Stop the sag

When skin loses tone and starts to sag, different approaches are needed, depending on the causes

Sagging skin affects some parts of the body in particular: buttocks, breasts, arms and especially the abdomen. These are the areas where loss of skin tone is especially noticeable. But what causes it and how can you restore tone and firmness?

In general, sagging skin and loss of skin tone is due to the degradation of the fibres that hold the skin together – collagen and elastin. And when the skin loses its elasticity and tone, the fat that lies below the surface may become noticeable as the dreaded dimpled 'orange-peel'.

Depending on the causes, there are different approaches that can be taken, but in all cases, perseverance and will power are two essential weapons in the fight for a toned figure.

First you need to decide if the problem goes more than 'skin deep'.  After major weight loss, or pregnancy, for example, there may be a problem with the skin itself taking time to adjust to its new shape. In this case, the best option is the use of firming creams every day. Remember, too, that ending your shower with a burst of cold water can help to tone and strengthen the skin.

If the sagging goes deeper, though, and is due to lack of muscle tone, then exercise is needed to restore firmness. If it's the belly area that's the problem, for example, abdominals and crunches will help.

For best results, remember that you mustn't just stay put with one routine: you should change the work out and increase the exercise difficulty in order to keep progressing and strengthening the muscles. It is important to exercise with care, so consult one of the trainers at the gym to make sure you are doing it right and not risking damage to back and neck muscles.

Remember, too, that you'll need to exercise both upper and lower abs as well as the side muscles, which are often overlooked but when well-toned are what give shape and definition to the waist.