Loose skin can be a disappointing side effect of major weight loss. While it may not be possible for your skin to return to its original form without surgery, there are several natural ways to restore elasticity and tightness to your skin. A balanced diet, daily exercise and moisturizer may help your skin shrink and tighten over time. The effectiveness of the natural remedies depends are your age, how long your skin was stretched and the amount of weight lost.
Consider putting your diet on hold, or slowing your weight loss, to allow your skin to adapt to your new, smaller proportions. Continue to eat a healthy diet, but start maintaining your weight to encourage your skin to shrink and regenerate. Daily Glow says that once you begin weight maintenance, your skin will likely shrink to fit your new weight. Continuing to lose weight at a rapid pace may cause more loose skin, stretch marks or other permanent damage.
Drink water to improve your skin's elasticity. Staying hydrated is essential for your vital organs, including your skin, and muscles. Carry a container of water with you throughout the day to help increase your water intake. Eat foods with a high water content, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, which help you stay full longer while keeping your body hydrated.
Use a gentle moisturizer twice daily. Purchase a moisturizer that contains collagen and vitamin E, which enhance elasticity while promoting the growth of new skin cells. Keeping your skin moisturized also improves the skin's texture and reduces wrinkles.
Add an element of strength training to your exercise regimen. Use various methods of resistance, such as machines, tubing, body weight or free weights to strengthen your major muscle groups. Cedric Bryant, chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise, says that aerobic exercise burns fats while strength training creates a layer of muscle underneath your skin, helping it appear tighter. Perform strength training exercises two or more times a week, on nonconsecutive days.
Wait it out. Your skin often needs a longer period of time to react to major weight loss due to the lengthy process of skin regeneration. Be kind to yourself and your body during this time, keeping in mind that your skin may not return to its original elasticity on its own.
Lose weight at a moderate pace, 1 to 2 pounds a week, to avoid problems with loose skin.