After significant weight loss, excess skin presents a serious obstacle to many patients--including patients who have pursued solutions like weight loss surgery. You may feel that excess skin is unsightly, or that it hinders you from achieving the body of your dreams. The truth, however, is that excess skin is a badge of triumph: a symbol of how far you've come in your weight loss journey. Many people who have lost a substantial amount of weight have excess skin to deal with. Loose skin is a product of the excess weight you needed to lose: skin only has so much elasticity, and the longer it was stretched, the harder it can be for it to return to its former shape. How well and how fast your body will bounce back depends primarily on genetics. However, there are several things you can do about excess skin following significant weight loss.
Try Body Contouring
If you've lost a substantial amount of weight--especially through bariatric surgery--consider body contouring as a solution. From a tummy tuck to a whole-body contouring option, body contouring can help remove that additional skin and help you look your best. Many patients find that body contouring also helps deal with problems like sweating underneath loose skin and yeast growth in excess skin folds.
Focus on Putting on Muscle
If your skin seems to be stretched significantly, especially around your arms and abdominal region, consider the benefits of putting on muscle. Not only does muscle help burn calories more effectively, it can help create a more toned, defined appearance, even with excess skin left over from significant weight loss. When you gain muscle, you can also decrease sagging, which can make even significant loose skin look better. Work with a personal trainer to help you build muscle effectively, or consult your doctor about creating a future gym routine that includes plenty of weight training. If you're just getting started, even body weight training can make a significant difference in the muscle you can build.
Try Compression Garments
If you're struggling with the way excess skin feels when you're exercising or the way it looks under your clothes, try compression garments. From yoga pants to slips, you can find compression garments that will help tighten up your appearance and make it easier for you to move smoothly. Compression garments designed for exercise can also help wick away excess sweat, which can prevent yeast overgrowth. You can also try using baby powder or cornstarch in the folds of excess skin when exercising or out in hot weather.
Give It Time
In young patients or those who still have substantial skin elasticity, it's important to give it time to see what your skin will look like. For many patients, excess skin may continue to improve for up to a year after you stop losing weight. If you're still not comfortable with the way your body looks after that time has passed, then you can consider more invasive (or minimally-invasive) measures.
Radio Frequency Skin Tightening
Radio frequency skin tightening allows many weight loss patients to quickly change the appearance of loose skin. By releasing a certain radio frequency under the skin, radio frequency skin tightening can stimulate the production of collagen and tighten loose, sagging skin. While expensive, these procedures can show significant results for many patients. Some procedures are designed to last for only a few years, while others may have permanent results. You may have to visit the practitioner 3-4 times before you see the results you're looking for; however, the procedure can help increase confidence and tighten all that loose skin from your weight loss. Consult with your doctor to see which method is right for you.
Maintain Your Weight After the Diet is Over
After significant weight loss, many patients find that their weight fluctuates a little bit. You may find your weight creeping back up again, for example, when you return to your usual eating habits, or if you become more sedentary after your weight loss journey. By maintaining a healthy weight after the weight loss process is over, however, you're less likely to see changes in the appearance of your skin. Keep in mind that yo-yo dieting--losing a small amount of weight, then gaining it again, in a repetitive cycle--can create more loose skin than simply losing weight once and maintaining that weight loss. Remember, you're looking at a change in your entire lifestyle, not just a brief change that will help you lose weight in the first place.
Keep Up with a Healthy Diet
In order to lose a significant amount of weight in the first place, especially if you want to keep the weight off, you probably had to focus on changing your eating habits and maintaining a healthy diet. That healthy diet, however, is equally important for maintaining your skin's elasticity and helping you avoid as much loose skin as possible. Keep up with that healthy diet, including plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables to help promote healing throughout your body.
Don't let the possibility of excess skin following substantial weight loss keep you from taking the steps you need to lose weight, whether that means going on a strict diet and exercise program or turning to bariatric surgery to help you reach your weight loss goals. There are solutions that can help you look and feel your best even with loose skin--and utilizing those solutions can help you feel even better about your new body. Do you need help reaching your weight loss goals? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.