Everything you need to know about skin firmness
Taut, bouncy skin has always been a defining trait of youthful-looking complexions. Here’s what you should know about your skin’s firmness, and how you can maintain it.
Ever wondered why baby skin is often said to be the pinnacle of beautiful skin? Well, when we are born, our skin is at its most supple, firmest, and softest thanks to the high levels of collagen in it. Firmness is also one of the most important aspects of beautiful, healthy-looking skin. When your skin is firm, it is taut and springy, bouncing back into place even after you stretch and pull at it. However, with age, firmness is also the first and fastest skin dimension to decline.
What are the factors of skin firmness?
Your skin’s firmness is determined by two key structural proteins: collagen and elastin.
Collagen makes up about 30% of all protein content in your body. When your skin is full of collagen, it is supple and firm. Your skin contains the highest levels of collagen in your 20s and declines with age.
Found in the middle layers of skin, elastin is a fibre protein with the actual property of being elastic. Like a rubber band, it allows skin to stretch and contract back to its original shape. It also gives your skin flexibility.
How do you know if your skin lacks firmness?
The first tell-tale signs are when fine lines start to appear — especially in the eye area — or if you notice minute sagging around the eyes, jawline, and neck. Try pinching the sides of your cheeks a little. Your skin should stretch, then snap back into place when you release your fingers.
What causes skin to sag?
There are five main causes of sagging skin, all of which affect collagen and elastin.
Unfortunately, a part of the natural aging process is the breakdown of collagen in your skin. Starting from your 20s, you produce less collagen each year.
At the same time, your skin is also becoming less flexible as your elastin fibre degrades. As a result, your skin loses its resilience, becoming more wrinkly and saggy.
- Sun damage
Never skip SPF! 80% of skin aging is mainly caused by long-term exposure to UV rays, in particular UVA rays that accelerate the degradation of collagen and elastin. UV radiation also triggers the formation of free radicals: pesky little molecules that not only damage skin cells but can also cause cancer.
If you ever need another reason to stay away from the cookie jar, this is it. When there is excess sugar in your bloodstream, it can react with proteins to create Advanced Glycation End-products (aptly named AGEs). Collagen and elastin are very susceptible to glycation. The process renders them both stiff and inflexible by wreaking havoc on your skin’s structure. In-vitro testing implies that it might even inhibit the production of new collagen and elastin.
The human body is more than 60% water, which is why hydrated skin always looks healthier and plumper. As your largest organ, your skin is made up of countless cells, all of which function way better when they’re hydrated and happy — so make sure you try to get your 8 glasses a day!
Tips to prevent firmness loss
While loss in firmness is part of the natural aging process, there are some ways which you can help prevent it.
- Apply moisturiser every day
Use a serum or moisturiser that contains peptides or Vitamin B3 derivatives that are known to help stimulate production of collagen and elastin to keep your skin firm and taut.
- Stay protected
Protect your skin anytime, anywhere. Even if you’re not heading outdoors, use a lightweight sunscreen to prevent UV damage.
- Hydrate yourself
Water helps your skin’s natural functions perform better. Drink about 8 glasses a day to stay hydrated.
- Get your beauty sleep
Sleep is when your skin repairs itself from stress and damage accumulated during the day. Get at least 8 hours of rest every night to allow your skin’s recovery process to complete.
Did you know?
Firmness loss can also result in other signs of skin aging like fine lines and wrinkles.