When elasticity is lost and the skin no longer responds to pulling or stretching by snapping back, the skin can become lax and may require tightening to reverse the effects of age and sun. The collagen and elastins in the dermal layer may have been damaged due to sun exposure or may have deteriorated due to hereditary predisposition. The problem is further aggravated by the pull of gravity. Skin laxity worsens with time, and tightening the skin can become important as we age.
Lax skin can occur in many areas of the body including the face, the neck, the breasts, and the abdomen. Little can be done to prevent skin laxity; however, a variety of surgical techniques such as face lifts and tummy tucks remove redundant skin and re-drape it so that it is taut. Less invasive techniques are also available in the form of light and radiofrequency systems. Heat is deposited deep into the skin causing realignment of the elastins and contraction of the collagen. Although the results may not be as dramatic as re-draping surgeries, infrared light and radiofrequency treatments are less invasive and can sometimes provide significant benefit especially in the early stages of the aging process.