If you are on your own weight loss journey, you likely have a vision for the slimmer, stronger, and firmer body that you’ll have once you reach your goal. What you may not realize, though, is that if you have a significant amount of weight to lose, you may be left with a lot of loose skin once you get to your goal. As exciting as a major weight loss can be, the loose, sagging skin may be a reality for some can put a damper on the accomplishment.
Skin is an organ that molds and adapts. So if you have extra weight, your skin stretches to accommodate the excess fat. While your skin can typically “bounce back” from a weight loss of 10 to 20 pounds, the same may not be true if you have 50 or more pounds to lose. Several factors contribute to loose skin after weight loss, including:
- Length of time being overweight. Generally, the longer you’ve been overweight, the looser your skill will be due to greater loss of elastin and collagen.
- Amount of weight lost. Weight loss of 100 pounds or more often results in a greater amount of hanging skin than more modest losses.
- Age. Older skin naturally has less collagen, making it looser in general but especially after weight loss.
- Genetics. Genes may also play a role in how your skin responds to weight loss.
- Sun exposure. Chronic exposure to sun reduces the skin’s natural collagen and elastin production, resulting in loose skin.
- Smoking. Smoking reduces collagen production and damages the existing collagen, which can result in loose, sagging skin.
Fortunately, though, there are several things you can do to reduce sagging skin after losing weight. If you’ve been wondering how to tighten loose skin after weight loss, consider these options and decide which is the best strategy for you.
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1. Laser Treatments
Non-invasive procedures, such as laser skin tightening, is often effective for mild tightening of the skin. The procedure is often a good option who have lost 50 pounds or less. The process uses lasers to heat up fat cells and break them down naturally. The excess cells are then eliminated through normal waste removal processes.
This form of laser treatment is a straightforward, non-invasive procedure. It is used to tighten several different parts of the body, including the abdomen, upper arms, flanks, thighs, and knees. This treatment for how to tighten loose skin after weight loss also helps the body naturally produce more elastin and collagen, two compounds that improve the elasticity and youthful appearance of the skin. It also helps the skin bounce back to its desired shape more quickly.
2. Radio Frequency
If the skin is exceptionally loose, radio frequency is a better option. This treatment is better suited for extremely loose or saggy skin because it introduces frequencies into the inner layers of the skin to produce greater results. This treatment is well-suited for use on the neck, jowls, belly, upper legs, and arms. Radio frequency is best suited for individuals who have lost 50 or fewer pounds.
3. Ultrasound Treatment
There are several different ultrasound treatments that serve as a solution for how to tighten lose skin after weight loss. Micro-focused procedures are most effective for tightening the skin of the face and neck, while high intensity ultrasound is best suited for reducing fat on the stomach and waist. It is important to note, though, that ultrasound is best for individuals who have high levels of skin slackness rather than exceptionally loose skin.
4. Surgical Procedures
If you have achieved a more pronounced loss of 50 to 100 pounds or more, surgical procedures may be the most effective solution for how to tighten loose skin after weight loss for you. Body contouring surgery involves several different plastic surgery procedures used to correct the issues that arise after a massive weight loss.
Procedures used to address these body changes include:
- Tummy tuck, known as abdominoplasy, is used to remove excess skin from the abdomen.
- Lower body lift, or belt lipectomy, lifts and removes skin from the hips, thighs, buttocks, and belly.
- Breast lift surgery, known as mastopexy, eliminates excess skin and recontours and lifts the breasts – sometimes using implants.
- An arm lift, or brachioplasty, removes the excess skin or “bat wings” that many people, especially women, have after weight loss.
- Face lift, known as a rhytidectomy, and neck lift is performed to remove excess skin in the chin, jowls, and neck.
Of all of these options, though, abdominoplasty is the most popular. This surgery is performed to contour the abdomen and stomach. It is common, however, for individuals to undergo several consecutive surgeries to reshape various parts of the body. In most cases, groups of procedures are staged to contour different parts of the body in different treatment phases. Most procedures occur at least 3 months apart. For instance, you may have your tummy and thighs done in one treatment and then have your breasts and arms performed in the next stage.
5. Collagen Hydrolysate
Collagen plays an important role in your skins elasticity. Whether you are undergoing a more progressive treatment or not, collagen can have a protective effect on the skin. Collagen hydrolysate functions much like gelatin and is an effective supplement for most individuals.
6. Resistance Training
Increasing muscle mass takes up more space in the skin. It may be a less invasive solution for the question of how to tighten loose skin after weight loss. Regular strength-training is one of the most effective ways to build muscle mass both in young and older adults.
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Weight loss is an exciting accomplishment; however, if you’ve lost a greater amount of weight, you may also have loose skin that is anything from a slight nuisance to an uncomfortable emotional or even physical issue. If that’s the case for you, there are several options you can explore for how to tighten loose skin after weight loss, ranging from laser tightening to natural supplements and resistance training. Consider the options and discuss with your physician which approach might be right for you.