Loose skin after weight loss is one of the most common problems that people who lose weight have, but what can you do about it?
Is it an inevitable consequence of weight loss?
The answer is yes and no as there are a number of factors that will determine whether loose skin will be a problem.
Causes of Loose Skin After Weight Loss:
Having a Lot of Weight To Lose
Generally speaking, the more weight you have to lose and the longer you carry the excess weight, the more likely that loose skin will be a problem.
Pretty obvious really. The fatter you are, the more skin you need to cover your body.
It’s not strictly true that your skin stretches. Your skin is a living organ and grows bigger through cell division.
Stretching and stretch marks, however, do occur when significant weight gain occurs over a short period of time.
During pregnancy for instance, during childhood growth spurts, when gaining large amounts of muscle quickly…
The sooner you do something about your increasing weight, the less of a problem that loose skin will be later.
As with most things, prevention is better than cure so take action now.
Rapid Weight Loss
In our experience, the quicker that someone loses weight, the more likely that they’ll have loose skin after weight loss.
Most people want rapid weight loss, they don’t want to lose just the recommended 1-2lbs a week max, they want to lose it all tomorrow! Big mistake.
Your skin needs time to adapt to your new body shape. The longer it takes to lose the weight, the more time your skin will have to adapt – to ‘shrink’ – and the less of a problem loose skin after weight loss will be.
Forget crash or fast weight loss diets. Take a look at our free healthy weight loss plan and aim to lose no more than 1-2lbs a week. Take your time.
Another consequence of rapid weight loss is that you lose muscle. Your body invariably loses a little muscle when you diet, but the more severe the diet, the more muscle you lose.
Muscle is a significant determinant of body shape and helps to ‘fill out’ your skin. Lose muscle and there’s less of you to fill out your skin.
Eat enough protein whilst losing weight, avoid cutting your calories too severely and do some exercise and you’ll encourage your body to hang on to muscle tissue and burn fat instead.
Your skin tone relies upon proper and adequate hydration. Become dehydrated and you’ll lose skin tone and elasticity.
Drink plenty of water around 2 liters a day and you’ll remain hydrated.
People often cut back on their fluid intake when dieting thinking that it will combat water retention – the opposite is true. The less water you drink, the more likely your body is to hang on to the water its got.
Eat Some Carbs
Carbs are stored as glucose and glycogen. One part of glycogen is stored in your muscles and liver with three parts of water.
Eat the right kind of carbs and you’ll help your body to stay hydrated.
Very low carb diets can cause rapid weight loss, but a lot of that weight will be water and muscle.
Very low carb diets can therefore contribute to loose skin after weight loss.
Feed Your Skin
Both from the inside and the outside. Eat a varied and balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and veg, which are packed full of the vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy, toned skin.
Exfoliate regularly with a good skin care product and feed it with a rich moisturizer or ‘age-defying’ cream. One containing essential nutrients to combat free radical damage caused by the sun and pollution and to promote collagen and elastin production in the skin.
Collagen and elastin are responsible for skin tone and tension. Keeping their levels topped up will help your skin to regain some of its elasticity.
Skin care products on their own will not prevent and reverse stretching and loose skin after weight loss, but they can help when allied to a healthy diet and exercise.
Not much you can do about this one. The extent to which your skin can cope with and recover from weight gain and weight loss is to an extent down to your genes.
Some women experience stretch marks during and after pregnancy, others don’t. Some people suffer from loose skin after weight loss, others don’t.
We’ve had clients who’ve lost a lot of weight and you’d never know they’d ever been overweight.
Others can lose relatively modest amounts of weight, as little as 14lbs, and can have problems with excess skin particularly around their belly that’s difficult to lose.
There’s no legislating for great genetics or the lack of them…but then life is often not fair!
Loose skin after weight loss is not inevitable, depending on the factors above.
Lose weight slowly, maximize the proportion of fat you lose, build some muscle, keep hydrated and feed your skin and you can minimize or even negate the problem.
In extreme cases, surgery may be an option but only we would suggest as a last resort.
Most people who have surgery to get rid of loose skin after weight loss often still have plenty of fat to lose!
A healthy weight loss and exercise plan is a lot less painful and much kinder to your bank balance.