Collagen is critical for your tight and youthful skin. But over time this important skin’s building block will naturally dwindle, making less elastic and sagging skin more likely. Wear-and-tear skin with age is perfectly normal – just like the rest of your body, but there are also plenty of options to deal with. Here are a few natural skin tightening options to help firm sagging skin.
Among the most medically observed topical skin tightening treatments, retinoid — a form of vitamin A, is the real workhorse of any product line. Available in both prescription (Renova or retin-A) and a range of OTC products (typically labeled as the ingredient retinol). It does have an effect to boost collagen production and reduce collagen breakdown, improving wrinkles and sagging skin
It was thought that retinoid only worked with prescription-strength. But in 2007, a study from the University of Michigan (published in the Archives of Dermatology) showed that low dose 0.4 percent retinol lotion — topically applied 3 times a week for about 6 months – was also effective enough to carry significant improvement in skin wrinkling.
But every popular kid has a bunch of haters, the same goes for retinoid. If you have less sensitive skin, it could be your best bet. Even if there is no any negative reaction (e.g. irritation or redness), it’s probably safe to try its prescription strength to gain the benefits most.
Currently there is still no retinoid-adjacent ingredient. But the following natural-plant based retinoids are worth a try.
Also known as meroterpene phenol, it is a potent compound abundant in the seeds and leaves of the babchi herbaceous plant (which has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic therapy to treat a ream of skin conditions).
This plant extract formula has been scientifically observed to help ease sagging skin, wrinkles, and related conditions. The study showed it might have the same way as retinol . Participants took topical application with bakuchiol twice a day for about 12 weeks. Then they had improvements in their wrinkles, elasticity, and fine lines. Plus, it provides benefits without causing flakes, irritation, or dryness.
Rosehip Seed Oil
This essential oil is also thought to rival retinoid. There is no enough evidence available to support the claim, but its vitamin A content might provide similar effect on the skin as retinoid. Also, it is loaded with vitamin C, a protective antioxidant to help promote youthful skin.
Even though if the amount of vitamin A in rosehip seed oil is not as well as the full-potency vitamin A found in retinoid, it’s still worth a try. One study suggests it has omega-3 fatty acids to help moisturize the skin, and has potent bioactive component called ‘trans-retinoic acid’ which is regenerative property .
It sounds more chemical, and far away from natural label. But did you know that it is actually a natural plant substance derived from bakuchiol!
Sytenol A is not as well as retinoid. But it is probably effective to act the same receptors in the skin as retinol does. Furthermore, this ultimate retinoid-like alternative drives benefits without causing negative reactions.
When it comes to fighting skin aging, antioxidants are one of popular ones making the most noise these days. Your skin is constantly attacked by unstable molecules called free radicals. This will have a significant impact on your skin health since free radicals can literally gobble up the supply of your skin’s collagen.
Here antioxidants play a key role. They are required to fight against these free radicals. When topically applied to the skin, they neutralize free radicals before your skin gets hurt. Therefore, they are important in anti-aging skin care.
Coffee berry is a small rounded fruit that grows along the coffee plant’s branches. Also called as cherries of coffee, this grape-like fruit usually grows in clusters. It hosts several potent medicinal properties, including antioxidants.
For many years, the extract of coffee berry has become one of the loudest buzz when it comes to fight against free radicals due to its powerful antioxidant content, which is more powerful than green tea extract .
With its powerful antioxidants, it may be effective to help improve skin wrinkles and fine lines. Plus, it’s less likely to cause irritation or other negative allergic reactions — according to two independent studies in 2007 .
Green tea extract
Though green tea is probably less powerful than coffee berry, it still often gets attention when it comes to antioxidants. Its high polyphenol contents are the key answer. It is about 30% polyphenols by weight, including EGCG (a potent catechin).
Polyphenols in green tea have been shown to effectively help fight against free radicals, protecting the skin from negative effects of oxidative stress. It’s also thought that EGCG might help ease wrinkles by increasing the skin cell turnover.
A small study showed that applying green tea extract (in cream) to the skin may effectively improve skin elasticity . It seems some potent compounds found in green tea may also help ease skin damage associated with sun UV exposure and promote a moisturizing effect  .
Your skin is more likely to lose more elastin and collagen with age. Both elastin and collagen are critical to keep the skin flexible and healthy. Vitamin C has antioxidants which some are probably effective to increase collagen. Plus, its antioxidants may help protect the skin from UV damage by decreasing the amount of free radicals that cause sunburn cells.
Diet high in fruits and vegetables is the best natural way to nourish the skin with plenty of vitamin C antioxidants. For most people, eating about 5 servings of vegetables and fruits is enough to maintain their balanced vitamin C levels in the body.
Vitamin C is also available in topical preparation and supplement. But if you’re taking other supplements, consult your doctor /dermatologist first to keep safe.
