Firm, glowing, healthy skin is something many of us take for granted. Chances are, we don't think too hard about what keeps our skin supple - until our skin begins to sag.
Aging, environmental factors, and genetics can cause the skin around the face, neck, and even the chest to become saggy and loose. While there are no serious health implications to sagging skin, it can be unsightly and uncomfortable. Even more upsetting, it only gets worse.
So-called "miracle" skin tightening regimes can be expensive, uncomfortable, or even painful. There's also no guarantee that they will work, after all. Most people don't want to plaster chemicals and fiddly treatments on their skin, so let's discuss eight natural ways to tighten loose skin.
What Causes Sagging Skin?
There are two proteins in our bodies that help to boost our skin's elasticity and suppleness: collagen and elastin.
These two proteins keep skin firm and healthy, particularly in young, healthy people. As we age, these proteins begin to break down. This results in the loss of "youthful" skin, and leads to frown lines and wrinkles. The disintegration of connective tissue and uneven fat distribution also causes sagging skin. Once again, this is a natural (but dreaded) side effect of skin aging.
Other factors can also contribute to sagging or loose skin. Pregnancy, significant weight loss, rapid weight loss, or overexposure to the sun can also cause the skin to sag prematurely.
Best Home Remedies
Now we know what causes sagging skin, let's take a look at some of the best home remedies for natural, affordable skin tightening.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a fantastic ingredient with multiple uses. You might be more used to using coconut oil in the kitchen, but it's also an effective beauty product. Apply a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil to the skin on your face and neck before bed. Spend about five minutes massaging in circular motions to allow the oil to absorb into your skin. For best results, let the coconut oil sit on your face overnight.
2. Coffee Scrub
Who doesn't love a bracing cup of coffee in the morning? You can also use coffee to make an exfoliating skin scrub for your face and neck. Coffee contains antioxidants, making it helpful to fight off the effects of skin aging. The rough scrub element helps to exfoliate and firm up skin.
Combine a quarter cup of coffee grounds, a quarter cup of brown sugar, two tablespoons of coconut oil, and half a teaspoon of cinnamon. Thoroughly mix the ingredients. You should now have a gritty mixture. Rub the scrub on your face, neck, and chest, in gentle, circular motions for 5 minutes, and then rinse your face. For best results, use the coffee scrub once a week.
3. Olive Oil
Just about all of us have a bottle of olive oil in the cupboard. Olive oil far predates modern moisturizers and beauty treatments, and it's still useful today. Since olive oil contains vitamin E, it's one of the best natural home remedies if you're looking to tighten your skin and reduce the chance of sun damage.
Spend a few minutes massaging a little olive oil into your skin after a shower or warm bath. You can use olive oil in place of a moisturizer or body lotion.
4. Yogurt Mask
Yogurt can have a brightening effect on loose skin. It also contains natural enzymes and lactic acid, which works to tighten the skin and shrink pores in the face and neck. Yogurt masks are easy to make and much cheaper than expensive commercial alternatives.
Start with two tablespoons of plain yogurt. Add two drops of lime juice, and mix well. Massage the mixture onto your face, neck, and chest and allow it to sit on your skin for around five minutes. Be sure to rinse the yogurt mask off your face, thoroughly. You can use a yogurt mask once or twice a week.
5. Egg White and Honey Mask
If you're up for a natural face mask with a little more preparation, an egg white and honey mask is one of the most soothing and effective home remedies. Honey is a strong antioxidant, helping to remove toxins that build on our skin over time. Makeup, beauty treatments, and even environmental toxins can have an effect on your skin. You can also use honey as a skin mask by itself. Simply mix honey with a few drops of olive oil to make a warm mixture, and rub it in circular motions onto your skin. Let it sit for around fifteen minutes, rinse away, and gently pat your face dry.
Egg white contains albumin, which is a protein that promotes skin elasticity and skin cell repair. This contributes to healthy, supple skin, offering the youthful glow that we all chase.
Start by taking one egg white, and mixing in 2 tablespoons of honey. Mix well, and apply the paste to your face, neck, and chest. Let the mask sit on your skin for around fifteen minutes. Wash off the mask with warm water thoroughly, and repeat once or twice a week for best results.
