You can do a few different things to help tighten loose skin after weight loss. The “best” method depends on several factors, including how much excess skin you have, location on the body, and whether you prefer natural means to surgery. Natural methods can help, but if you have a lot of excess skin, the only method that really works is surgery, according to Dr. Dave Shafer and other physicians at RealSelf.com.
Body Contouring Surgery
Excessive amounts of skin on the stomach or other parts of the body would require abdominoplasty surgery or body contouring surgery such as a thigh lift or upper arm lift. These procedures involve cutting away the excess skin and tightening and smoothing the remaining skin and the tissues underneath. The downside is that these procedures tend to be expensive and require time for recovery. They also tend to leave behind surgical scars. And so, be certain to thoroughly research this option and discuss the procedure at length with your doctor.
Adding Muscle Tone
Although in general there’s not really anything most people can do to change their skin, according to plastic surgeon Jorge de la Torre, MD, at Everyday Health, exercise can make a difference for some. Many weight-loss programs neglect to include strength training, which leaves nothing to replace fat and support the skin once the fat is gone. Strengthening and toning exercises such as weight training and Pilates can help to build muscle and fill out loose skin, making it appear tighter and smoother.
Attack the Fat
It’s also possible that you still have excess subcutaneous fat pulling your skin down. According to MuscleforLife.com, this type of fat looks and behaves enough like loose skin that it can be hard to tell the difference. If you still have excess fat, it will have to go before your skin can return to it’s normal shape and elasticity. As long as you don’t increase your caloric intake, aerobic exercise is generally the best method for burning away excess fat. MuscleandStrength.com recommends either an hour of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, or 30 minutes of high intensity interval training most days of the week.
Supplements to Try
Unfortunately, skin loses its elasticity as you get older, which makes it harder for your skin to return to its normal shape after weight loss. The good news, according to research conducted by Stanford University, is that elasticity can be improved by supplementing your diet with 250 mg of gelatin each day. Also, MuscleforLife.com notes that getting plenty of vitamin C can improve collagen production, which is vital to maintaining skin elasticity.
- RealSelf.com: Non Surgical Skin Tightening for the Tummy?
- The Seaty Betties: How Can I Get Rid of Loose Skin on My Belly?
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons: Body Contouring After Major Weight Loss
- MuscleforLife.com: How to Get Rid of Loose Skin After Weight Loss
- NuSkin.com: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Pilot Trial to Assess the Effects of 5 Different Food Supplements on Skin (PDF)
- MuscleandStrength.com: The Cardio Question: What Type Of Cardio Is Best For Fat Loss?