You’ve worked tirelessly month after month, resisting the temptations of delicious donuts and fried chicken at every turn. You’ve exercised faithfully, hydrated thoroughly, and filled up on fresh, nutritious foods. Hooray! But now that you’re staring at the substantially smaller number on the scale, your mood sours when you look up into the mirror. Although your lighter and leaner, now your body is peppered with flaps of loose skin, instead of appearing toned and tight.
Your skin is your body’s largest living organ, which conveniently expands when you gain weight, but isn’t equipped to tighten back up at a comparable rate after the weight is lost. Although there is no quick fix to this problem, there are some things you can actively do to help get your skin to “fit” your body again.
Here are ways to deal with loose skin after weight loss.
One of the best ways to eliminate loose skin is through resistance training. Resistance training, most popularly weightlifting, builds the muscle that helps provide the underlying support for your skin. Over time, a steady regimen of resistance training can help to “fill out” the space inside your loose skin with muscle mass.
Combining resistance training with cardiovascular exercise has been shown to build muscle faster than either method on its own. A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology divided more than 100 overweight or obese adults into three groups: one that jogged three days per week for about 45 minutes, another that completed a total of 24 sets of resistance training exercises three days per week, and a third which combined both regimens. Although the jogging group lost the most weight after eight months, the combination workout group added the most lean mass (i.e. muscle) during that time.
Amp Up Your Protein Intake
If you’ve lost weight, chances are you’ve been eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet. But now, up your consumption of lean protein, which comprises the two substances that help give your skin its elasticity: collagen and elastin.
While protein shakes can accomplish this goal, you can also boost the amount of chicken, turkey, fish, nuts and seeds, beans, cottage cheese, and low-fat yogurt. On top of that, you can take supplements that assist with collagen and elastin production: fish oil and gelatin, a protein that stimulates the growth of collagen, are two solid options.
One of the largest contributors to sagging skin (even if you haven’t lost weight) is UV damage, so make sure you wear ample sunscreen and stay out of the sun as much as possible during peak hours.
You should also incorporate topical skincare solutions that specifically address sagging and bagginess in skin, such as Crepe Correcting Body Complex and Lift + Firm Sculpting Cream for Face and Neck.
The Crepe Correcting Body Complex was specially formulated to target the type of “leftover” skin common with weight loss and aging. To help with loose, thin, wrinkled and sagging skin, this formula deeply hydrates cell and stimulates collagen production to boost volume with special ingredients including HydraFirm, a complex that firms, hydrates and smooths, and niacinamide, a B vitamin that helps increases collagen and protein synthesis.
Lift + Firm Sculpting Cream for Face and Neck contains natural extracts and high-tech amino acids that work together to give skin a firmer, more lifted look by enhancing the skin’s internal support structure. A combination of unique ingredients work in synergy to tighten skin, restore natural elasticity and firmness, and even deliver a “filler” effect.
For more extreme cases that involves hundreds of pounds of weight loss, plastic surgery is a popular choice, as surgeons can tailor a precise mix of body contouring and skin removal. But going under the knife is not a quick fix, since the procedures often cannot be performed at the same time – and post-surgical recovery times can last for weeks, or even months. Moreover, residual scarring is possible, even after you recover from surgery.
Before undergoing any of these medical procedures, you should consult with a physician and/or a dermatologist to determine whether these treatments will successfully remove your loose skin.
Whatever approach you take, you’ll benefit greatly by embracing the same levels of patience, discipline, and determination that helped you lose all of those unwanted pounds in the first place.
1 Willis L, Slentz C, Bateman L et al. Effects of aerobic and/or resistance training on body mass and fat mass in overweight or obese adults. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2012;113(12):1831-1837. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.01370.2011.