Woman with smooth skin

When we’re young, our skin is resilient. It heals and repairs quickly and it’s firm and taut. As collagen and elastin production slow, our skin begins to change and skin firmness diminishes. Skin gradually loses elasticity, fine lines transition into wrinkles, and sagging sets in.

Although we can’t avoid the aging process, we can take steps to preserve firmness and restore and rejuvenate our skin.

What Keeps Skin Firm?

Cellular health, genetics, lifestyle, skincare routine, hormonal changes, and environmental pollution all contribute to the rate at which skin ages. While these factors vary from one person to the next, we can’t escape the loss of collagen and elastin.


Collagen accounts for 70% to 80% of the skin’s structure. It’s also the most plentiful protein in the body. Beginning in our mid-20s, collagen production slows by about 1% each year. It’s the primary driver of lost facial volume, which intensifies wrinkles and sagging skin.


Elastin only accounts for 2% to 4% of the skin’s dermal layer. Although minimal, it’s what allows our skin to recoil when stretched. Think of elastin kind of like denim jeans with a bit of stretch. It’s mostly denim, but the stretch perfects the fit. 

While both proteins will diminish as we age, we can make proactive and reactive changes to nourish and restore our collagen and elastin.

Evolving Skincare Routines

At-home skincare routines must evolve as your skin’s needs evolve. This goes beyond general recommendations, such as wearing a lighter moisturizer in the summer and a thicker cream in the winter when the air is dry—to truly personalized skincare.

It’s easy to be distracted by trending ingredients and advice, but what your skin needs has little to do with trends. In general, we should transition our products every 10 to 15 years from our 20s through our 50s.   

The objective is to deep cleanse, exfoliate, nourish, hydrate, and protect. Products that nourish contain antioxidants that stimulate cellular repair, boost collagen production, and keep existing collagen and elastin healthy for optimal skin firmness. 

As we age, this often includes:


Peptides are a powerhouse string of amino acids, essential for the skin's firmness and regenerative process. They signal the skin to produce more collagen and play a role in reducing inflammation, evening out skin tone, and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

Hyaluronic acid

This potent moisturizer plays a critical role in skin hydration, activates tissue repair, and improves the skin’s natural barrier. Hyaluronic acid attracts and holds up to 1,000 times its weight in moisture, providing rapid plumping and skin firming.

Vitamin C

Skin requires a variety of antioxidants, but few are more powerful than vitamin C. Vitamin C combats free radical damage while boosting collagen production. Most add it to their skincare routine in their late 20s or early 30s, but it’s never too soon—especially for those who live in an area with a high level of environmental pollution.

Vitamin B3

Also known as niacinamide, vitamin B3 is another skin-healthy antioxidant. It improves and maintains elasticity, reduces inflammation, and optimizes the skin barrier. With regular topical application, it can minimize fine lines and improve skin texture.

Alpha and beta hydroxy acids

AHAs and BHAs are topical wash-off or leave-on exfoliators. They accelerate the rate at which we shed dead skin cells. This promotes the cellular turnover required for skin firmness and overall anti-aging.

Beyond Skincare: Lifestyle and External Factors

The first thing most of us think of when we consider the appearance of our skin is our skincare routine and topical products. While nourishing and caring for our skin externally is essential for antiaging, we must consider all factors that age our skin.

Sun exposure

In addition to the increased risk of skin cancer, UV rays prematurely degrade the skin’s proteins. Apply head-to-toe daily SPF, ideally broad-spectrum UV protection.


Smoking is the only external factor that will damage your structural proteins faster than the sun.

Air pollution

If you live in an area with a high level of environmental pollutants, you may notice that your skin is aging prematurely.

Physical activity

Physical activity gets the heart pumping and the blood flowing throughout the body. This enhanced blood flow delivers a higher concentration of oxygen and nutrients to our organs, including the skin.

In addition to physical activity, prioritize anything that increases blood flow, including saunas, red light therapy, and steam rooms.

Weight loss

Rapid weight loss and significant weight loss can lead to loose skin throughout the body. Sagging skin can make fat loss feel less gratifying, as it replaces one aesthetic concern with another. This decrease in skin firmness can also cause chaffing, increased risk of bacterial build-up, and can restrict physical activity.

