Does Running Cause Saggy Skin?

Categories: Anti-aging
Leave A Comment: Comments(22)

runningWhen it comes to exercise, I’m lazy, and will always look for an excuse to get out of doing it. I had pretty much resigned myself to never become a runner…because I had heard that it can cause the skin on your face to sag and lose elasticity. I never knew if this was true, but the last thing I wanted to do was force myself to jog, and then find out I was causing my skin to prematurely age! I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of this “does running cause wrinkles or sagging skin?” question, and the answer remains as elusive as my quest to determine if airplanes have super strong UV rays coming through the windows.

I’ve been searching for the answer, and various sources claim any sort of high impact aerobic activity will cause your skin to sag. I even came upon a patent website where someone wanted to create some sort of band you put around your head when you run, to prevent sagging. Ha! Then I’ve come across sources that say it’s hogwash to think running can cause your facial skin to sag. Other sources say to get good running shoes and don’t run on really hard surfaces and you’re fine. Hmmm, aren’t most surfaces hard? I still don’t know if running causes facial sagging, but if I had to guess – I’d say probably not.

Does running cause saggy breasts?
Again, I’ve come across so much conflicting evidence on this, but most people seem to be in agreement that running can cause irreparable sagging to breasts, since ligaments that hold up the breasts can stretch from the impact of running. Luckily a good sports bra can really help with this, and obviously you’d want to be wearing a good sports bra anyway to be comfortable.

I’ve noticed a lot of runners have really wrinkly skin
Once I heard the alleged report that running causes sagging, I started looking around at runners. Sure enough, I spotted lots of them with an unusually large amount of wrinkles (but not necessarily sagging)! But remember, I have only lived in hot climates – Hawaii, California, and Nevada, and I basically only see runners when I’m outside. So all that sun exposure is probably the main reason for the wrinkles. Even the best sunscreens won’t completely protect your skin, and hours spent outside each day will take a huge toll on your skin. Plus, a lot of runners are in great shape and are extremely slim. Wrinkles are more noticeable on someone that doesn’t have a lot of body fat, or a few extra pounds to fill out the face.

My solution
When I am not lazy, I do weight lifting at the gym to gain muscle. I also like yoga for overall toning, flexibility, and relaxation. Then I walk on the treadmill as fast as possible, and somehow I’m able to get my heart rate up to 80% of my maximum heart rate. Plus, I have exercise-induced asthma, and literally can’t run more than a few minutes without feeling like I’m going to die. So, lucky for me, that’s my excuse for not running! I do like aerobics, but have to admit I’m so neurotic about aging that I’m sort of afraid to do high impact aerobics again until I can get a definitive answer about this whole sagging issue!

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22 Responses to “Does Running Cause Saggy Skin?”

  1. Makeup and Beauty Blog Says:

    The elliptical machine is also a good lower-impact cardio option too! I used to be a runner but am not so much anymore because it just tears up my joints too much. I like it because you can really get yourself to sweat and it doesn’t feel like it’s too jarring.

  2. candy Says:

    Great skincare, like makeup, doesn’t have to cost a lot. A $100 jar of moisturizer? Forget it! Not many of us could afford a daily routine in that price range. So don’t get caught up in the marketing madness and don’t pay for pseudo science. Your endorsement is the only one that counts.

    Here, my top 10 skin tips:

    1. Protect yourself from the sun — use sunscreen and avoid direct sunlight between the hours of 10 and 2.

    2. Don’t — I repeat — don’t smoke. Your skin is a large organ and it needs a lot of circulation. Smoking impairs that dramatically. That’s why smokers’ skin looks dull and gray. Instead of having oxy-generated blood delivered to the surface of the skin, they’re getting poisons and oxidants.

    3. Get adequate rest and nutrition.

    4. Protect yourself from stress — both emotional and environmental stress.

    5. Wash your face twice a day and put on the proper treatment product. I’m amazed when women tell me they don’t wash their face in the morning. A lot of icky stuff collects overnight — dead skin cells, dirt, and dust!

    6. Don’t neglect certain areas of the skin. Elbows, heels, neck, and decolletage need moisturizing, and your scalp and the tops of your feet need sun protection.

    7. Touch your face less and wash your hands more! Don’t get too surgical on yourself. It’s very tempting to pick, poke, squeeze, and scratch in front of the mirror. But the more you traumatize the skin, the greater your risk of scarring. Apply treatment products and let them work.