6. Aloe Vera Mask
Aloe vera is a remarkably versatile plant that has a wide variety of uses. You don't need to stop at using aloe vera gel for burns, you can also use it as a face mask to tighten sagging skin.
Simply spread aloe vera gel over your face, neck, and chest. Allow it to sit on your skin for around fifteen minutes, then rinse off with warm water.
You don't even have to buy aloe vera gel if you have your own aloe plant. Aloe is low-maintenance and easy to grow from home.
Cucumber makes a fresh and refreshing addition to a meal, but it can also be ground up to make a handy skin-tightening face mask. Start by grinding up half of a whole cucumber. You'll need to strain out the pulp to remove any juice. Now, you can use either the pulp or the juice as a face mask.
If you're using the juice, rub the cucumber juice all over your face, neck, and chest. Let the juice sit on your skin for around fifteen minutes. Make sure to let it dry before you rinse it off.
Alternatively, you can use both the pulp and the juice as a face mask. Follow the same method, applying the pulp and juice to your skin and allowing the mask to sit for fifteen minutes. Finally, rinse the mixture from your skin with warm water and mix well. This will keep your skin healthy, young-looking and hydrated.
8. Banana and Papaya
Last but not least, a banana and papaya mixture can be a soothing, refreshing face mask. Papaya contains vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidants. This helps to smooth and tighten skin, keeping it firm and supple. Banana is well-known for its vitamin content, containing zinc, potassium, iron, magnesium, and a host of other vitamins.
Blend the papaya and extract the pulp. Then, mash one ripe banana, and add a few drops of lemon juice, which has astringent properties and boosts collagen production. Apply the mixture to the skin of your face, neck, and chest. Leave the mask on your skin for anywhere between five to ten minutes, then rinse with warm water thoroughly.
You can also use bananas and papaya as home remedies for natural skin tightening separately.
Exercises to Tighten Skin
Another natural method of combating sagging skin, aside from using the home remedies listed above, is to use facial exercises and stretches. While these exercises may not necessarily work to suck your skin back into place, they do tone your facial muscles. This can help the skin around your face, neck, and chest to seem fuller and tighter.
Facial exercises can also help to tone up the dreaded double chin, where a pouch of skin or fat collects underneath the jaw. Let's take a look at a few easy exercises you could try to firm up sagging skin.
1. Chin Lifts
A chin lift is exactly what it sounds like. Turn your face so you're looking upwards, and stick out your chin. You should feel a pull in your face and neck muscles while you do this. For an extra stretch, purse your lips as if you're trying to kiss the ceiling. Hold the position for ten to fifteen seconds, then relax and repeat.
For best results, try doing chin lefts several times a day. Be sure not to push yourself too hard. You want to tighten your skin, not hurt yourself. If you notice any pain in your muscles, stop the exercise.
2. Chewing Exercises
Chewing is one of the simplest ways to strengthen jaw muscles and help tighten the skin around the mouth. You don't need to eat constantly to do this exercise - chewing gum will do just fine. Chewing gum can be done while you're distracted by other things, perhaps focusing on work. In effect, you're working out without even realizing it.
3. Pouting ("The Fish Face")
If you don't mind looking a little silly, the Fish Face is an anti-aging exercise that can help you stretch out the muscles in your jaw and cheeks.
Start by sucking in your cheeks, past your teeth, and into your mouth. This gives the "fishy" expression. Hold the pose for ten to fifteen seconds, then release and repeat.
These are only three of dozens of available stretches and exercises for face and neck muscles. You might choose to do all or some of these exercises. However, be sure not to pull or tug on your skin in any way. Your goal is to reduce the appearance of sagging skin, and pulling on your skin will have the opposite effect. Also, don't overuse your muscles. A pulled neck muscle from an overenthusiastic facial stretch is not going to help with your tight skin goals!
The Bottom Line
Nobody likes sagging skin. However, it's important to recognize that as we age, our skin will lose its elasticity. Unfortunately, this one of the natural signs of aging. If your sagging skin is caused by pregnancy or rapid weight loss, it may well fix itself over time.
If you decide to do something about your sagging skin, you might prefer natural home remedies. This includes the ever-popular natural face masks and skin tightening exercises, which most people prefer to chemical treatments or surgery. Whichever way you decide to tackle your sagging skin (if you need to tackle it at all), remember to be kind to yourself. After all, beauty is only skin deep.