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, you’re 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? Let’s 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 causes loose skin after weight loss?
Those who have undergone significant weight loss because of exercise or through bariatric surgery, often find the loose skin frustrating. Dr Kapoor says, “The amount of loose skin is not proportional to how much weight you lose but it is also affected by many factors such as your eating habits, genetics, smoking and sun exposure.”
The good news is that some simple treatments can help prevent or treat loose skin. He adds, “Loose skin happens because of loosening of collagen and elastic fibres.” This not only makes you look aged but the skin folds can also be a breeding ground for bacteria, causing infection and chafing.
If you want to avoid loose skin because of weight loss, follow these 5 tips:
Building muscle mass through muscle strengthening and weight training exercises can help fill out the skin and decrease the appearance of loose skin. As a result, your skin will look firmer and better.
When it comes to diet to tighten your skin, it is important that you add collagen. It is found in bone broth, eggs, meat, fish and spirulina. Dr Kapoor says, “Including a protein-rich diet with plenty of water will also make your skin elastic and flexible and prevent dehydration.” You should also include vitamin C and E rich foods to help improve collagen and skin health.
3. Non-invasive treatments
Non-invasive treatments such as use of radiofrequency and infrared light deliver energy under the skin and cause the cells to contract to shrink and new collagen and elastine are formed. The result is firm and flexible skin.
4. Skin tightening surgery
These include a group of procedures such as the popular tummy tuck, arm lift, breast lift, face lift and lower body lifts. The surgeon removes the excess skin and fat from the body and wraps the skin around to smoother appearance. However, for this surgery, you need to have had a stable weight for the last six months and it should be more than two years since the weight loss surgery.
5. Firming creams
This may not be a very effective solution but it can definitely make a difference. Firming creams help to improve the appearance of the skin by boosting collagen production and elastin molecules. Always choose one that contains anti ageing ingredients such as collagen and retinoids. Use them daily and maintain a healthy skin care routine.
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 doesn’t tighten the skin.
Discuss with your cosmetic surgeon about the right treatment for maintaining weight loss and preventing and treating loose skin.