And you have achieved your weight loss goals. Congratulations!! However, there is work still left to be completed. Losing a lot of weight can lead to loose and sagging skin. Your skin might not be able to shrink back to its new size as fast as you have lost weight. In addition, it has stretched and worked tirelessly to adjust with your new body shape. While the cells of our skin get lost and are eventually renewed, but with significant weight loss, the skin cells might not be able to cope up with the sudden changes. Hence, additional efforts might be required to tighten this loose skin.
Why Do You Get This Excess Skin After Weight Loss?
There are several factors that could attribute to sagging skin after weight loss. If you have a lot of weight to lose, say 100 pounds or even more, you might have loose hanging skin when you reach your optimum weight. Also, if you have lost a significant amount of weight in a short span, the skin might not be able to shrink to its new size quickly and becomes loose.
People who are obese and later workout to get into shape can be seen with loose and saggy skin. Likewise, pregnant women face the same situation after delivery. It is only because they put on weight during pregnancy gradually but lose weight after delivery abruptly, leading into saggy skin around abdomen.
Will My Loose Skin After Weight Loss Shrink to Normal?
Younger skin is more elastic and tends to shrink fast as compared to aged skin. Your skin’s ability to keep pace with the weight loss also depends on the duration that you have been obese. If you have quickly lost your gained weight, the skin will shrink faster. With dedicated consistent efforts, your loose skin will definitely go back to normal.
[ Read: Home Remedies for Skin Tightening ]
Where Does Loose Skin Occur?
There are certain body parts which end up more with flabby skin. These are the parts where fat accumulation was more prominent. The abdomen and the area below is the most affected by loose hanging skin. Some women experience sagging skin along the arms and the bra line. Thighs, face, and buttocks are some areas that may need tightening after weight loss.
Tips for Tightening The Skin After Weight Loss
Weight training exercises are a great way of building muscle from the loose skin. If the excess fat has been a part of your body for a long time, it will be tougher to tighten the loose skin. The lost fat of the skin can be replaced by building muscles thus reducing the appearance of hanging skin. Holly Wyatt, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Colorado recommends strength training exercises for firmer skin.
If you have loose skin owing to a recent pregnancy, do consult your doctor as he may advise against performing certain exercises. These exercises are meant to manage weight without causing any harm to postpartum health. Moreover, they will help you maintain fitness after delivery.
There is a mixed view about tightening skin with facial exercises. While these are popular, there are no conclusive facts to prove that facial exercises can make the facial skin taut and firm.
However, a study that proved that facial exercise resulted in improved mean (SD) upper cheek fullness and lower cheek fullness at 20 weeks vs baseline (1).
[ Read: Simple Exercises to Lose Weight ]
2. Firming Creams
There are numerous products flooding the market that claim to tighten loose skin. The effect of these firming creams also depends upon the quality of the skin they are being applied on. Loose skin which is in need of hydration responds well to these creams. Regular moisturizing helps to replenish the skin cells and diminishes the fine lines and wrinkles.
Products containing retinoid are proven to be effective in tightening loose skin. They prevent free radical damage and protect collagen, a component that is responsible for skin elasticity. Retinoids also boost collagen production, which promotes skin elasticity, thereby helping the skin to shrink faster to its normal shape.
Studies have confirmed that retinols regulate the cell apoptosis, differentiation and proliferation, thus promote keratinocytes proliferation, strengthen the protective function of the epidermis, restrain transepidermal water loss, protect collagen against degradation and inhibit metalloproteinases activity (2).
Massaging the skin will promote healthy blood circulation, rejuvenate the blood cells and make the skin elastic and supple. You can use nourishing massage oil or a firming cream to massage the affected area. Follow a regular massage regime to keep your skin plump and healthy.
Apart from using your hands for massaging or taking the help of a professional massage expert, there are massage tools available in the market that amplify the effects of the massaging cream.
Studies have confirmed the effectiveness of massage on skin tightening. Research has shown that facial massage is empirically known to be associated with morphological changes, such as improvements in facial sagging (3)
[ Read: Can Aloe Vera Tighten Skin ]
4. Cosmetic Surgery
Body lift surgeries involve tightening loose skin in the body using surgical methods. They are also known as body tuck surgeries. Incisions are made and all the extra fat and skin is removed. Surgeries require patients to be admitted in a hospital followed by some recovery time for the patient.
People opt for surgeries when there is a huge amount of loose skin which does not seem to rectify by other methods. A body lift is a surgery that tightens and lifts the loose skin at different places in the body.
Patients with obesity often have localized pockets of subcutaneous fat resistant to weight loss that also have a negative impact on their body contour and self-image. To address such deformities, body lift is a great solution (4).
Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is the surgery of tightening the abdominal area. Surgeries like thigh lifts, breast lift, arm lift, facelift, and more, are also conducted where the skin of the concerned region is tightened using surgical methods.
We have explored the surgical and non-surgical options for tightening loose skin. Surgeries involve risks and complications and also have certain costs associated with them. Using natural methods of skin tightening by exercising and making lifestyle changes are safe and healthy options of skin tightening.
1. Association of Facial Exercise With the Appearance of Aging-https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5885810/
2. Retinoids: active molecules influencing skin structure formation in cosmetic and dermatological treatments- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6791161/
3. Objective analysis of the effectiveness of facial massage using breakthrough computed tomographic technology: A preliminary pilot study- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35416349/
4. Body Contouring Following Massive Weight Loss-https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6188338/
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