Often, the benefits of weight loss are expected and welcomed: higher energy levels, smaller pants, more defined body. But sometimes, it causes unexpected and unwanted changes, including loose skin that appears as collapsed folds all over the body. And not only can this be uncomfortable and frustrating, but it can also leave you puzzled as to what to do next.
Lose weight only to stay with a loose skin? Find out why it happened in the first place and what you can do now to remedy the situation.
Why does loose skin after weight loss occur?
In short, it's usually related to quick Jordan Jacobs, MD, an assistant professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, says weight loss is a common headache for people undergoing bariatric surgery for massive weight loss (over 100 pounds). In fact, according to some studies, about 70% of people who undergo the procedure end up with an excess of skin. "Losing weight quickly does not give our skin time to contract gradually, resulting in loose, sagging skin," he says.
But post-loss weight loss of the skin is also a product of weight gain itself. "The skin has a finite elasticity and if it is pushed beyond this elasticity during weight gain, it will not be able to shrink again during a subsequent weight loss," says Joshua Zuckerman, MD, director Surgery at Zuckerman Plastic Surgery in New York. .
So who can expect a loose skin after weight loss? Although this varies, slight weight loss (think: 20 pounds or less) usually is not lead to excess skin, says Zuckerman. A weight loss of 40 to 50 pounds can, just like a massive weight loss of over 100 pounds.
In addition: it does not only indicate the weight you lose, but your age and the quality of your skin that determine whether you will feel loose skin after weight loss, he says. "Younger patients are more likely to avoid excess skin than those whose skin elasticity is inherently high." (As you get older, the elastic fibers and collagen molecules that give your skin its firmness lose strength.)
Men also tend to do better in the arms and legs than women, notes Jeffrey M. Kenkel, MD, professor and chair of the Betty Chair and Warren Woodward in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
How can you get rid of loose skin after losing weight?
Weight loss due to weight loss usually requires surgical removal to fit the body contour, explains Jacobs.
"Generally speaking, after weight loss surgery or weight loss, plastic surgery is needed to remove excess skin," Zuckerman says. "These plastic surgery procedures are very effective and usually involve cutting off excess skin and lifting or reshaping the remaining tissue."
In addition to surgical excision, options include liposuction (which uses a suction technique to remove fat and, for patients with mild skin excess (and fat), non-invasive procedures usually in the form of ultrasound or radio frequencies that warm the skin and cause contraction by triggering collagen production, explains Jacobs. For example, you could undergo a microwave needling at radio frequency energy that causes thousands small punctures in the skin and delivers radiofrequency energy during treatment, says Zuckerman.
Patients may also resort to contouring procedures such as BodyTite and FaceTite (which may be used in conjunction with liposuction) to remove fat and tighten the skin, but for all exceptional cases of excess skin, these treatments may not completely solve the problem.
In short, surgical excision (although it results in longer recovery) remains the norm, said Jacobs (and produces "deep" effects), and the results of more invasive treatments are what one could do. wait: subtle, he says.
Can you tighten loose skin?
In addition to the non-invasive and minimally invasive options that exist, somewhat effective (but, again, only for mild cases), there is no magic cream or exercise that tightens loose skin after weight loss. That's why excess skin is a difficult problem for more moderate cases, says Zuckerman.
Although this is not always an option (especially for those undergoing bariatric surgery), progressive weight loss seems to be the best solution preventing loose skin in the first place, notes Jacobs.
Can loose skin after weight loss disappear from itself?
do not reallyDoctors say, but remember, the amount of skin remaining and your skin's response to weight loss depend on everything from age and genetics to weight loss and the quality of your skin. So depending on your situation, you may be able to expect changes.
"Patients who may notice improvement in loose skin are those who do not have stretch marks and younger patients who still have good skin quality despite weight gain," says Kenkel. "The quality of the skin is the key to improvement."
Jacobs also suggests that if you lose weight gradually, give your skin a full year of contraction once you have reached your weight goal. "After this period, you will not see any noticeable tightening."
Then, if you have loose skin that is bothering you – or if you have loose skin after a bariatric surgery – do your homework and contact an American Board of Plastic Surgery-certified plastic surgeon to find out your options, suggests Jacobs. . "Many doctors label themselves as" plastic surgeons "and, as long as they have a valid medical license, they can legally perform any procedure," he says. "But the American Board of Plastic Surgery denotes good training."
What is the best home remedy for firming the skin?
Rubbing cocoa butter on your skin may seem like a good idea, but while many topical products claim to tighten the skin, doctors are skeptical. "There are no effective topical products or over-the-counter remedies for excess skin," Zuckerman says. Jacobs adds that any product you buy for this question will usually have subtle results at best.
The best home remedy, then? "Take care of your skin," says Jacobs. "This includes sun protection, smoking avoidance, reducing alcohol consumption and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in sugar and saturated fat."
In addition: building muscle – through a strong exercise program with bodybuilding work – is always a good idea. Plus, this can give the impression that your skin is more tense, says Holly Wyatt, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado.