What to Do About Loose Skin After Weight Loss

Solutions to prevent, minimize or manage excess skin after weight loss

Loose skin after weight loss
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A lot of people wonder if they will have loose skin after weight loss. Do people who lose a lot of weight always have excess skin? You may have seen this happen on popular television shows. Often dieters on weight loss shows have surgery for excess skin after weight loss. But surgery is not the only solution for loose skin.

Why You Get Excess Skin After Weight Loss

If you watch plastic surgery makeover shows on TV you have surely seen a few patients who have had surgery to "repair" their loose skin after a significant weight loss.

This must have led you to wonder if you will experience the same thing.

If you lose a considerable amount of weight, you may have loose or excess skin once you have reached a normal, healthy weight.  So how do you know if you'll be affected? The condition of your skin may provide an answer.

The elasticity of your skin before and during the weight loss process determines how much - if anyloose skin you are left with. Younger skin that is more elastic is able to "snap back" more effectively to it's original shape. Older skin is less elastic and may not shrink back as well.

In addition, your chances of having excess skin is significantly affected by how much weight you have to lose and how quickly you lose it. When you lose weight quickly, your skin may not shrink as quickly as you'd like.

And finally, how long you have been overweight or obese can also have a bearing on your skin's ability to rebound from being stretched out.

The less time you have spent overweight, the more likely it is that your skin will return to normal.

Where Does Loose Skin Occur?

In my experience, most people who lose 100 pounds or more will have an issue with excess or "hanging" skin when they reach their goal weight. The excess skin is usually abdominal skin that reaches down well past the belly area.

But loose skin after weight loss can happen in other areas as well. Some dieters experience  saggy skin in the arms and around the bra line. Some even get loose skin in the thigh and buttocks area.

How to Manage Loose Skin After Weight Loss

There are several reasons why losing a slow and steady one or two pounds a week is the ideal rate at which to lose. Saving your skin's elasticity is one of them. The more quickly you lose your weight, the more likely you are to have a problem with excess skin.

In addition to slow and steady weight loss, you can also build muscle to shape the tissue underneath sagging skin. This is one prevention method suggested in a  recent interview with a weight loss surgeon about loose skin. He also talked about surgical methods to repair excess skin.

So how do you know if you should consider surgery? If excess skin is causing an actual medical problem (e.g. chafing that leads to skin infections), you may need to consider surgery. You might also want to have a procedure performed simply to improve the appearance of your body after weight loss.


So what surgery is available?  Some patients consider a body lift, a cosmetic surgery procedure that lifts and tightens skin at various locations on the body. Another procedure is called an abdominoplasty.  This surgical methods lifts and tightens just the stomach area.

Both are serious operations and like other surgeries, pose serious risk of complications. Insurance rarely covers these types of procedures.

So what's the bottom line? Worrying about the likelihood of having loose skin is no reason to put off losing weight. Losing weight will leave you healthier and will most likely lead to a longer, fuller life. If you have loose skin after weight loss, talk to your doctor about skin tightening surgeries and methods that can approve both the function and the look of your body.

*Edited by Malia Frey, Verywell.com Weight Loss Expert

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