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5 Things You're Doing That May Cause Sagging Skin on Your Arms

You can definitely fix the issue.
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

Is saggy arm skin causing unhappiness, frustration and a lack of confidence? Certain lifestyle factors and choices can directly impact skin health and appearance, and unfortunately sagging arm skin is often the result of those factors. "With aging, the skin naturally becomes less elastic and drier, with less fat and collagen in the deeper layers," says the Mayo Clinic. "This process results in the lines and creases typical of wrinkling. It also causes loose, saggy skin." Luckily there are things that can be done to prevent or lessen saggy skin and encourage healthy, toned arms. Here are five things that may be causing saggy arm skin.

Smoking Is Terrible For Skin

closeup woman hand smoking cigarette ,unhealthy lifestyle concept

Aside from the many health reasons smoking is terrible, it really does a number on your looks. Smoking encourages the breakdown of skin appearance and elasticity, which can lead to unfortunate arm skin sagging. "It is common for the skin of a 40-year-old heavy smoker to resemble that of a 70-year-old nonsmoker," says the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. "The exact connection between smoking and these effects are unknown, but current theories include the breakdown of elastic fibers in the skin, narrowing of blood vessels, production of free radicals, and reduced levels of vitamin A in the skin."

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Lack Of Moisture

Facial Skincare. Attractive Female Applying Serum On Face Moisturizing And Caring For Skin Standing Near Mirror In Modern Bathroom Indoors. Beauty Routine. Skin Care Concept. Selective Focus

Regular exfoliation and moisturizing helps maintain the integrity of your skin. "Daily use of a leave-on, gentle chemical exfoliant can make a huge difference—we can't stress this enough," says Paula Begoun, founder of Paula's Choice. "These ingredients noticeably and dramatically smooth and hydrate skin, as well diminishing the appearance of wrinkles, and help skin's resiliency, improving its ability to bounce back. We have a wide selection of BHA and AHA products, so you can find the right one for your skin type."

Sun Damage

Woman using sunscreen cream. Beautiful girl with sun protection cream

Sun damage can lead to sagging and discoloration. "Sunscreen is at the top of the list—that is non-negotiable!" Begoun says. "Sunscreen is a powerhouse youth-preserving skin care step, and it's never too late to start. Sun protection is critical for youthful-looking skin, and you must apply it to your neck, chest, and hands, too."

Lack of Exercise

Sleepy young woman drinking coffee, feeling tired, suffering from insomnia and sleeping disorder. Sad female sitting in modern kitchen interior, empty space

Exercise—especially strength training—can help prevent saggy arm skin. "As we age, the outer layer of our skin—the part we see and feel—gets thicker and drier while the inner layer thins, resulting in flakiness, wrinkling, and sagging," Stanley Kovak, MD, founder of Kovak Dermatology and Laser Institute in Illinois, tells "If your muscle is firm and strong, the skin over it is pulled more taut."

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Too Much Sugar

Different sugar on dark table

Too much sugar has a negative impact on skin and can accelerate aging, experts say. "If you put a banana out on the counter and unpeel it, what happens in 24-48 hours? It gets brown," Andrew Nish, MD, tells UnityPoint Health. "What's happening is the sugars in that banana are reacting with proteins, causing cross-linking and the brown color (browning reaction). The exact same reaction is happening in our bodies. We're browning from the inside out."

💪🔥Body Booster: Sun protection is critical for youthful-looking skin, and you must apply it to your neck, chest, and hands, too.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more