    8. Keep your makeup clean. Replace the sponges in your compact on a regular basis. Now and then, toss the whole works and start fresh — the average shelf life for cosmetics is 6 to 12 months. Don’t buy products so expensive that you’ll be heartbroken if you have to throw them away.

    9. Exercise moderation. More is not always better. Moisturizer, for example, is the most overused product in America. We’ve been bamboozled by cosmetic companies into thinking every square inch of our body has to be slathered. And it’s simply not true. Exfoliators are another thing to be careful with. Used too often, they overacidify and irritate your skin.

    10. Beware of counter girls. If it were up to them, you’d be in the bathroom for two and a half hours each morning — putting 80 layers on your face. Keep your regimen simple. And when you do add a new product, do it gradually so your skin has time to adjust. Each skincare or makeup product has an average of 20 to 40 ingredients — you’re introducing 20 to 40 potential allergens to your face every time you try something new.

    Thanks, Candy

  3. prettybeautiful Says:

    i am quite lousy at jogging, lousy stamina. I could only run for 5 mins and pants like hell

  4. Jeni - Savvy Skin Says:

    Your list is very similar to my anti-aging checklist that I wrote last week: http://www.savvyskin.com/anti-aging-skin-care-checklist . And speaking of smoking, I just wrote a rant about that, since it’s my biggest pet peeve!

  5. SavvyM Says:

    I also have noticed that some female runners look older than what they really are. However, I think that it’s the skin care. Maybe some of them haven’t taken the time to take care of their skin. I think that if you exercise, drink plenty of water and fluids, and take care of your skin, you should be looking and feeling good.

  6. eva Says:

    if you look in the mirror while jogging on a treadmill at a gym you can see the skin on your face moving up and down – so i think it does lead to sagging – at least for me – i think a power walk,bike ride with a higher gear or eliptical is good too – but not runing – that is hard on the joints too. Good shoes are important as well


  7. Claire Says:

    EXCESSIVE exercise may age the skin a bit… Sometimes, marathon runners do look a bit haggard, especially if they’re very skinny. Exercise does create a certain amount of stress on the body… Some runners get addicted to pushing themselves to the limit. 15 years of non-stop physical strain could age the skin.

    However, I think for most women, running will be beneficial. It improves circulation. Being fit is the best way to look young. Just don’t get too skinny or overdo the exercise.

  8. Danielle Says:

    Avoiding running outdoors because of saggy skin is nonsense. Some hardcore outdoor athletes have wrinkly skin because of excessive sun exposure over many years. Running, fresh air, and sunshine is great for the skin, in moderation of course. We actually spend a lot less time exercising and being outdoors than 50 years ago but seem to have so much more problems nowadays

  9. Suzy Lynn Says:

    I would be interested in linking to your site on mine, if you link to my site on yours. I love your site and think our sites complement each other and reach a similar demographic.

  10. Maureeb Says:

    REPOST! Previous post has a typo :)

    As a former runner of 7 miles 3 – 4 times a week, I began to notice a difference in my face and neck (lines around the mouth and loose skin on the neck). I thought this was due to perhaps stress or maybe it was just my time to show my age. However, I have reduced my cardio to 20 minutes, 3 times a week. As cardio is vital for circulation, a healthy heart and lungs – – I do not want to totally give up running, but perhaps with moderation.

  11. Donna O Says:

    I am 44 years old, and after running for only 2 years, I have stopped completely
    The skin on my inner thighs and behind , not to mention my breasts (with a good running bra) have suffered damage and sagging due to running.
    I am sooo disappointed. My advice to women about running — don’t .
    Buy a bike or swim instead, I wish that’s what I would have done
    I am now looking a plastic surgery to put my boobs back where they once were

  12. Robin Says:

    It wrecked my face. I can’t look at the thing. It “fell down” and hangs on my face in strange places and stuff stretched out and changed. I did it because i lived next to this lake and don’t reccommend it. I like to run a lot, but I can’t wear my own face anymore it looks like it is falling off of the bones and I’m not even 30 yet. I have a long area where my upper lip used to rest high to my nose. My skin fell and made a pear shape where i used to have a different face. It looks disgusting.

