If You Are Wondering How To Tighten Skin After Weight Loss These 5 Tips Can Help You Improve The Appearance Of Your Skin And Get Rid Of This Problem
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You may dream of having a tighter, more toned figure while you work hard to shed a few pounds. But if you end up with saggy skin after a significant amount of weight loss, youre bound to feel a tad upset. Losing weight to manage obesity can considerably decrease your chance of developing various diseases. However, it sometimes leads to loose skin.
This is a pretty common side effect of weight loss. In fact, up to 70 percent of those who undergo bariatric surgery may also experience it, according to a review published by PubMed Central and the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Even though this can be normal and not an indication of a concern, it can nonetheless be uncomfortable and make your skin appear older. So, how to tighten skin after weight loss? Lets find out.
Health Shots spoke to Dr Rinky Kapoor, Consultant Dermatologist, Cosmetic Dermatologist and Dermato-Surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics, to suggest some best ways to overcome this skin issue due to weight loss.
Dr Kapoor says, Apart from the cosmetic factors, maintaining a healthy weight also brings with it many health benefits such as good heart and metabolism and a glowing skin. There is only one side effect of losing weight and that is loose and dull skin.
What Are The Surgical Options
Surgery for removing excess skin, also called skin excision, or body contouring should be performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon. These procedures involve large incisions, so patients are generally put to sleep using general anesthesia.
The extent of the procedure, and the recovery time needed, depends on the body parts involved. Common surgeries for skin excision focus on the abdominal area , the upper arms , thighs, breasts , face, and neck. Some patients opt for a full “lower body lift,” Dr. Malin said, which tightens the skin around the thighs and buttocks with an incision that runs around the waist.
Skin excisions that involve larger incisions, especially those around the midsection, may require several days in the hospital. On the other hand, a patient undergoing an arm lift could be sent home that same day. Body contouring procedures could also fall under either circumstance, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
“The recovery time for an arm lift includes compression garments and limited activitylifting no more than 20 pounds, for example,” Dr. Malin said. Most skin incisions take six to eight weeks to heal, and doctors and patients should follow up closely with each other during this time.
Doctors also won’t perform more than one or two skin excision surgeries at one time, so someone who’s lost weight all over may need multiple surgeries, months or even years apart, to remove all of the excess skin that’s bothering them.
Medical And Surgical Options For Tightening Loose Skin
If you are interested in exploring medical options for tightening loose skin, its best to consult with a board-certified specialist who can advise you on which of several available procedures might be best for your needs. Todays procedures range from noninvasive to surgical, Dr. Shafer says, with less invasive options generally recommended for people with small areas of skin to address.
If you are considering any treatment for loose skin, consult with a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, or a dermatologist certified by the American Board of Dermatology. At your appointment, be sure to ask who performs the treatment: It should either be the doctor or a certified technician under direct supervision of the doctor.
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If Excess Skin Is Interfering With Your Life Then Its Time To Consider Plastic Surgerywith The Input Of Multiple Medical Professionals
After major weight loss, people may have skin that hangs off their body, Engelman says. These heavy folds can cause health problems such as pain, inflammation, and frequent infections from the skin constantly rubbing together. This can happen while exercising or during everyday activities. When a person is having functional issues because of their excess skin, it should be a sign that this problem needs to be addressed. And, of course, everyones journey is different.
Lancer says some individuals will tolerate moderate laxity and be happy with the weight loss accomplishment others will seek out skin tightening for as little as a five-pound weight loss . But, he says, if plastic surgery does become the option on the table, I would recommend getting at least three opinions from doctors who exclusively do excess body skin reduction. Once you select a doctor, do one small area on your body, so you can evaluate the procedure, how your body heals, and your results. Afterward, you can determine whether youd like to proceed with a full-blown larger procedure.
Last Resort: Surgery And/or Non
Not many people enjoy medical procedures, but if all the above weight loss methods arent giving the desired results and it is important to figure out how to lose belly fat overnight, looking into these procedures, such as body sculpting or liposuction, may help in attaining the desired goal.
Body contouring or non-surgical fat removal, involves devices that send sound, heat, or cold waves through the skin to destroy fat cells. There are a multitude of procedures available, but each type is strictly for targeted areas of fat and can take several sessions.
Alternatively, liposuction is a minimally invasive surgery that strategically removes fat cells from certain areas of the body that tend to hold onto fat like the upper thighs and lower abdomen. This procedure can be completed during one surgery, but is also not meant for removal of excessive amounts of fat.
