What causes loose skin?
One of the most common questions we’re asked in my fitness group is: what can I do about loose skin? This is a really good question and I thought I would share some of the answers here because this is an issue many people face
The number one cause for loose skin after a massive weight loss usually is a result of losing too much weight, too fast. But that isn’t always the case. For some people, skin loses elasticity over the years. This can cause skin to be looser when you lose fat.
The skin is the largest organ in our bodies and it helps to form a protective barrier against the environment we live in. The inner most layer of your skin – this is where we find proteins and all the good things our bodies need including elastin and collagen. Elastin helps to keep your skin tight for protection.
As a person gains weight, the skin stretches and can lose elasticity. The same goes for women who are pregnant- many will see stretch marks as their bellies grow.
When it comes to obesity and gaining weight – this is a process that can take years and as a result, the weight is harder to take off and can be harder on the skin.
So, when skin is stretched due to significant weight gain, it can often lose the ability to retract after weight loss. This is caused by damage to the collagen and other parts responsible for elasticity.
Some things to consider regarding the influence of loose skin:
- Length of time being overweight or obese
- Amount of weight loss and how much time it took you to lose weight
- Age, genetics and sun exposure
Why is loose skin an issue?
For most of the people who ask questions regarding loose skin, a common response is “I hate the way it looks” or “it’s cause me pain”. But there are more serious reasons why people should focus on ditching the loose skin.
Loose skin can impact your physical activity depending on where the skin is located. Skin can cause irritation like rashes or infections and can breakdown all together. Skin pain, ulcers and infections are common with people who have undergone massive weight transformation.
The psychological damage loose skin can have on people is a real concern. One person admitted to reaching their goal weight of 150 pounds and admitted they can’t go any lower because the rest of the weight was caused by loose skin.
How to get rid of loose skin
For smaller amounts of loose skin there are some natural ways to tighten it. However, if a person has lost massive amounts of weight – the only fix for the loose skin may be skin surgery.
Here are some tips that were brought up in recent discussions about tightening loose skin:
- Resistance training and building strength
- Take collagen (on advice of your doctor)
- Drink plenty of water and eat lots of protein
- Vitamin C, Omega 3 fatty acids can also hep
- Firming skin creams that contain collagen and elastin
Make sure to check with your doctor or primary care about what may help tighten your skin.
Skin removal surgery
I used to watch that show, My 600 Pound Life quite often for inspiration behind losing weight which has always been a struggle for me. Because of the amount of weight the participants lost in a short amount of time – they almost always required skin removal surgery. And one patient actually died during surgery from complications of obesity. That always scared me.
The surgery is not an easy procedure and depending on how much skin there is to remove – there may be serious complications during or after the surgery. This is something to keep in mind when talking to your doctor about treatments for loose skin.
Multiple surgeries are usually performed over a length of time on different parts of your body after major weight loss. Because the surgery is so complex, you may be required to stay in the hospital for up to a week post-surgery. Recovery can take several months. Learning proper skin care is most important as serious skin infections can occur post-surgery.
Preventing loose skin during weight loss
The best way to prevent loose skin during your weight loss challenge is to lose weight slowly and in a healthy manner. Ensuring your body gets enough food to stay healthy, drinking plenty of water, and ensuring you are getting enough vitamins and nutrients.
Aiming for 1-2 pounds per week is a safe and healthy weight loss goal. While some people will drop weight quickly in the beginning stages of their challenge – losing weight too quickly can result in loose skin.
Have you struggled with loose skin after massive weight loss? If so, let me know in the comments below what treatments worked for you.
- Exercising without a gym
- Keeping fit while in isolation
- Over-training and common injuries
- Exercises and recovery tips for bad knees
- Measuring progress without a scale
- How much exercise to lose weight?
- Exercise for weight-loss that’s fun!