The Natural Way to Firm Up: How to Tighten Loose Skin After Weight Loss
Losing excess weight can feel liberating: you feel lighter, faster, and can fit into your old clothes. But while most people expect their skin to shrink as their fat levels diminish, this isn’t always the case. It’s common for people who previously dealt with higher fat levels to experience sagging skin in some areas. These include the thighs, upper arms, lower abdomen, and buttocks.
One of the most common ways people address the issue is through surgeries and similar invasive procedures. However, there are a few natural ways that can, with time, tighten loose skin. Let’s discuss why you deal with loose skin, why some people deal with more excess skin than others, and how natural remedies can help.
Why You Deal With Loose Skin After Weight Loss
As the largest organ by surface area, your skin acts as a protective barrier that protects your internal organs from the environment. The skin consists of different layers, the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis. The hypodermis is the innermost layer and comprises different proteins such as elastin and collagen.
About 80 per cent of the skin’s structure is collagen, which keeps it firm, while elastin fibres help tissues shrink back after stretching. When you gain weight, your skin expands to make room for excess fat. This also happens during pregnancy, which takes place gradually over three trimesters. After the delivery, the skin takes several months to retract.
But when the skin stretches significantly for a long time, it can damage the elastin and collagen fibres. Thus, tissues can’t retract as effectively. It happens when you gain excess weight and remain overweight for a long time. So when you lose much of that excess fat, the skin covering it may become loose instead of retracting.
Why Some People Have More/Less Excess Skin Than Others
Hanging skin after weight loss isn’t inevitable, but there’s no way to be sure who it will affect. Certain factors, however, can affect whether or not you’ll deal with loose skin after losing weight. For instance:
Being Overweight for a Long Time
People who have been obese or overweight for longer tend to experience more loose skin after weight loss. This is compared to people who were overweight for a smaller period and were able to lose the excess weight quickly.
Losing a Lot of Excess Weight
Losing upwards of 40 kg as part of your weight loss journey can lead to more sagging skin than losing a few kilograms.
As you age, your body produces less collagen than when you were younger. Consequently, it sags more and can lead to loose skin after weight loss.
High Exposure to UV Rays
High exposure to the sun’s UV rays can reduce collagen levels in the skin. UVA rays from sun exposure penetrate deep into the skin layers, damaging collagen fibres. you may deal with more saggy skin after weight loss if you have a habit of going outside without appropriate sun protection.
Natural Ways to Tighten Skin
Here are a few ways to naturally tighten sagging skin after losing weight. These methods apply whether you’ve tried a regular weight loss program involving diet and exercise or underwent weight loss surgery to remove excess fat cells.
Drinking Plenty of Water
The amount of water you drink can directly impact your body’s collagen levels. When you’re dehydrated, connective tissues such as collagen are among the first parts of your body to stop receiving water. And when collagen no longer receives water, the strands can start cracking, which devoids the skin of its firm structure.
To help your skin tighten after weight loss, ensure you drink plenty of water from electrolytes, herbal teas, and naturally-flavoured fruit water. In addition, you can opt to track your water intake through an application or even tie it into your routine, so you’re drinking one glass at specific times of the day.
Incorporating Resistance Training
When losing weight, resistance training can help build muscle and firm up loose skin. Additionally, weight loss coaching can provide personalized strategies and support to optimize the weight loss journey, including skin health and appearance
These include exercises like push-ups, planks, leg raises, squats, and sit-ups. Building muscle is an effective way to get a toned physique and build endurance. These factors help you feel confident and increase your strength, encouraging you to try more challenging workout routines.
Using Collagen Supplements
If you’ve lost a lot of excess weight after a long time, your post-weight loss skin likely won’t see the same effects of collagen as healthy skin. And if you’re older, collagen production will be reduced as well. To counter the effect of these factors, you can start using collagen supplements to replenish your body’s natural collagen levels. While it’s true that your body produces this protein naturally, weight loss will speed up the rate at which your skin starts sagging. This leads to a need for extra collagen to improve skin elasticity and tighten excess skin.
You can take collagen supplements in the form of powders and capsules, which are absorbed through the digestive tract. On the other hand, you’ll also find firming creams that target excess loose skin after rapid weight loss. They contain collagen and elastin that binds to the skin, giving it a firmer look. As a plus, they hydrate the skin to keep it from drying out, which causes the skin to sag further.
Eating the Right Foods
High-protein foods can help with collagen production as they contain the amino acids hydroxyproline, proline, and glycine, which are used to build collagen. Some of the common foods that help create collagen include bone broth, legumes, dairy, meat, poultry, and fish. Certain foods, like leafy greens, fatty fish, berries, and, will help improve elastin production in the body.
