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Lift Sagging and Wrinkling Knees

March 10, 2016 Reviewed by Marta 5 Comments

Kninkles anyone? Yes, that’s knee wrinkles according the UK’s Daily Mail which then went on to unkindly spotlight the sagging knees of Gwyneth Paltrow. And unfairly, since they looked OK to me, especially when compared to some other actresses I won’t mention (see the post on how to get rid of knee wrinkles for a clue) and for that matter my own. Although I have to say that a year’s obsession with my knees has paid off and my legs are pretty short-skirt worthy these days, thanks to a regimen for elbowing out sagging knees. For the bee’s knees read on.

Build Muscle

Weak at the knees? Well there is a good reason for that. Above the knee is a muscle called the VMO (vastus medialis obliquus), part of the quadricep and just above and inside the knee cap. Keeping it strong and well padded is the best trick to not only keeping knee sag at bay, but also refirming what might look like a lost cause. Simple exercises such as squats or walking lunges are easy and fast. Just 20 a day will have a significant impact over time.

The best thing ever is bar exercise. My favorite is the Bar Method Accelerated Workout ($20). No bar needed, grab the back of a chair and do plie squats, amongst other thigh-chiseling and leg-shaping exercises, will have your knees firm and sculpted in a matter of weeks (regular Bar Method routines are extremely efficient).

You can also firm sagging skin above the knee with ultrasonic. I use the Truth Vitality Lux Renew ($279 in the shop) and find that ultrasonic and infrared LED modes are great for firming the skin above the knee.


Sagging knees are bad enough, but mine were also rough and red as though I’d been earning my living on them. The skin on the knees is thicker than elsewhere to help protect the joints, but it can start to look like elephant hide. I found that a good exfoliating AHA treatment really helps if used regularly. My treatment of choice is Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pad for Body ($28 in the shop), which doubles as a self-tanner with a vitamin D active. Additionally, if you’re using any of the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peels for your face, you can give your knees and elbows a swipe to get the most out of each use.

I’m also a big fan of exfoliating lotions to help keep the skin below my neck smooth and soft. Arcona Pumpkin Lotion 10% ($35) is formulated with pumpkin and glycolic acids (those trusty AHAs again) to rejuvenate all over. Brighten and correct rough, patchy skin with Sweetsation Lumi*Essence Body Organic Advanced Brightening Repair Treatment ($48 in the shop), fortified with vitamin C and kojic acid.

If you need some heavy-duty exfoliation, it’s best to implement a scrub or tool to supplement your routine. Jenetiqa’s Maple and Sugar Polishing Scrub ($30) is a heavenly scented scrub that smoothes and firms using a blend of antioxidants including ubiquinol. Stemulation Micro Derm Scrub ($34 in the shop) exfoliates using malic acid and powdered diatomaceous earth. Finally, if you need to bust out the heavy duty artillery, try Trophy Skin Microderm MD ($299 in the shop) a microdermabrasion tool that can be used all over, just don’t forget to change the filter!

Moisturize with the Heavy Stuff

Strangely and frustratingly, conventional body lotions are rarely emollient enough for knees and elbows (and if they are then they are so thick and gloopy that I fear getting dressed). I reserve the richest cream possible for my knees – I like Pure Glam Peppermint Grapefruit Hand and Foot Repair ($28) and give my saggier parts an extra lift with Jenetiqa Firm Up Body and Hands Firming Cream ($28). Another ultra-hydration option is Sciote Body Firming Lotion ($40),which also improves the appearance of cellulite. Don’t be fooled by the names, these lotions can be used all over.

And if you really want to give yourself the ultimate in body care then go for Stemulation Relance Body Lotion ($98 in the shop). It is one of the most rewardingly hydrating body lotions and even has growth factors as well as some excellent botanicals to tell those kninkles who really is the boss around here.

See Truth In Aging's Five Best recommendations, including Five Best for Sagging Skin, Five Best for Boosting Collagen and Five Best for Body.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published July 2013 and has since been updated.

  • March 10, 2016

    by Trista

    Seriously? Wrinkling knees? We don 't have more important things to worry about?

  • December 5, 2014

    by Marta

    Hi Ginger, I can't think of a retinol that is good value enough. But honestly, I think the Arcona Pumpkin with 10% glycolic is as good as it gets and I religiously use it for my knees and elbows.

  • December 4, 2014

    by GINGER

    Hi Marta,

    What about retin-a or its derivatives for knees and elbows? Any advice?


  • July 8, 2013

    by sam

    What about sagging arms

  • July 3, 2013

    by June

    Thank you so much for this article. For many years I have been secretly complaining about my saggy wrinkled knees. They depressed me so much that I
    haven't worn a dress in years. Now after reading this, maybe there's hope.

    Now, what about the saggy excess skin on elbows. (yuck) - especially after 60.

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