Loose Skin after Weight Loss: Why It Happens and What to Do about It

by | August 15, 2013 | 5 Comments

For many people, the joy of watching the number on the scale and the size of their clothing go down gets overshadowed by the presence of loose skin. Not only can your skin get loose and saggy after extreme weight loss, your body can maintain the same shape it had before your weight loss efforts. The image in the mirror, while smaller, appears to change little all the while your skin loses shape and elasticity. Fortunately there are ways you can combat loose skin while dieting.

loose skin after weight lossWhy Do People Have Loose Skin after Weight Loss?

Your skin is an amazing organ with the ability to expand and contract along with your growth spurts and changing body. This ability is called elasticity and it is at the heart of the factors that contribute to loose skin. You see, once elasticity is gone, your skin loses its ability to shrink back – much like a worn out rubber band that refuses to recoil. Following are just a few things that can affect your skin’s elasticity:

  • Obesity – If you are considered obese, your skin has stretched considerably. Those who need to lose 100 lbs. or more in order to reach their goal weight can expect some lose skin.
  • Time – the amount of time you have been overweight also has some bearing on how loose your skin will be once you lose the weight. The longer your skin remains in a stretched-out position, the harder it will be for it to snap back.
  • Age – As we age, we lose elasticity – it’s what causes wrinkles. Younger skin has more ability to shrink back after weight loss than older skin.

So, some of these factors can not be affected that much.  This is why many people have to have surgery after losing large amounts of weight.  It’s just a fact.  However, you should never let loose skin stop you from losing weight.  Being obese or overweight and dealing with weight related health issues is not worth the vanity.  Your health is more important than some loose skin.

How to Minimize Loose Skin during Weight Loss

As mentioned before, there are several things you can do to minimize loose skin during weight loss. While you may not be able to avoid loose skin altogether, you can surely improve your skin’s ability to retract.

  1. Lose weight slowly – Sustaining a gradual weight loss of approximately 1-2 pounds per week will go a long way in preventing loose skin. You see, it takes time for your skin to contract. When you lose weight quickly, your skin has no time to catch up.
  2. Consume plenty of protein and good fats – Your skin, hair, and nails are made up of protein. Eat plenty of it to alleviate loose skin.  Collagen is a protein that is related to this in the body.  The issue is that if you aren’t eating right and your body starts to cannibalize the protein in your body…it could eat up or hinder the production of collagen that you need for skin elasticity.  It’s also important to include healthy oils in your diet to keep the skin flexible and as healthy as possible.
  3. Get a weekly or monthly massage –  Massages improve circulation to the skin and helps skin retract. Getting a massage also helps alleviate cellulite – another unsightly issue that occurs during weight loss.
  4. Take a multivitamin or monitor the vitamins you are eating – For good skin health, you need vitamin C, E, A, B-complex and K.  Iron, selenium and zinc are also minerals you’d want to get the recommended amount of.
  5. Don’t be afraid of weights – Weight training will help to reshape and redefine the body.  Muscle also burns fat at rest.  Adding some muscle definition and muscle tone will help to redefine your body so that it doesn’t appear that you have just deflated.

In addition to these tips, it’s vital to remain hydrated. All of your body’s organs, including your skin, need water in order to function properly. If you stay hydrated, lose weight slowly, follow a balance diet, and make efforts to increase your skin circulation, you can greatly diminish the amount of loose skin you will have after you lose all the weight. In cases of extreme weight loss, however, it often becomes necessary to surgically remove excess skin when it becomes apparent that it isn’t going to bounce back into shape.

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Category: Weight Loss Advice, Wellness and Health

Comments (5)

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  1. Mindful says:

    I will also add gelatin, mineral scrubs, aloe vera gel and coconut.

  2. Raynetta Manees says:

    I have lost over 100 lbs. and have a problem with loose skin. I’m 62 and had been obese all of my adult life, so I have all the factors you list as being retardants to skin “snapping back.” I’m wondering about these “skin firming” lotions. Would they help? I’d like to avoid surgery if I can. Thanks, Raynetta Manees, Author of ALL FOR LOVE.

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