It’s always best to consume a balanced diet that’s complete with protein, as well as nutrients that aid in collagen production. For instance, copper, vitamin C, and zinc are some micronutrients that help your body make new collagen, so fresh vegetables and fruits should be part of your meal plan.
Smoking exposes your body to a number of chemicals that destroy the collagen and elastin fibres in the skin. These fibres are essential to give the skin a firm and supple look, so when they grow weak, the skin ends up sagging. While cutting back on your smoking habits won’t tighten your skin immediately, it will certainly help prevent future sagging and collagen loss. Over time, your skin will recover some of its elasticity, and you’ll notice less sagging.
Slow Down Your Weight Loss
One of the biggest factors that can lead to excess loose skin is how quickly you lose weight. If you opt to lose weight gradually over time, it allows the body to adjust to lower fat levels. Consequently, your skin has enough time to shrink and adapt to your new weight.
If you have a significant weight loss plan, it’s best that you try losing one kilogram or less per week to give your body enough time to recover. Moreover, incorporating the above-mentioned tips can help ensure better skin health after you lose weight.
Surgical Methods to Remove Excess Skin
Excess weight gain requires the skin to stretch and accommodate new mass. Over time, skin loses elasticity when it’s s stretched over a large area. While there are a few natural ways to tighten skin after weight loss, they take time to work effectively. Here are some of the alternative methods that people opt for when they’ve lost a significant amount of weight and are worried about sagging skin.
Body Contouring Surgery
People who undergo bariatric surgery to lose a large amount of weight tend to rely on surgical methods like body contouring surgery to give their bodies a smoother appearance.
It involves a medical professional making incisions that remove excess fat and skin. After removing the skin, they use fine stitches to suture the incision, which minimizes scarring. You can opt for body contouring surgery based on the specific areas with excess skin.
Let’s say you want to remove excess skin from the abdomen. That will require an abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck. And if you want to tighten and tone the skin on your upper arms, you can opt for a Brachioplasty. Similar procedures include lower and upper body lift, as well as medial thigh lift, which caters to areas like the buttocks, breasts, and thighs, respectively.
Problems Caused by Loose Skin
Loose skin after weight loss can lead to problems that affect their well-being.
Negative Body Image
Improved appearance is one of the major reasons people choose to lose weight in the first place. Unfortunately, loose skin can look unflattering and lead to a negative body image, which can affect one’s motivation to continue losing weight.
Irritation and Infections
When skin loses its elasticity, it sags and creates folds, which leads to ulcers or infections. It’s why a large proportion of people request surgical treatments to tighten their skin in the first place.
Hinders Physical Activity
Although weight loss acts as a motivator to continue exercising, people with excess skin found that it would hinder mobility while exercising. Additionally, saggy skin also feels uncomfortable, so it can interfere with everyday tasks as well.
Here are some of the most commonly-asked questions about skin tightening after weight loss.
Does loose skin after weight loss heal on its own?
In most cases, loose skin heals on its own after weight loss. However, keep in mind that it will take a couple of months for the skin cells to return to their normal state. If natural methods don’t help, you may have to see a medical professional to improve loose skin.
Are there natural remedies to tighten skin?
Certain methods, like improving skin hydration, eating the right nutrients, reducing sun exposure, and taking collagen supplements offer a number of health benefits that can improve skin elasticity. These natural remedies are best used during your weight loss journey to avoid unsightly skin folds and stretch marks after you lose weight.
What procedures can tighten loose skin?
There are different kinds of procedures that can remove loose skin through plastic surgery. These are called body contouring surgeries, which involve the surgeon removing extra fat and skin through an incision. Some examples of these surgeries include the arm lift, tummy tuck, and medial thigh lift.
How can I avoid loose skin during weight loss?
Significant weight gain causes the skin to stretch over time, so it’s best to adopt a gradual approach when losing weight. Lose small amounts of body fat as you approach a healthy weight. Additionally, opt for strength training exercises as part of your workout routine so you can build muscle while losing fat.
While weight loss is a journey rather than a destination, many people look forward to enjoying an improved appearance. After all, it can give them a boost of confidence and motivate them to maintain a stable weight. However, dealing with excess skin can lead to a lot of disappointment.
Luckily, you can adopt certain natural methods to improve the skin’s appearance by tightening and toning it. These include eating a diet rich in protein, losing a few pounds at a time, and taking supplements to enhance the skin’s elasticity. With time, you’ll start to see a difference in how your skin responds to the lost weight.