Ask anyone who lost a significant amount of weight; there is a struggle and frustration with loose skin. While it can be mentally draining, this is common with many life-changing fitness journeys.
If you recently lost weight quickly or in large amounts and found this article, let me congratulate you on your weight loss success. Maintaining a healthy weight has become more challenging due to the availability of processed foods and long work hours while sitting.
Unfortunately, losing weight for many is met with another obstacle.
Although you have changed your lifestyle and improved your quality of life, you are now faced with the issue of excess skin. This problem takes away from all the hard work you have put into improving your lifestyle. Loose skin can cause physical and psychological discomfort. Loose skin can be a cosmetic issue for some people, but there are ways to manage it without surgery. This article discusses some of those methods.
Factors Affecting Loose Skin
Many factors affect the amount and location of loose skin on your body, including the rate and amount of weight loss, age, areas where you often store fat, and the amount of fat-free muscle mass. As you might expect, the amount of loose skin on your body is generally proportional to the speed and magnitude of weight loss.
As you age, your skin’s elasticity decreases, which may cause it to sag after significant weight loss. Even healthy individuals may experience saggy skin to varying degrees.
Excess skin after weight loss is most likely to appear in the areas where you previously stored the majority of your fat. This typically includes the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, and upper arms, as well as the chest, neck, and face in some cases. The fat-free muscle mass you have also influenced the amount of loose skin present in your body after a significant weight loss.
Those with less muscle mass may see more loose skin, although this can vary depending on the person.
Using Surgery To Managing Loose Skin After Weight Loss
As mentioned above, loose skin is not something we can typically diet away. In extreme cases, the only way to remove it may be to have a removal surgery from a trained medical professional, preferably a plastic surgeon specializing in weight loss surgery. In the plastic surgery community, skin removal is classified as part of a body-contouring procedure.
The four most common body-contouring procedures are breast lifts, lower body lifts (including belly, buttocks, groin, and outer thighs), upper arm lifts, and thigh lifts.
A breast lift, or mastopexy, is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and tightens the surrounding tissue to raise the breasts. A breast lift may also incorporate implanted materials to improve the shape of the breast. A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and typically involves the restoration of weak or separated muscles in the abdominal region.
An upper arm lift or Brachioplasty removes the downward-drooping excess skin, improves muscle tone, and removes any excess fat in the upper arm region. A thigh lift procedure removes excess skin from both the inner and outer thighs and tightens the surrounding area’s skin. The common theme across all of these body-contouring procedures is the removal of excess skin to smooth the appearance and enhance the appearance of the underlying muscle tone.
Most insurance plans do not cover these procedures since they are considered cosmetic, so you may have to pay for them yourself.
Many surgeons also offer body lifts, which remove the skin from multiple body parts. This is typically cheaper than getting a body contouring procedure on each body part separately. These costs usually include surgeon fees, material costs, operating room costs, anesthesia costs, medications, post-surgical compression devices, and follow-up appointments.
The surgery is not cheap, so it is essential to research the risks and benefits and find a surgeon you trust. The recovery process can be harsh on the body, so it is necessary to embrace it.
Choose not to have skin removal surgery for financial, moral, or other personal reasons. You can use some tips and tricks to lessen loose skin’s psychological and physical impact. The first approach involves making no additional material changes to your body and wearing loose-fitting clothing.
While form-fitting clothing may be flattering and highlight the new physique you’ve worked so hard to build, it also calls attention to loose skin. While you may be swimming in double extra-large t-shirts now, don’t jump right into purchasing a wardrobe full of medium size shirts as they may call attention to the loose skin hanging around your belly and arms.
Shop for shirts that flatter the physique and are roomy in the midsection. Avoid purchasing slim-fit jeans as they may highlight the excess skin around the hip and thigh area.
Regular or relaxed fit pants complimenting your slimmer waist without cutting off circulation to your lower extremities will draw attention to the leaner you without highlighting the loose skin. You may have difficulty finding clothing with that ideal fit, but support your local tailor if possible.
As an expert in custom clothing alterations, a tailor can help you highlight your individual physique. Form-flattering clothing can provide a significant psychological boost and show off your hard work.
Improving Body Composition With Strength Training & Fitness
The most important technique for managing loose skin without surgery is to fill out your frame with fat-free muscle mass. You have worked hard to lose weight through diet and exercise, but now you are left with loose skin. Likely, those who lost most of their fat using high cardiovascular activity and little to no resistance training have low amounts of muscle mass.
Building muscle is an effective way to fill out some remaining space after significant fat loss. Firstly, losing 50 pounds of fat will not result in gaining 50 pounds of muscle. Muscle mass density is denser than fat mass, so the loose skin on your body will not be completely filled out.
Second, it is essential to set realistic expectations. For 99.9% of natural male and female trainees, it is unrealistic to build 50 pounds of muscle mass in a short period (<3 years), except in extenuating circumstances. However, you will be pleasantly surprised with how the newly acquired lean mass improves your skin’s elasticity, tightness, and shapeliness, particularly in areas where the loose skin is relatively minor.
Working on building size, strength, and tone won’t completely eliminate the appearance of loose skin, but it may improve the appearance of your physique without surgery. Furthermore, exercising and increasing muscle mass have been linked with slowing the progression of degenerative diseases, increasing lifespan, and resilience to injury.
Creams, Gels, and Body Wraps
Another non-invasive technique commonly discussed for managing excess skin is skin-tightening creams, gels, and body wraps. Creams and gels that promise to increase skin tightness and firmness typically include elastin, collagen, sunscreen, vitamin A, exfoliants, and antioxidants.
Many skin care products come in small tubes or tubs. While they may be advertised as effective, they are better at draining your bank account. Many people are under the impression that the body wraps being advertised online, on television, and through social media are the perfect solution. However, this is not the case. Body wraps are marketed as an easy way to lose weight, and these claims are often unsubstantiated. The results are temporary at best.
Although these products may make your skin feel tight, like aloe vera does when applied to a sunburn, they will not burn any additional fat or zap the excess skin. Don’t get me wrong; proper skin care is critical. Applying moisturizer when we step out of the shower and sunscreen to exposed body parts every time is healthy.
These creams are preventative measures against saggy skin due to aging and skin cancer due to excess sun exposure, including using sunscreen and limiting time in the sun. Although many skin care products are on the market, there is not currently a product that can significantly tighten excess skin.
These gimmicky creams, gels, and body wraps are not worth your time, money, or frustration. Your body and wallet will thank you for avoiding them.
However, that does not mean you should not try one if a health professional advises you to.