Sagging Skin After Weight Loss

It is one thing to lose excess weight achieving a healthier body mass index (BMI) but it’s another thing dealing with excess sagging skin after.  Loose skin after weight loss surgery or other means of losing weight is a common problem.  Not everyone who loses weight will have to deal with skin sagging but it you lose a considerable amount of weight – 50 pounds or more – there isa good chance you will be contending with loose, excess skin. 

Factors determining how much, if any loose skin a person may have after weight loss depends on the elasticity of skin before and during weight loss.   Our skin contains collagen and elastin, two proteins sharing similar properties to a rubber band.  Just like a rubber band, if it is stretched beyond normal for too long, it may lose its ability to contract back into place. 

Certain circumstances such as pregnant women should see their skin return back to normal after giving birth as long as she has not gained excessive weight during the pregnancy.  In other situations, a younger person’s skin is more elastic making it more likely to “snap back” into place.  People over the age of 50 with “older” skin will have lost more of its elasticity and may not shrink back into place as well. 

Other factors that can determine elasticity of the skin include the amount of exposure to the sun and whether a person smokes or not.  In both cases, both overexposure to sunlight and smoking will make skin less elastic.

In the case of people who have been overweight to obese, the longer a person has carried excess weight, can also have an effect on the skin’s ability to return to normal after being stretched out beyond normal.  Skin elasticity is also affected by how quickly a person loses weight.  The more quickly you lose weight, the more likely you will have a problem with excess, sagging skin. 

The areas of the body that are the most affected by sagging skin following excessive weight loss tends to be excess abdominal skin but also saggy skin can occur in the upper arms, around the bra line and even in the thigh and buttocks.

Preventing loose skin after weight loss

The best way to deal with saggy skin after weight loss is to try to prevent or minimize the sagginess before you have lost all the weight.  One way is to lose weight slow and steady.  This gives skin more time to regain elasticity and recover as opposed to losing weight rapidly.

Another technique is to start and stick with an exercise program during the time of losing weight to help tighten the skin and to build more muscle mass. Work with a trainer who can help you with lifting weights to shape and tone the muscles while performing flexibility movements to keep joints limber and muscles more elastic.

There are no foods or supplements that will magically tone sagging skin.

Surgery for sagging skin

There will be situations where saggy skin is inevitable and surgery may be the answer.  Surgery is not for everyone but in the case of excessively loose skin that makes it difficult to dress and may be causing issues with infections or rashes, it can be a good resort. 

Individuals may consider a body lift which is a cosmetic surgery that lifts and tightens skin at various locations on the body.  For excess abdominal skin, an abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure to lift and tighten just below the stomach area. 

In conclusion

For anyone who would benefit from losing weight but has concerns about dealing with sagging skin afterwards should not let it stop them from attempting to achieve a healthier body weight.  Loosing excess weight will make you feel better and can help you avoid many serious chronic diseases.  Talk to your doctor with concerns about sagging skin after weight loss as there are steps you can take to minimize it as much as possible.