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Can Excess Skin Removal Take Place At The Same Time As Another Weight Loss Surgery
No. Excess skin removal surgeries can only take place after bariatric surgery. A plastic surgeon cant remove the excess skin until you lose the extra weight. It may take one to two years to achieve your goal weight after bariatric surgery. You also need to maintain that weight loss for at least six months before getting body contouring procedures.
Also, two different types of surgeons perform these procedures:
- Bariatric surgeons perform weight loss procedures like gastric bypass and gastric sleeve.
- Plastic surgeons perform body contour procedures.
You may have heard that you can have liposuction and body contouring, such as a tummy tuck, at the same time. Liposuction can help remove stubborn fat deposits, but it isnt a weight loss surgery. Your surgeon can discuss if a combined procedure is right for you.
Skin Elasticity Is Dependent On Two Primary Factors: Age And Genetics But Lifestyle Choices Matter Too
Typically, younger patients with thicker and more sebaceous skin will have more skin contraction during weight loss due to better elasticity, Devgan says. Starting in the 20s, tissue elasticity begins to decline. Even in the absence of weight fluctuation, loss of tissue turgor and decreased firmness can be seen in midface descent in the late 20s, breast laxity in the 30s, abdominal laxity in the 40s, and extremity laxity in the 50s.
However, everyones body is different, Devgan says. There is a tremendous amount of variability in the human experience, so some patients may lose 50 pounds with minimal change in their body, while others can lose as few as 10 and see tissue laxity. If you are genetically blessed with unusually superb tissue elasticity, Devgan says, it can be less dramatic.
Also, lifestyle choices can factor in, as well, Boston-based dermatologist Ranella Hirsch says. How long were you at the weight you started losing from? Are you a smoker? Do you spend a lot of unprotected time in the sun? All these factors play into skin elasticity.
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Is It True That Moderate Weight Loss Prevents Sagging Skin
Slowly lose weight Because the body does not have enough time to react to the new changes, rapid weight loss might result in loose skin. Your skin has time to adjust and shrink at a healthy rate when you lose weight slowly. To preserve healthy skin, most experts recommend dropping no more than 2 pounds every week.
Is It Possible To Tighten Loose Skin Without Surgery
Sadly, probably not. Nonsurgical methods that help tighten the skin will generally not be effective enough to tighten the amount of loose skin that occurs with massive weight loss, says Dr. Chen.
For instance, abdominal binders can help relieve back pain but do nada for skin. Compression garments can be worn to hold in excess skin, but they also wont do anything to effect more long-term change.
Dr. Shah says that if you have small amounts of loose skin, then devices like Bodytite and Renuvion, both of which are minimally invasive body-contouring technologies, may help. The best results come from surgery by far, he says.
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How To Avoid Loose Skin After You Lose Weight
When planning for your weight loss journey, the thought of having loose skin can make the entire idea less appealing. Having toned arms, a flat belly, a firm butt, higher energy levels, and a well-defined body in exchange for loose skin in your thighs, arms or stomach doesn’t feel like a good trade-off and definitely isn’t what you had in mind when you decided to lose weight.
Is there a way to prevent loose skin after losing weight? That’s one question people ask before embarking on a weight loss journey. The good news? There is a way. Although its not possible to completely avoid loose skin after a huge weight loss, there are various steps and procedures that can make a difference.
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Unexpected Side Effects After Weight Loss
Reed started experiencing severe neck pain. She went to multiple healthcare providers, receiving various prescription medications, but nothing was helping. No healthcare provider could figure out exactly what was wrong, she said, and they started looking at her like it was all in her head.
“There were times when I didn’t know if I would wake up the next day because I was in so much pain,” explained Reed,
Then she had an epiphany.
“One day, we were in the bathroom, and my husband stood behind me and lifted my stomach. So, for the first time, I could see what I would look like if my stomach wasn’t covering my hips and everything else,” recalled Reed. “That was the first time that I didn’t feel the neck pain and all of the pain I had been feeling for months.”
She couldn’t believe she hadn’t thought of that before, but she had never heard anyone talk about the pain that comes with loose skin. Reed explained that people typically focus on the vanity of losing weight, not the complications that can come with it.
Her struggle with her skin didn’t stop there. Sometimes it felt so heavy that her arms would numb from holding it up.
Regardless of what others thought, Reed recalled knowing that she had every right to be proud of her body.
“I would rather have 10 times more skin than I have now than be 485 pounds back on my deathbed where I wasn’t able to do anything, such as even go to that theme park,” noted Reed.
