What is the Best Non-surgical Treatment for Sagging Underarms?

Doctor Answers 16

Best treatment for sagging arms which is noninvasive

If your arms have very minimal skin laxity you could do a combination of weightlifting to build the tricep muscle and the bicep muscle and obtain some result. You must remember that you cannot spot reduce fat. There are some modalities such as cool sculpting which can be used however I would be cautious because there have been cases of nerve damage which becomes quite painful when using non-invasive treatments. There are three nerves which are sensory nerves in the arm and they are quite superficial and very vulnerable to damage.  Usually surgery is the only answer for the problem you describe. With minimal skin laxity SAFE liposuction can be performed with or without a mini brachioplasty which is a scar located in the axilla or armpit. If the excess skin is moderate to severe most patients require a full brachioplasty which requires an incision from the elbow to the axilla or armpit. 

Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Non-Surgical Options for Sagging Skin

Hello and great question.
While we all (myself included) wish that there was a great non-invasive way to treat sagging skin; currently there is not. ALL of the non-surgical procedures will, at best, improve the skin sag. The best way to fix sagging skin is to surgically remove it. In many ways this is the same as a Tailor. If you wanted excess clothing garments taken in, you would need to have the seam taken it. In saying that, lets look at the different non-invasive options. But, first I want to just make sure that you understand that the non-surgical market is a “buyer-beware” market. If it sounds to good to be true or if medical grade offices don’t offer the treatment…there is a definite reason for it! Alright, back to the non-invasive options:

  • Lasers: Lasers have the ability to improve skin color, texture, and to a very slight degree tighten skin.
  • Peels: Peels have the ability to improve skin color, texture, and to a very slight degree tighten skin. But, peels are chemicals and therefore are not typically used to treat large areas.
  • Dermaroller/Dermapens: These are (relatively) new products that do slightly tighten the skin.

These are the non-surgical mainstays to help tighten the skin. Again, surgical treatment is the definitive way to “treat” or “cure” sagging skin. Non-surgical procedures will improve the sagginess. but it will still be present and noticeable. And remember this is a “buyer-beware” environment with significant “land-mines”.

I hope that helps. Best of luck! 

Matthew J. Nykiel, MD
Ontario Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Treatments for sagging arms

There are basically three treatments for loose skin of the arms.  From least invasive to most invasive, they are:

1.  Working out:  Obviously, this is a non-surgical approach and is valuable for toning up the arms and filling out arms with only minimal loose skin.

2.  Liposuction:  Traditionally, liposuction of the arms was reserved for patients who had more rounded arms with more fat and little loose skin.  With the advent of SmartLipo and SlimLipo, patients with more looseness of their arm skin are now candidates for this approach.  Still, it is fairly limited as to how much it can tighten up the skin and is best used for patients with minimal laxity of the skin.

3. Arm lift surgery:  The trade-off here is that you wind up with a scar that runs from your armpit to your elbow, but it is the only way to eliminate larger amounts of hanging skin from the arms.

Edwin C. Pound, III, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Nonsurgical Vs. Surgical Options for Sagging Arms

                  It’s not unusual for patients who suffer from loose upper arm skin, to fear the scarring that may be associated with brachioplasty. For this reason they often seek non-surgical alternatives to this procedure. A variety of options have been utilized including coolsculpting, laser treatments and exercises in an attempt to tighten loose skin. Unfortunately, none of these alternatives adequately address excess upper arm skin.

                  When sag is mild, liposuction and coolsculpting may have benefit, but in more severe cases they have no impact on loose skin. For this reason, brachioplasty is the only viable alternative for treating severe upper arm skin. If you’re concerned about this problem, consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon who has experience with this procedure is appropriate. This surgeon should be able to help formulate a treatment plan to address your concerns. 

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Non surgical options for shaping arms.

Nonsurgical options for toning the arms come in two flavors. Volume reduction options as well as skin typing options. Like in other areas of the body, these options are limited in their ability to provide your desired results. It is really for a smaller subset of patients.
For example, Coolsculpting can be used to reduce the volume in your arms. This is a good solution for someone who needs a gentle amount of volume reduction, but has a good overlying amount of elastic skin. Other options such as lasers and Ultherapy can be used to tone the skin itself and tightness. However they are not a substitute for skin reduction surgeries such a short scar arm lifts or general arm lifts.
The newest kid on the block is Profound.  It is the only device that is also shown to create elastin in addition to collagen.  You may find that this can further help you reduce the sagginess without undergoing surgery.

Young R. Cho, MD, PhD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Treatment for saggy upper arms

The best non-surgical treatment for the upper arms is exercise. Weight lifting can help tone your muscles, and some people believe that intense cardio exercises can tighten loose skin.

But if you have a lot of loose skin on your upper arms, then you may need an arm lift in order to see a significant improvement. I would be very cautious of any non-invasive gimmicks that promise to tighten your skin.

I suggest you visit with at least one board certified plastic surgeon who specializes in body contouring to discuss your situation in more detail. I hope that helps and wish you all the best!

James Knoetgen, III, MD
Fresno Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Treatment Option

I commend you for seeking options other than having surgery, but if it’s sagging skin, then unfortunately your best option is to have a brachioplasty (arm lift). If it is just excess fat you can try to seek the help of a trainer to increase your fitness routine to tighten and sculpt the area. But if is excess skin that is concerning you, then I highly suggest you seeing a board certified plastic surgeon to possibly combine liposuction and an incision on the inside of your arm to remove the fat and tighten that saggy skin.

I have included a link below that may be of interest to you. Best of luck.

Siamak Agha, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Non surgical treatment for sagging underarms

The best non surgical treatment is to tone and build the muscles around yur arm. I recommend free weights to strengthen the 3 heads of your deltoid muscle, your biceps, and your triceps muscle.

Laurie A. Casas, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Arm lifting surgery and scars

Unfortunately, there are no good nonsurgical treatments for “sagging arms”. Nevertheless, many gimmicks will come and go; the consumer must be wary.

Direct excision of the “sagging” skin and adipose tissue is the only definitive way to improve the appearance of the upper arms. Scarring tends to be a major drawback with this operation (brachiaplasty) and should be considered heavily in the decision-making process by patients.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,486 reviews

Non surgical tightening of upper arm skin

There is only one way to tighten loose skin of the upper arms - surgically remove it.  Occasionally if there is very minimal excess, liposuction can trim the upper arms.  Or if the triceps muscles are very developed, the slight excess skin can be filled out somewhat.  No laser or cream can  improve this area enough to be noticeable or worth the cost

Marialyn Sardo, MD
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.