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How to remove excess skin after weight loss?

1 How to Get Rid of Loose Skin After Weight Loss?

How to Get Rid of Loose Skin After Weight Loss

If you’re dealing with the problem of loose skin, especially after major weight loss, here’s what you can do about it.

Have you busted your butt for months and months to lose weight only to be left with handfuls of ugly loose skin?

Do you want to know once and for all what it takes to tighten this skin and show off that new body you’ve worked so hard for?

If so, then this article is for you!

First, let me say that I understand how frustrating the loose skin problem is. It’s extremely discouraging to feel like you’re doing everything right without getting the results you really desire.

Some people might say to stop worrying about how you look and just be happy with what you’ve got, but I have a hard time with advice like that.

Sure, some people develop unhealthy obsessions with looks and image, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a lean, strong, healthy body that looks and feels great. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that everyone should have that experience.

And so in this article, we’re going to take an in-depth look at the loose skin issue and see what can be done about it.

The Problem isn’t Always Loose or Excess Skin

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While there are legit cases of excess skin after weight loss, what many people think is loose or excess skin is actually just excess body fat, which is soft and jiggly and easily mistaken as skin.

There’s an easy way to tell if you’re dealing with actual loose skin or too much body fat.

Pinch the area you’re concerned with and if you can grab more than a few millimeters of skin, there’s more fat in there to lose.

Until you lose that fat, your skin has no reason to return to its former size and tautness. Remember that skin isn’t a curtain of passive, inert flesh–it’s a living organ that adapts to its internal and external environments. As long as the fat it’s attached to remains, it will sag.

If you’re a man, I wouldn’t consider surgery to deal with loose skin until you’ve hit 10% body fat. If you’re a woman, 20% is the number.

These are the body fat ranges where your subcutaneous fat levels become low enough to accurately assess the state of your skin. And chances are just getting lean enough will resolve the entire problem.

If, however, someone gets to this low level of body fat and his or her skin is almost paper thin and looks like crinkled papyrus, then it truly is a matter of excess skin, and can be dealt with accordingly.

Building Muscle and Reducing Excess Skin

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A big part of tightening loose skin is building muscle. The reason for this is simple.

There are two layers of tissue underneath your skin: fat and muscle, both of which press up against your skin and keep it from sagging loosely.

When you gain a large amount of weight, your skin must expand quite a bit to accommodate the increase in body size. When you lose the fat, however, and especially when you lose it quickly, your skin doesn’t necessarily shrink at the same rate as your fat cells. This imbalance can lead to loose skin.

Furthermore, many people use various forms of starvation dieting as well as large amounts of cardio to lose fat, which also causes significant muscle loss, further expanding the void between the skin and the underlying tissue.

The end result is a reduced body fat percentage but a small, soft physique with sagging skin. The “skinny fat” look, as it’s called.

Building muscle is the solution to all these woes because it literally fills in the looseness in the skin, creating a visibly tighter, healthier look.

This advice applies to both people that have already lost a lot of weight and those that are just beginning. If you’re currently dealing with issues of loose skin, you should start lifting weights. If you’re starting a weight loss regimen, be sure to include weightlifting in it.

 

2 How to Lose Weight Without Having Excess Skin

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If you’re losing a large amount of weight quickly, it’s difficult to avoid excess skin. But slower weight loss of 10 to 20 percent of your body weight minimizes the potential that you’ll have baggy skin once you reach your goal. Lose weight without excess skin by consuming a healthy diet, plenty of water and adding muscle tone. Take your time and lose the weight properly. It took some time for your skin to stretch as you gained weight, so allow the same time — if not more — for your skin to return. Losing the weight too quickly can result in saggy skin that can only be removed through surgery.

Step 1

Lose one to two pounds per week. This realistic time frame provides time for your skin to shrink, and is recommended as the healthy approach by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Step 2

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. The epidermis layer of skin is primarily composed of water. Increasing the fluid content of the skin leads to a greater skin thickness, whereas dehydration causes the skin to lose its elasticity. Staying dehydrated for long periods of time can cause more elasticity to be lost and your skin may not be able to recover.

Step 3

Add resistance training to your workout to help build muscle tone. Losing weight without building muscle will remove any mass between the skin and bone, causing the skin to sag. As you build muscle mass, the skin has something to grab onto, filling the void left by the loss of body weight.

Step 4

Avoid smoking and sun exposure. Both cause skin to lose its elasticity and minimizes its ability to respond to your weight loss.