    I can’t ride a bicycle so maybe I”ll start eating lightly. I hate the way it made me look i mean it, don’t don it! It looks like my face caved in in places and there are big lines around my mouth and my family does not age quickly.

  13. Karen Says:

    At 44, this could be happening naturally with age as opposed to a relatively recent exercise regiment. Running has actually been shown to reverse the aging process.

  14. Michelle C Says:

    If you are wondering about or concerned if running causes wrinkles or any other subject with fitness and skin care you should contact the owner of Fitness Botanical Skin Care.com i think the name says it all. the website has a good informative page too. I would disagree that running causes one to age. any one who spends toomuch time outdoors with no sunscreen can look older. I love the way running makes me feel and look and my skin! And with a good quality sports bra no sagging boobs.

  15. sandrar Says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

  16. Leenzback Says:

    Robin– I’m sad to hear you look so harshly at yourself: I highly doubt that your aging is anywhere near as bad as you think. While I’m sure running does cause a bit of gravity-provoked wear and tear on the skin– I’m sure that you just have imbalanced hormones, a clogged up digestive system and accumulated sun damage. There are a number of books “the hormone diet” which detail how common hormonal imbalances within women are and how it causes aging. There are many things you can do (mainly ceneterd around diet: eliminate dairy (milk, cheese etc) and wheat/gluten. Stick to veggies, brown rice, sweet potatoes and rice & goat milk (for example). Keep in mind all of these factors, start wearing a GOOD natural sunscreen (Soleo Organics Sunscreen SPF 30 or Badger SPF 30) and get colon hydrotherapy/irrigation–a messed up digestive system is a key cause of aging. GOOD LUCK

  17. Leenzback Says:

    Oh I wanted to add– is avoiding a bit of elasticity in the skin really worth giving up running and the natural euphoria it gives? I feel like women, once again, are becoming prisoners of patriarchal definitions of beauty. It would sound ludicrous of men were to give up playing football (for instance), because it made their skin sag–so why are we?….

  18. collegeathlete Says:


    Like me, you’ll need to use an inhaler if you have asthma, but it’s worth it. The low impact means you’ll burn lots of fat without looking a day older.

    And your boobs won’t sag.

    For whatever reason, power walks and ellipticals don’t get you nearly as good results as swimming and running. I find it endlessly frustrating to put effort into things that don’t give you results.

  19. Anna Says:

    I’m sort of afraid to continue running now! Whenever I go long spurts without jogging then start it up again my skin, breasts, butt and thighs always perk up, noticeably. I hope more research comes out about this! There has to be a bazillion factors to consider….

  20. Alita Says:

    I’m just wondering, all these women who say running caused their breasts etc to sag… were they slim before? I can imagine running with extra fat hanging off one’s bones might cause some sagging. I’ve never seen an elite marathon runner with sagging breast skin… they have NO boobs! Yet I can’t believe that they all started out flat. There must have been some real curvies who lost the fat (and the excess skin) through running.

  21. Suzy Says:

    I, for one, found that swimming was very aging to my skin. The harsh chemicals such as chlorine in the water really dulled and dried out my skin. Jogging on the other hand gives me a healthy glow and keeps my weight steady (and, as you know, weight flucuation is one of the most aging things there is!) I do wear suncreen and a hat and run early in the morning before the sun is strongest. Honestly, though, I think we worry about things like this far too much – beyond taking sensible steps such as wearing sunscreen and not smoking (which I heartily endorse!) there is only so much you can do to prevent the signs of age despite what the magazines say (who have a vested interest in keeping us paranoid!) At some point, you ARE going to age and get wrinkles – much of it has to do with hormonal changes that you can’t do anything about so I personally think we should just do what we can within reason and then forget it and enjoy our life. A woman with wrinkles who is ‘comfortable in her own skin’ as the French say, is far sexier and more attractive than a wrinkle-free neurotic woman who is terrified to live!

  22. melissa Says:

    My mother is 68 and has been a runner for 30 years. She runs 3 times a week for 30 – 40 minutes. She is in GREAT shape and looks great in clothes…toned with a great figure…she looks like a teenager (in clothes). But in a bathing suit, her skin is VERY saggy from head to toe. Compared to her sister, who is plump, she is much more saggy, but will no doubt live longer. I guess it’s all about what is most important to you.

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