Ideally, the skin gradually shrinks and adjusts overall to changes in body mass. However, in some cases, people are left with a double chin or a crepey neck when the skin can't keep up with the weight loss.
This may be due to the body storing fat in the face, which makes areas such as the chin prone to loose skin. Other factors include your skin's elasticity and the amount of weight you lost. The most effective way to firm up the skin is keeping it healthy.
The amount of weight you lose and your skin's elasticity may have left you with unflattering loose skin under your chin. Drink lots of water and eat protein-dense foods that are filled with the collagen your loose skin needs.
Why Skin Gets Loose
With advancements in weight-loss surgeries, more people lose large amounts of weight rapidly. The skin is an organ, and it needs time to adjust to weight changes. According to Columbia Health, if you lose between 50 and 100 pounds rapidly, your skin is less likely to shrink in time. By losing less than 50 pounds at a rate of one to three pounds a week, your skin is more likely to adjust to your decreased body mass.
Do Facial Exercises Work?
You may have heard of performing facial exercises to tighten up your skin —the yoga community in particular is flouting the success of yoga for the face — but there is no evidence to support this. Two small studies published in 2013 and 2014 respectively in the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics and the Aesthetic Surgery Journal found that facial exercises are not effective for saggy skin or reducing wrinkles. Skin cannot be tightened through exercise, since it is not a muscle.
Taking Care of Your Skin
Give your skin the best chance of bouncing back by giving it the nutrients it needs. Aim to drink at least nine to 13 cups of water daily. Water keeps your skin hydrated, which protects its elasticity. Wear sunscreen every day of at least 15 SPF to protect your skin from sun damage. You may need a higher SPF if you are fair-skinned or older and already prone to wrinkles. Protein-dense foods such as cottage cheese, milk, legumes, tofu, lentils, seeds, nuts such as almonds, and seafood all contain collagen- and elastin-forming properties, as well as essential oils to help maintain healthy skin.
Expectations and Surgery
People often opt for surgery as a last resort, and sometimes it is required to improve the appearance of loose skin. The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center urges patients to maintain their goal weight for three to six months before opting for surgery. The most common procedure is known as a neck lift, while others opt for liposuction to remove the fat causing a double chin. Consult your doctor about your options as well as noninvasive procedures that don't require surgery.
- Columbia Health: "Weight Loss and Excess Skin"
- Aesthetic Surgery Journal: "The Effectiveness of Facial Exercises for Facial Rejuvenation: A Systematic Review"
- International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics: "Facial Exercises for Facial Rejuvenation: A Control Group Study"
- University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center: "Plastic Surgery After Major Weight Loss"