Hormonal changes

Starting as early as perimenopause, estrogen levels begin to fluctuate. This can negatively impact our skin’s:

  • Elasticity
  • Thickness
  • Moisture levels
  • Blood flow
  • Collagen production

Combined, these side effects accelerate fine lines, deep creases, dryness, sensitivity, dullness, and sagging.

Poor nutrition

The chemicals in processed foods can be problematic for whole-body health. Your body needs water, vitamins, and minerals to heal and repair.

Processed sugar

Processed sugars break down collagen and cause cross-linking. Cross-linking can:

  • Increase oil, clogged pores, and acne.
  • Intensify the appearance of wrinkles.
  • Cause premature sagging and aging.
  • Accelerate the appearance of dark spots.
  • Slower healing of cuts, scrapes, and abrasions.

The Role of Hydration and Nutrition in Skincare

We touched on this a bit above, but let’s dive a bit deeper into the role of hydration and nutrition.


In addition to topical vitamin C and other skin-healthy antioxidants, an antioxidant-rich diet plays a vital role in maintaining skin firmness and whole-body antiaging. This can be achieved by eating a diet high in whole foods, as processed foods have far less nutritional value. 

In terms of boosting and maintaining collagen and elastin, The Cleaveland Clinic suggests the foods below:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Citrus fruits
  • Red peppers
  • Green peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Dark leafy greens

External Hydration

Skincare products are designed to nourish and hydrate skin externally. However, they only go so far in delivering the hydration required for optimal skin firmness. When in extreme weather or dry air, it’s ideal to reapply our moisture layer throughout the day. For example, we’ve all experienced chapped lips and dry hands in the winter.

It may be helpful to apply a barrier cream to protect skin and utilize a humidifier. Convenient desk and bedside humidifiers are available. Be mindful to use humidifiers as directed, and to clean and disinfect them as advised.

A proactive approach is best, as repairing external dehydration takes time.

Internal Hydration

We must also take a proactive approach to internal hydration. When our bodies become dehydrated, our skin feels tight and dry, looks dull and lackluster, and wrinkles become more pronounced. The longer dehydration persists, skin is likely to feel itchy and it may begin to crack.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to staying internally hydrated. A general rule is to drink at least half of your body weight in water per day, including an electrolyte-rich beverage or two.

You may require more water:

  • When it’s hot or humid.
  • When exercising.
  • When sweating profusely for any reason.
  • When prescribed a dehydrating prescription.
  • After consuming dehydrating fluids, such as caffeine or alcohol.

Rehydrating internally provides rapid visible results. If skin has cracked, it will need time to heal. 

Non-Surgical Med Spa Treatments to Tighten Skin

In addition to prioritizing the skin-healthy habits above, consider scheduling a consultation at a med spa. If you live in the Phoenix area, Valley Medical Weight Loss and Med Spa provides a variety of non-surgical treatments to plump, firm, tighten, smooth, and rejuvenate skin firmness. This includes individual treatments and combining treatments to deliver optimal results.

Forma Skin Tightening is a top option. This revolutionary treatment utilizes painless radio frequency to promote the regrowth of collagen.

It can be used to tighten skin on the:

  • Nasolabial folds
  • Crows feet
  • Jowls
  • Neck
  • Forehead

Morpheus 8 is another exciting option to consider. It combines radiofrequency and microneedling to contour, tighten, and resurface skin. The exciting thing about Morpheus 8, is that it can be used on the face and body!

This includes the:

  • Face
  • Jaw
  • Neck
  • Arms
  • Abdomen
  • Back
  • Labia
  • Legs
  • Hands, feet, & armpits to treat hyperhidrosis

We also offer a few types of Thread Lift Treatments to instantly lift sagging skin. Threads are often referred to as a non-surgical facelift. Threads that stimulate collagen production, improving the texture and tone of skin over the next 6 to 12 weeks.

Threads are effective for:

  • Nasolabial folds
  • Jowls
  • Marionette lines
  • Overall signs of aging

The treatments above are only a handful of our aesthetic options. Reach out to Valley Medical Weight Loss and Med Spa today to discuss a personalized plan for rejuvenating skin firmness!

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