3 What Happens to Skin When You Gain and Lose Weight

Your body produces a protein called collagen, which provides structure and strength in your bones, tendons, ligaments, and skin.

Collagen plays an important role in your skin’s elasticity. Lack of collagen can mean saggy skin and and droopiness —age (collagen production decreases as you get older), genetics, hydration levels, smoking, and diet all contribute to your levels of collagen.

When you’re overweight, your skin accommodates the extra mass by stretching; when you lose weight — it doesn’t matter whether you lose it quickly or gradually — your skin can lose elasticity, depending on how long you were overweight, and can’t pull back tight around your new and bigger muscles.

The fat mass underneath the skin may be gone, but the surface area remains the same. Think of it like a balloon that you’ve filled taut with air — when you let the air out, the balloon doesn’t just snap back to it’s original form, it’s now a bit stretched out. That’s similar to what happens to your body and skin when you drop a large amount of weight.

4 Can I Tighten Loose Skin After Losing Weight?

The short answer: It’s complicated. If you weren’t overweight for very long, or if your weight gain and subsequent loss wasn’t that big, ramping up your workouts to build muscle and eating healthy, balanced meals can help reduce the appearance of loose skin.

But if your weight loss was fairly extreme and you were overweight for a long time, you’ll probably experience excess folds of skin that you can’t get rid of with any amount of exercise or diet. At a certain point, your skin has been stretched too much for too long and, and it can’t bounce back.

Cross Training Woman Performing DeadliftCan You Tighten Loose Skin After Losing Weight?

5 What Can I Do to Tighten Loose Skin?

Before you go under the knife to rid of extra skin, try building more muscle. One of the best ways to help tighten up that looseness is to fill up the space that used to be occupied by the fat you lost. Hit the weights hard and aim to build muscle, says Steve Csolak, a New York City-based personal trainer.

“Continue building muscles and continue leading a nutritious, lean, and healthy lifestyle for best results,” adds Csolak, who coaches people who suffer from loose skin after significant weight loss.

For your diet, stick to what helped you lose all of the weight — a balanced eating plan with plenty of whole foods. Continue to avoid processed foods and focus on eating whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.

“Focus on eating full meals throughout the day and not snacking. Each meal should consist of at least 20 grams of protein, one to two servings of vegetables, and complex carbohydrates like a sweet potato,” says Liza Scott, R.D., C.I.S.S.N. “Avoid foods and drinks with ‘hidden sugars‘ such as granola bars, snack packs, juices, and any diet sodas.”

When you’re specifically trying to build muscle, it’s important to get enough protein in your diet in order to create new, skin-tightening mass. Your goal should be to consume between .5 and .9 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.

6 Plastic Surgery for Loose Skin

Unfortunately, to get tighter skin beyond what exercise and a healthy diet can help provide, your only other option may be some kind of medical procedure, but the minimally invasive ones like liposuction, still won’t do much for loose skin.

“Thermage [a procedure that uses “radiofrequency energy” to tighten skin] and treatments like cold therapy do a modicum of tightening, but nothing else helps very loose skin, except going under the knife,” says Craig A. Vander Kolk, M.D., director of cosmetic medicine and surgery at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. “The other non-surgical treatments only result in a 10 to 15 percent improvement.”

For a 100-percent effective solution for pounds of saggy skin, you’ll need to get body contouring surgery, says Vander Volk. “Before considering surgery, your weight loss should be stable for a year,” he says, because losing a significant amount of more weight after surgery could result in more loose skin. Look for a doctor who specializes in post-weight loss procedures, and consult with board-certified plastic surgeons until you find the right one.

But if you have just a little bit of loose skin, surgery may result in only a small improvement. Skin surgery should only be considered if you’ve lost significant body fat and kept it off, says Vander Volk.

7 Non-Surgical Ways to Love the Skin You’re In

Depending on how noticeable your loose skin is, you may consider leaving things as they are. There are compression garments and other body-slimming clothing available to help smooth things out, and countless brands include spandex and other stretchy materials in their clothing lines that are comfortable and flattering.

You know what else you can do? Nothing. You put in the hard work and now you’re healthier, stronger, and in better shape. Reframe how you look at that loose skin: It’s not “extra” baggage you’re carrying around; it’s tangible proof that you set a goal and absolutely crushed it.

“It’s a badge of honor that you experienced weight-loss success,” says Csolak. “Have confidence and stay healthy.”

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