Believe it or not, one of the fears that holds women back from losing weight is having loose skin. This can definitely happen to anyone and it can be very pronounced on those who lose over 50 lbs. That being said, you should not let fear of loose skin stop you from losing weight.
We want to share some tips with you may help lessen the development of loose skin during weight loss, but there is no fool proof way to avoid it or cure it completely. Again… most people who have been very overweight (obese) for a number of years who achieve significant weight loss experience loose skin.
There are some cases where surgery may actually be needed to remove loose skin, but even so, by following these suggestions you may be able to minimize the effects of loose skin. The goal is to keep your skin toned and healthy.
Exercise isn’t just about burning calories and toning muscle. It’s about creating firmer skin. Muscle takes up much less room than fat. One of the biggest myths about women and weight lifting is that it will cause you to “bulk up.” Unless you are getting into competitive bodybuilding, it will have the opposite effect. Muscle is more dense than fat and takes up less room, so the body appears more toned.
The key to using exercise to reduce loose skin is to work the whole body and not just target specific areas. This allows your muscles to begin supporting each other and as they grow. Thus, you become leaner and your body shape improves. Exercise can also help with cellular health, allow your skin cells to begin to rejuvenate themselves and clearing out old toxins.
Lose weight slowly to reduce loose skin
While the idea of dropping 30 pounds in 6 weeks is hugely appealing, but it will almost guarantee the appearance of lose skin on your body. Weight loss should rarely exceed 1-2 pounds per week. When you first start an exercise and diet regimen, you may lose more but it will quickly taper off. This weight loss rate reflects that your lifestyle is changing in a sustainable way and that your body is beginning to redefine itself in a manner that is inclusive of all the parts of you needed for healthy living. You want your fat stores to diminish while your muscles fibers strengthen and your cardio and lymphatic system become stronger. All of this is surrounded and held by your skin and your skin cells need time to adjust to the new shape beneath them.
Age and skin elasticity are a factor
How old you are and the level of skin elasticity you have retained are going to be a huge factor in how much control you have over developing loose skin. With age, we lose collagen and the loss of estrogen also affects our skin cell structure. There isn’t a magic age where you are guaranteed to NOT have loose skin if you lose weight, but after 35 you should look into adding to a diet and exercise regimen certain supplements and hydration habits that help to support skin elasticity. Vitamins A, E, and D all help support healthy skin cells through supporting collagen and elastin production. You should also consider skin creams that feature Aloe as more studies support this as an effective agent in skin care. All of these have proven to help tighten loose skin.
Hydration and sun exposure
Not getting enough water on a regular basis often is a contributing cause to loose skin that will not go away. When you do not hydrate yourself enough and on a regular basis, your body begins to hoard water leading to water weight gain. This water weight puts strain on your skin and keeps it stretched out. A large part of maintaining proper hydration is managing your exposure to the sun as well. The sun can seriously damage the integrity of your skin. Some women make the mistake of tanning because it “makes their skin feel tighter.” It makes the skin feel tighter because it is dehydrating and damaging the skin cells. If you are concerned about loose skin, avoid too much sun exposure – but don’t avoid it all. Exposure to the sun remains the body’s best way to take in valuable Vitamin D.
Sometimes surgery is the only solution
Like it or not, surgery is sometimes the only way to get rid of loose skin. Genetics can play a factor in the generation of loose skin and even if you weren’t morbidly obese, you may have a hard time losing weight and keeping taut skin. There are several different procedures, all related to liposuction that can be performed. Talk to your doctor about your options if this appears to be the only solution for you.