Can Compression Garments Help Loose Skin
You must have already seen compression garments in the market that claim to take care of loose skin. However, keep in mind that they do not improve loose skin but only minimize the cosmetic side effects of loose skin. It can help reduce irritation, pain, itching, and the risk of infection but doesnt tighten the skin.
Discuss with your cosmetic surgeon about the right treatment for maintaining weight loss and preventing and treating loose skin.
If You Want To Try To Reduce Loose Skin From Major Weight Loss Lose The Weight Slowly
Losing weight gradually rather than rapidly may prevent excess skin after major weight loss, Los Angelesbased dermatologist Harold Lancer says. However, rapid large-scale weight loss will invariably result in excess skin. Devgan seconds that. The best way to prevent skin laxity after weight loss is to do your best to lose weight at a slow and steady pace, she says. Although it may sound appealing to get to the finish line quickly, that is actually the worst thing you can do in terms of skin laxity. Slowly losing weight, she says, allows the skin to contract and shrink as the shape of the body shrinks.
Although it may sound appealing to get to the finish line quickly, that is actually the worst thing you can do in terms of skin laxity.
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Problems Associated With Excess Loose Skin
Below are the 4 most common problems caused by excess loose skin:
1. Negative Body Image
Extra skin after weight loss can be a source of insecurity and negatively impact your body image. If youre struggling with loose skin, its important to remember youre not alone and there are things you can do to improve your skins appearance.
2. Pain and Discomfort
Loose skin can cause pain and discomfort, especially if its located in an area that rubs against clothing or is constantly being moved . The physical pain and prolonged discomfort can make day-to-day activities very uncomfortable, deepening any insecurities related to ones loose skin.
3. Skin Irritation and Infections
Loose skin can make you more susceptible to skin irritation and frequent infections. If you have flabby skin after weight loss, be sure to keep the area clean and dry, and avoid tight-fitting clothing that could irritate your skin.
4. Limited Movement
In extreme cases, loose skin can limit your range of motion. If you have loose skin thats causing pain or limiting your movement, its important to see a doctor or dermatologist discuss your options.
How Do I Get Rid Of Loose Skin After Weight Loss
Golero / Getty Images
If you have been successful in losing a large amount of weight, you may have loose skin. You are not alone as loose or saggy skin is a common problem after losing a large amount of weight in a short period of time. In time, you may see improvements in your skin’s elasticity, but some people may require surgery to remove excess skin.1
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Who Might Get Loose Skin
After losing weight, loose skin can seem like the final hurdle.
First, we hope youâve taken a moment to congratulate yourself. Weight loss can be tough â and losing a large amount of weight is a journey you can only truly understand if youâve been through it.
However, after the hard work of losing weight, loose skin can remain in places where you once had excess fat – such as stomach, thighs, chest, arms, and neck â which can range from a barely-noticeable few millimetres to several highly visible inches.
The Weight Loss Journey
Reed’s weight-loss journey began with a New Year’s resolution.
On January 1, 2016, when she weighed about 485 pounds, she and her husband decided it was time to make some lifestyle changes. It was out with Netflix and junk food, and in with exercise and healthy eating, Reed told Health.
Fast forward two years, and thanks to a lot of hard work and dedication, Reed lost 312 pounds. She was finally free of the weight that had kept her, in her words, “prisoner,” but no one told her she was about to face an entirely new obstacle: Loose skin.
Research has found that when skin is stretched because of weight gain and stays that way for a long time, collagen and elastin fibers in the skin become damaged and cannot retract as quickly, causing excess skin to hang from the body after a large amount of weight loss.
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Q: Who Might Be A Candidate For Excess Skin Surgery
Dr. Jones: My first concern is always safety. Thats why, for instance, I want to see that my patients are free from smoking or using any kind of nicotine product for at least six weeks before having skin surgery. Thats important because tobacco use can interfere with wound healing. Many times my patients already know that because tobacco cessation is a criteria for bariatric surgery as well. Its also important to have any coexisting medical conditions a patient might have, such as diabetes, under control before skin surgery.
Healthy Habits To Feel More Confident In Your Skin
PSA: If you dont feel uncomfortable in your skin, dont feel pressured to make changes. However, for some, loose skin that comes after weight loss is more than just something cosmetic. It could be a constant reminder of a more melancholy timea mindset thats hard to shake. The physical discomfort of sagging skin may also interfere with normal physical activity and exerciselimiting mobility or flexibility, making it difficult to remain active after weight loss.
Remember, again, that you are not alone in feeling this way. Loose skin after weight loss is a common issue in adults. If the way your body looks is causing body image issues and depression, there are some healthy habits that can boost your confidence and tighten loose skin. Here are six things to try:
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