Unfortunately many formulations containing vitamin C is commonly available in the form L-ascorbic acid, which is highly unstable (easy to become less effective when exposed to oxygen) . Moreover, most products are not effective enough to penetrate deep into the skin, making them less useful. Some studies are continuously going to explore the most effective way for topical application with vitamin C.
*You might also like to know whether vitamin C serum is OK for dry skin, see more at the following link pros and cons of vitamin C serum!
Natural remedies to deal with wrinkles and sagging skin are overwhelming. But most of them have no enough studies to back them up. Nevertheless, they have anecdotal evidences which some are hard to resist.
For many decades, aloe has been used to help treat various skin conditions, including skin tightening. It hosts potent medicinal properties including malic acid, an organic compound which may help improve skin elasticity. Also, it is a natural moisturizer.
Just extract the gel from aloe, and then apply gently to the skin. Leave it on for several minutes. Even some people believe that applying aloe gel overnight is also worth a try. See more skin health benefits from aloe here!
Honey is an antioxidant and a humectant to help keep the skin moist naturally. Also, it is a good natural ‘acidic’ (it has a pH of around 3-4), this is beneficial to help promote youthful skin by breaking down and removing unnecessary dead skin cells.
It’s not clear whether it works for skin tightening. Anecdotal testimonials suggest it might help promote skin rejuvenation, driving the skin to its natural firmness.
How to use honey for skin health can vary. You can apply it alone to the skin or combine it with other natural remedies for better result, here are a few examples.
#Honey and cinnamon
Make a paste from honey and cinnamon, mix 1 tablespoon of honey and about 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Gently apply to your skin and leave it about 25-30 minutes, and rinse. Then use white vinegar as a natural toner. Use cotton ball and dip it into the toner solution – rub it gently all over the face to tighten your skin.
#Honey and egg white
Egg white is high in albumin protein, which is probably effective to make the skin firm and soft. It might also help improve the texture of your skin by rebuilding the skin cells. Just mix 1 tablespoon of honey with one egg white, apply it to face and neck, leave for about 20-25 minutes and rinse.
#Honey and olive oil
Olive oil was already used by the ancient Egyptians as a moisturizer, a cleanser, and natural antibacterial agent. People also believe it is a powerful antioxidant. Plus, this healthy oil has vitamin E which is also good to drive anti-aging benefits.
Mix 2 teaspoons of honey and 2-3 drops of olive oil! Put the mixture in the microwave and warm it slightly. It should be just warm to touch, NOT too hot! Apply it to the skin, leave for about 15 minutes or (if possible) let it dry naturally. And then rinse with lukewarm water!
Millions of people enjoy coffee as the go-to morning beverage. It’s great in taste to start the day. And since it also contains antioxidants and other skin health properties, people use it to help tighten the skin. In combination with other ingredients, skin health properties in coffee might effectively work to improve the natural firmness of the skin and remove excess fat deposits.
To create a coffee scrub mask, mix coffee (0.25 cup of coffee grounds) with the following ingredients; cinnamon (0.5 teaspoon), brown sugar (0.25 cup), and coconut oil (2 tablespoons, heat it slightly). In a small bowl, mix all these ingredients with your fingers in circular motions. Apply the mixture to the skin for several minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water.
With anecdotal evidences, people also believe that the following natural remedies are probably worth a try to firm sagging skin and improve skin elasticity:
- Epsom salt bath. Epsom salt structure is unique. Unlike salt for cooking, it has potent medicinal properties. It’s a natural pain reliever by reducing swelling. The same process might work on tightening the skin. Add a few cups of Epsom salt into a warm-water bath. Take this bath 1-2 times a week! Don’t forget to apply moisturizer afterwards, because Epsom salt may remove all excess water from your body.
- Coconut oil. This healthy cooking oil is derived from the white part of coconuts, as the name implies. It’s not only low in LDL (bad cholesterol), it’s also a natural moisturizer and has antioxidants which might help deal with sagging skin.
- Yogurt, which has antibacterial and lactic acid properties. It’s thought that lactic acid might have an effect to help shrink pores. To make yogurt mask, mix plain yogurt (2 tablespoons) with lime juice (2 drops). Apply it to the skin for several minutes (10 minutes should be enough), and then rinse!
- Banana mask. Banana is a tropical fruit with some potential beauty compounds. It has vitamins and minerals to help improve skin elasticity. People use it with lemon juice to provide anti-aging benefits.
Although tightening skin is a herculean task especially for people over 50, it’s possible to achieve. Even sometimes a few lifestyle measures may make a difference to help enhance the natural beauty of your skin.
Cigarette smoking will take a serious toll on many parts of the body, including the skin. Smokers tend to have more wrinkles that get worse over time. This is sometimes called ‘smoker’s face’.
Tobacco smoke is loaded with many harmful chemicals that hurt your skin health. It has more than 4,000 chemicals, and some may significantly ruin your looks by triggering the destruction of elastin and collagen.
