How to Tighten Skin After Weight Loss

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Losing a significant amount of weight can have countless health benefits for your heart, hormones, and body in general. However, it has a side effect of loose skin. Many people who have successfully lost large amounts of weight, often 100 pounds or more, can find themselves loose, uncomfortable and frustrating. Fortunately, there are ways to manage and treat sagging skin with lifestyle changes, non-invasive treatments, and surgery.

Verywell / Jessica Olah

What causes loose skin?

Loose skin after weight loss is the result of a number of contributing factors. Our skin is partly made up of proteins called collagen and elastin fibers. These proteins give the skin its firmness and allow the skin to return to its correct position after being stretched. When the skin is stretched for a long time, collagen and elastin fibers are damaged. After weight loss, your skin may lack the proteins it needs to return to its original shape. The skin loses its firmness and tends to just cling to the body.

In addition to the loss of elastin and collagen, the makeup of the collagen remaining in the skin also changes. After weight loss, our skin contains less collagen and its composition is also different from collagen in young, healthy skin. The makeup on your skin is also determined by other factors such as your age, smoking history, general health, and family history.

Side effects from loose skin

Many people have achieved terrible weight loss results without having to worry about their excess skin and never needing treatment. However, this excess skin can also become irritated and even infected.

As excess skin folds on its own, it rubs against each other and cracking can occur. This can lead to an itchy and painful rash. Loose skin can also lead to infection. As the loose skin folds on its own, it can be difficult to clean each fold thoroughly. Bacteria can build up and overgrow, causing an infection. If your skin is slightly cracked and torn, an infection can enter your body.

Having excess skin on your body can cause pain and discomfort, especially when you’re trying to exercise.This is especially problematic for people who have just lost weight because exercise is a key ingredient in helping them maintain weight loss. A 2013 study found that women who had loose skin after an episiotomy reported that their skin was a barrier to physical activity.This is because excess skin makes exercise uncomfortable, in addition to causing discomfort when receiving unwanted glances and attention during activity. The shyness of running or going to the gym because of loose skin prevents many people from exercising.

Even if your loose skin doesn’t cause any health problems, you may be bothered by the way it looks. Studies have found that excess skin can negatively impact your quality of life, self-esteem, and body image.

Treatment at home

There are some simple, healthy habits you can try at home to tackle loose skin. While home treatments can help you make small improvements to the look and feel of your skin, they won’t completely address the cause of your sagging skin or fix it completely. problem. Losing a significant amount of weight often results in more skin than lifestyle changes can handle. For this reason, many people turn to medical treatment for help.

Do exercise

Physical activity and strength training routines can help you maintain your weight loss and build strong muscles. This will help improve sagging skin as the new muscles can help plump it up. After losing weight, you don’t have much body fat left to fill your skin. By building lean muscle through strength training, you’ll be able to add muscle while keeping excess weight off.


Another way to improve loose skin is your diet. Eating a diet rich in lean protein can help you avoid muscle loss and build new muscle. Eating protein after strength training is especially helpful for building muscle. Next, rinse off all that healthy protein with plenty of water. Well-moisturized skin is more elastic and flexible than dehydrated skin. Unless otherwise directed by your healthcare provider, try to drink about 64 to 100 ounces of water per day.

Compression clothing

Wearing compression clothing can help prevent some of the side effects of loose skin. Compression stockings and other clothing help hold loose skin together to minimize friction in skin-to-skin contact. This can help reduce pain, irritation, itching, and the risk of infection. However, compression clothing will not improve loose skin, only side effects.

Firming cream

A quick Internet search or scouring drugstore shelves will reveal a number of firming creams and over-the-counter products that promise to tighten and tighten the skin. Unfortunately, these claims have not been substantiated by research and natural or herbal remedies do not need to prove their safety or effectiveness in order to be sold. Always check with your healthcare provider before trying a new skin product.

Medical treatment

As slimming and weight loss surgeries become more common, so too have procedures to address excess skin that may be caused by them. Once you’ve achieved your weight loss and maintenance goals, talk to your healthcare provider about the right medical treatment to address sagging skin.

Body contouring surgery

Body contouring surgery, performed by a plastic surgeon, involves removing excess skin and fat from the body. The surgeon will also work to improve the shape of the remaining tissue, giving your body a smoother appearance. There are several types of body contouring surgery depending on where your excess skin is and how much you want it removed, including:

  • Abdominoplasty (abdominoplasty)
  • Panniculectomy (surgical removal of the skin)
  • Arm lift (arm shaping)
  • Breast augmentation
  • Lower body lift
  • Thigh lift

To perform body contouring surgery requires general anesthesia and usually spends a night in the hospital. When you go home from the hospital, you may need surgery to drain excess fluid for several weeks, as well as wear compression clothing. Recovery can take several months, but most people start to feel better after about four weeks.

Body contouring surgery may be right for you if you can maintain a healthy weight and don’t face any major health problems. Non-smokers had better results, as did people who made healthy habits like diet and exercise a part of their lives.

Other medical procedures

If you want to avoid surgery to correct loose skin, there are other options. VelaShape and ThermiTight are non-invasive and minimally invasive body contouring procedures that can help even out skin tone. These procedures may be appropriate if you have little excess skin to remove:

  • VelaShape uses radio frequency, infrared light and suction to massage subcutaneous fat cells. This process aims to stimulate the growth of new collagen and elastin, giving your skin more flexibility and clarity.
  • ThermiTight uses radiofrequency delivered to your cells through a catheter. The procedure heats your subcutaneous tissue to a safe temperature and causes it to contract and contract. Results usually take about three to four months to show.

It is important to wait to address excess skin until you have reached a stable weight and have maintained it for a while. Otherwise, if you continue to lose weight after body contouring, you will most likely have to repeat the process because of additional loose skin.Experts recommend waiting up to 18 months after vaginal surgery and six months of maintaining a healthy weight before considering body contouring procedures.

A very good word

Having to deal with excess skin after reaching your weight loss goal can leave you feeling frustrated and depressed. It is helpful to remember that there are several treatment options, with body contouring surgery being the most effective. To determine which treatment is right for you, talk to your healthcare provider and make a plan. You’ve done the hard work to lose weight; Now enjoy your new health and body.

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