I received an e-mail from a reader asking ways to get rid of loose skin after huge weight loss. Unwanted loose sagging skin not only remind him of former shape, but also not nice to be seen. After doing some research and talking to others who have gone through similar challenge, let’s see what I have got for this issue:
- How long you have been carrying that excess weight may determine how much the skin will resume tight appearance. Just imagine a 9-month pregnancy and a 9 years of carrying 80 excess pounds. In this case, the fat at the trouble spots may have caused the skin to take on shape that may be hard to change. The older you are and the longer you have been overweight, the less elastic you skin becomes. So, the earlier you lose your weight gradually, the higher chance you can prevent your skin becoming loose. So, don’t keep putting off your weight loss program. Don’t wait for year end to make a new resolution. Start it early.
- When I ask you to lose weight, don’t try to lose all tomorrow. Rapid weight loss within short period may not allow your skin enough time to slowly resume its tightness. Lose weight gradually. It is easier this way for your skin to keep pace with your new shape. Do not go for those crash diets. Not only they may do harm to your body in terms of nutrients, but you may end up having loose skin. As a rule of thumb, do not lose more than 2 pounds a week. Take your time. No worry, skin is elastic. If you look at pregnant women, you probably have noticed the skin has expanded then contracted significantly after giving birth.
- Find out about your body fat percentage. For example, after huge weight loss, an obese man may have lost by 15% body fat from 35% to 20% body fat. At this stage, it is still difficult to identify what loose skin is. This man should still lose more body fat. Over time, skin will gradually tighten up, at least partially, after one or two year period where the weight loss is maintained and exercise continued. So, when you thought that you have “loose skin”, that “skin” may actually is body fat.
- When you lose weight, you will lose body fat and most likely, muscles too. Therefore, it is important to incorporate strength training to preserve or to build muscles at the spot you have lose fat. Because muscle is compact and has more defined structure, you will have better body shape and reduce the appearance of flabby skin. For example, doing crunches for will give you a better looking abs.
- Some people reduce their fluid intake during dieting hoping it will prevent water retention. Do not do that. Not only your body more likely to hang on to the water it has, you may lose your skin tone and elasticity if you are dehydrated. Keep your skin hydrated by drinking sufficient water. Water is always a better choice compared with coffee and soda.
- Skin care products on their own are not able to prevent and reverse the loose skin after weight loss. However, they can help if you are doing the things I mentioned above. Those have essential nutrients slow down the damage caused by the sun and may promote collagen production in the skin. Collagen is responsible for skin tone and tension.
- After much effort, in the event you have managed to shed much fat until having only single digit of body fat percentage, if the loose skin still remains, then only you should consider surgical skin removal which is the last option. Tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is one of the popular cosmetic surgery to give patient a flat abs by tightening inner girdle. Surgery is not for every one. After all, it involves anesthesia, recovery time and scarring.
As much as we want to get rid of loose or saggy skin, we need to be realistic. As we age, skin elasticity weakens. Also, do not expect your skin bounce back to its original shape. If you can get 80% close to the initial shape, it is good enough.
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