Smoking decreases the blood flow to the face, which is bad for your skin’s cells health. This chronically deprives the skin cells of nutrients and oxygen, causing pale skin or uneven skin tone. Also, smokers squint more often to keep smoke from their face and eyes, making wrinkles around the eyes more likely.
Alcohol, avoid or go in moderation!
Alcoholic beverages may make you feel good, but they are a serious threat for your liver health. Alcohol is a toxin to your liver cells. And it is bad for your skin, too.
The simply way to look at the link between alcohol and skin is to ask what do people look like if they’re suffering from liver problems. Their looks are likely pasty, cold, sallow, and their skin pores are huge!
Alcohol is also loaded with congeners, substances that create liquor’s unique smell and tastes. Congeners are to blame for hangovers – more amounts of congeners you drink, more likely to get hangover and the worse your skin looks in the next morning. Alcohol is also bad for your skin hydration since it dehydrates the skin, making the skin less fresh.
So if you drink, drink only in moderation. Excessive drinking (more than 2 drinks for men, 1 drink for women) does cause damage to your skin in long term. Heavy drinking may drive you to NOT eat a healthy diet, too.
The skin health and diet connection
Your skin is constantly fighting harmful things (e.g. UV sunlight and free radicals), so repairing and regenerating itself is a must. Without the right nutrition, it’s at high risk of premature aging and related conditions.
So your skin needs enough nutrition to keep healthy and youthful looking. Most good things for topical application mentioned earlier – such as antioxidants and vitamins – can also help you from inside.
The B vitamin biotin and vitamin A, as well, as vitamin E and C (antioxidants), are critical to support your skin health. Green leafy veggies, citrus, and tomatoes are some of the best ones to start. Again, try eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day!
Also, keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This is important to hydrate the skin and keep it moist from the inside out.
Other helpful tips
- Whatever products you choose for daily skin-care regimen, never ignore skin care basics (e.g. wearing full-spectrum sunscreen to protect the skin from both UVA and UVB sunlight, using moisturizer after shower /bath especially if you have dry skin, and cleaning your face before bed).
- Sleep well at night. Not enough sleep is bad for your general health, including the skin. It increases inflammatory cells in the body, decreasing hyaluronic acid (molecules for skin glow and translucency) and collagen. It also affects your body’s hydration rebalances, causing skin dryness or more noticeable wrinkles. Overall, sleep is critical to keep the skin healthy and youthful. During sleep, damaged skin cells are optimally repaired – so lack of sleep may have a role to accelerate the aging process.
- Stress – manage and reduce it! Stress could be severe enough to affect your skin health, causing several skin problems more likely. For instance, certain facial expressions (e.g. pursing the lips or furrowing the brows during stress) may contribute to cause wrinkles over time. Stress may also have to do with acne flare-ups.
Beyond known minerals and vitamins for skin health, studies are looking for other nutrients that can work more effectively for aging skin. Here are some of the most potential ones that may provide significant remarkable effects on the skin.
This potent substance, available in creams and supplements, is one of the most potential agents for skin aging. It is a powerful antioxidant, much more powerful than vitamin C and E. Plus it’s able to penetrate water and oil. This is so helpful to support skin cells both the outside and the inside of your body.
What makes it more special, it may also help stimulate other vitamins work more effectively, according to one study published in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics (1999). This helps a lot in repairing and rebuilding skin cells damaged by bad environmental assaults such as air pollution and tobacco smoke.
This potent acid is also naturally produced by the body. It’s responsible to lubricate joints so they move smoothly. How does it help deal with skin aging?
One study found that it also acts like a glue to hold skin cells together, making the skin look youthful and smoother . Plus, it keeps the skin hydrated since it has ability to hold water. Nowadays, it’s quite commonly found in skin-care cream products. It’s still not readily available in supplement (food).
EFAs (essential fatty acids)
Adequate EFAs in the body are important for the production of your natural skin’s oil barrier. Unfortunately many people experience the imbalance between omega-6 and omega-3 (two of the key EFAs), leading to a more irritating form of oil or sebum that may contribute to inflammation or dotted spots in the skin (black or white heads).
Mostly, we consume more omega-6 than omega-3. Cooking oils, poultry, and baked goods are a few culprits high in omega-6.
On the other hand, Omega-3 is often lacking. It can be found in canola oil, soybean oil, flaxseed oil, walnuts, chia seeds, sardines, salmon, or other cold-water fish. It is also available in fortified foods such as certain brands of yogurts, soy beverages, milk, and eggs.
This nutrient innovation is powerful appetite for free radicals, it is one of the strongest antioxidants. Also, it helps strengthen and stabilize the outside of each skin cell, which is useful to protect the skin from negative effects of UV sunlight and cigarette smoke.
Furthermore, it may help reduce the risk of lipofucsin formation that causes brown pigment commonly found in the early stages of age spots. It’s available in topical creams and supplements.
- Mary Sullivan, RN, Olympian Labs, Scottsdale, Ariz.