HOW TO GET RID OF LOOSE SKIN AFTER LOSING WEIGHT
It’s one of the biggest frustrations for those who have undergone a major weight loss transformation…
They’ve put in the time, effort and patience to drop the excess body fat, but are now left with an annoying layer of loose skin that just won’t go away.
This can certainly be discouraging, as there’s no bigger let down than feeling like you’ve done everything right but still aren’t getting the results you truly want.
So, how exactly do you tighten up loose skin after losing weight?
First off, keep in mind that the issue of loose skin can vary hugely from person to person since many different factors come into play, such as your initial starting weight, rate of weight gain, lifestyle factors, age and genetics.
- The more overweight you were to begin with and the more total weight you’ve lost, the more likely it is that you’ll be left with some loose skin as an end result.
- Your initial rate of weight gain can also play a role as well, since the skin has less time to adapt during periods of sudden, rapid fat accumulation as opposed to weight that was gradually put on over the course of many years.
- Age comes into play too, since the older you get, the less elastic your skin becomes.
- Lifestyle factors such as diet, sun exposure and smoking can also contribute to the overall health and tightness of your skin.
- Aside from all of these factors is the basic issue of genetics, since some people simply have naturally more elastic skin than others. Some individuals may be able to lose 100 pounds or more and have no issues with loose skin at all, whereas others may lose half that amount and still struggle with it.
Regardless of how it may have come about though, let’s talk now about how you can get rid of loose skin for good and finally get that lean, healthy body you’ve been after.
Is It Loose Skin Or Just Excess Fat?
Although loose skin is certainly a legitimate problem for many people out there, the reality is that in a very high percentage of cases, the real issue is simply one of left over subcutaneous fat that is still clinging to the inside of the skin.
Skin itself is actually extremely thin, and if you’re able to grab onto an amount that is much more than a few millimetres thick, the simple fact is that you still have body fat left to lose.
In that case, eliminating loose skin shouldn’t be your focus at all, and instead you’ll just want to put all of your effort onto continuing to lower your overall body fat percentage through proper training and nutrition.
Unless you’ve truly gotten down to around 10-11% body fat as a male or 18-19% body fat as a female, loose skin really isn’t something to concern yourself with until you do.
And I use the word “truly” here on purpose, since most people significantly underestimate just how high their body fat percentage actually is.
I receive emails and progress photos all the time from people complaining about their struggles with loose skin, yet in looking at their pictures I can clearly see that they’re at least 5% or more above the body fat percentage they think they are.
So, make sure you’re being honest with yourself, and if you really want to be sure about it, go and get your body fat levels professionally tested to see where you’re truly at. (DEXA scans are the most accurate option for this)
Chances are that achieving a sufficient level of leanness will resolve the problem for you all on its own, as true cases of excessive loose skin are not as common as most people think.
Tighten Your Skin By Gaining Muscle
Aside from losing body fat, the other very important factor in returning your skin to its former “tightness” is by simply gaining more muscle.
Remember that both the fat and muscle underneath your skin will “press up” against it to keep it from sagging, and if you’ve dropped a bunch of fat without also gaining a decent amount of lean muscle, the chances of loose skin will be much higher.
If you’ve been primarily focusing on overall weight loss and have gotten down to a fairly lean body fat percentage but are still having issues with sagging skin, building more muscle would be the next very important step.
By shifting into a muscle building phase and gaining some additional lean mass, your physique will fill out and your skin will naturally tighten up along with it.
Don’t Forget About Basic Skin Health
Although this is unlikely to make a huge difference in cases where there is a significant amount of loose skin to get rid of, taking steps to maximize your skin health and elasticity certainly can’t hurt and could assist in less extreme cases…
- Ensure that you’re consuming adequate protein each day at around 0.8-1g per pound of body weight, since low protein diets increase the chances of skin atrophy.
- Consume a micronutrient rich diet with a sufficient intake of fruits, vegetables and essential fatty acids. This will provide you with all of the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients needed to optimize the health and appearance of your skin.
- Avoid unhealthy habits like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption or excessive sun exposure, as all of these can be detrimental to your skin health and elasticity.
Tried Everything And Still Can’t Get Rid Of Loose Skin?
Following the steps we’ve covered so far will work very effectively for a good majority of people out there, however, if you are a more extreme case where:
- You were significantly over weight to begin with and have lost a very large amount of fat.
- You’ve truly leaned down to about 10-11% body fat as a male or 18-19% body fat as a female.
- You’ve put in the time and effort to gain some quality muscle mass and have given your skin time to adapt.
… yet despite all of this you’re still dealing with a significant amount of loose skin that you’re unhappy with, surgical intervention is likely going to be the only option at that point if you’re truly serious about eliminating it for good.
Gimmicky solutions like “loose skin creams”, supplements and body wraps are highly unlikely to make any difference, and you’d almost certainly be wasting your money on those types of products.
I wish I could provide some other simpler answer here, but in cases where significant loose skin remains even after getting quite lean and building a decent amount of muscle, you’ll want to speak with your doctor to explore your options if surgery is a route you’re willing to go.
However, keep in mind that it isn’t a “small” surgery and can be fairly expensive, so make sure that you’ve done everything possible to optimize your body composition first before considering this as a last resort.
The Bottom Line On Eliminating Loose Skin
If you’re currently over weight and are wanting to get into better shape, don’t allow the idea of loose skin to deter you from reaching toward your goals.
Legit cases of loose skin are fairly rare, since the skin is very adaptable and will often tighten up all on its own as you improve your body composition over time.
In any case, you’ll still be much happier at a healthy body weight that carries a bit of loose skin as opposed to remaining at a heavy, unhealthy body weight permanently. Not just for what it will do to your appearance, but also to your overall health and well-being.
If you’re someone who has already gone through a weight loss transformation and is struggling with loose skin currently, keep in mind that in a very high percentage of cases, simply leaning down further in combination with gaining muscle will take care of a good portion, if not all of it.
However, surgical intervention may be necessary in more extreme cases when all other options have been exhausted, and if you’re at that stage and are very serious about getting rid of your loose skin altogether, I’d suggest conducting further research into that area.
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