare – and those foods that do contain it are not always that popular, top collagen-containing foods being bone broth, bone marrow, and gelatine (6).
Another option is to focus on the nutrients involved in collagen production or foods containing antioxidants which protect the skin from cell damage. Here, it’s important to eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables, boost your intake of zinc which helps maintain normal skin (seafood, cheese, cocoa …), and ensure your selenium needs are met as it helps protect cells against oxidative damage (fish, poultry, Brazil nuts ...) (7-9).
And don’t forget about essential fatty acids, especially omega-3 from oily fish or walnuts (10).
Make sure too that you stay well-hydrated (drink 1.5-2 liters of water a day) and limit your alcohol consumption as it encourages dehydration and skin aging (11).
Any supplement formulated to combat saggy skin should ideally include the following five substances at least.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, representing 25%-30% of total protein mass (12). Present in various forms in almost all structures in the body, it is primarily type I collagen, produced by specialist cells called fibroblasts, which is found in the skin. Forming a framework within the skin, structural collagen fibers ensure strength and tone of tissues, effectively preventing the formation of wrinkles (13).
Often referred to as the ‘beauty vitamin’, biotin is known by various names: vitamin B8, vitamin B7 or vitamin H. It helps maintain healthy skin by supporting the metabolism of macronutrients (especially proteins, the amino acids of which will be used to produce structural proteins of the skin) (14). A veritable ally of beautiful skin and enemy of dull complexions and small imperfections!
Hyaluronic acid is a compound naturally present in the body, especially the dermis. Its use in anti-aging creams and cosmetic treatments has risen exponentially in recent years. Due to its excellent tolerability, it remains the gold standard ingredient for adding volume and reducing wrinkles (15). Its ability to plump up the skin comes from its dual action of filling the empty spaces between cells and increasing water retention within tissues (16).
Ceramides fulfill a very specific function within the epidermis: they act as a ‘cement’ in the hydrolipidic barrier, which is responsible for maintaining both the skin’s integrity in the face of external aggressors (especially UV rays) as well as its hydration (17). This gives the skin more luminosity, softness and plumpness.
Collagen’s partner, elastin also helps support skin tissues, though in a different way. While collagen provides cohesion, elastin gives skin its elasticity (18), enabling it, for example, to return to its original shape after being stretched, and maintaining its smooth, firm, supple appearance.
It’s precisely for all these reasons that the synergistic formulation Natural Skin Formula combines these 5 mainstays of healthy-looking skin.
There is certainly no miracle vitamin capable of stopping the aging process in its tracks (more’s the pity). However, vitamin C plays a role in the formation of collagen for normal skin function (19). It also helps protect cells from the effects of oxidative stress, making it doubly effective at fighting the ravages of time (20).
So in terms of diet, focus on citrus fruit, kiwi fruit, peppers, acerola cherries and raw broccoli. There are also vitamin C supplements offering maximum absorption (such as Liposomal Vitamin C with encapsulation technology that prevents the vitamin being destroyed by gastric juices) (21).
Have you heard of astragalus? Used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, this herbaceous perennial from the Fabaceae family supports skin rejuvenation. This remarkable property is the result of the plant’s astragaloside IV content, a saponoside that some studies have shown prevents UV-induced decreases in collagen synthesis (22).
Supplementing with astragaloside IV (for example, the standardized extract Astragaloside IV 98%) would therefore seem to offer particular promise in protecting skin from photoaging.
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