Weight loss reduces disease risk and improves patients’ quality of life. However, it can lead to loose skin if patients shed larger amounts of weight, such as 50 to 100 pounds, over a short period. This can lead to discomfort and self-consciousness for some people.
During weight gain, the skin expands to accommodate the increased growth. When it stays that way for long, it damages elastin and collagen, which are responsible for skin elasticity and firmness, respectively. As a result, the skin loses its ability to retract.
When the patient loses a lot of weight quickly, the skin becomes loose, hanging on the body. Fortunately, there are medical and natural approaches that patients can explore with the help of medical practitioners to manage loose skin.
How to Tighten Skin after Weight Loss
Here are approaches doctors recommend for their patients to improve elasticity, strength, and firmness post weight loss:
Incorporating specific resistance-based exercises into your routine can play a significant role in excess skin management. With less fat mass, muscles begin to take shape underneath the skin. The larger the muscles are, the more skin they take up, which means less excess skin. Unlike fat mass, specific muscles can be targeted with exercise. Performing resistance-based exercises 3 times per week for a given muscle group will support the growth of the muscle.
Consistency and progression are important aspects of muscle building. Muscles adapt very quickly when stressed with something challenging on a week to week basis. This means that after consistently exercising for 2 weeks in a row, muscles will become noticeably stronger. As one becomes stronger, it is important to recognize that muscles constantly need new stimulation to grow. It is suggested to progress the intensity of the exercise routine by either increasing the repetitions or weights used. The opposite is also true. Muscles will become noticeably weaker after taking 2 weeks off of exercise.
Aside from adding resistance-based exercises which build muscle, engaging in cardiovascular activity enhances blood circulation to improve the appearance of the skin. Performing vigorous activity also helps to get rid of toxins in the body and stimulate new skin cell production. Recommended cardiovascular exercises include hiking, dancing, burpees, rowing, and jumping. Medical providers can support their patients by recommending exercise plans that address their needs and encourage consistency.
Balanced Nutrition Intake
Food is essential in repairing the body; it provides nutrients and minerals to support the natural healing process, including increasing collagen production. Patients should consider foods rich in proteins, vitamin C (including citrus fruits, berries, bell peppers, kiwi, and leafy greens), and omega-3 fatty acids.
For example, vitamin C protects the skin from sun damage and is vital during collagen synthesis, while fatty acids improve skin elasticity. Staying hydrated is also vital to improve skin moisture and function.
Patients should adhere to a specified skincare routine to support restoration. This can include massaging, moisturizing, and using skin-firming creams, particularly those that contain retinoids and DMAE.
Applying sunscreen and limiting sun exposure is also important to protect the skin from the damaging effects of UVA/UVB rays. In this case, the medical provider should recommend sunscreen with the ideal SPF value for patients.
In some cases, non-medical interventions may fail to deliver the optimal results. Your Enara medical provider may recommend medical interventions for the management of loose skin based on the severity and patient reported impact. Examples include:
- Skin tightening surgery: Patients can undergo surgical options like abdominoplasty (tummy tucks), panniculectomy, and arm lifts to remove sagging skin. These procedures involve removing excess skin and repositioning the remaining skin for a firmer, toned look.
- Laser treatments: These are non-surgical, minimally invasive ways of tightening the skin; they’re ideal for stomach, face, neck, and jawline areas. The process involves using an infrared laser to heat and constrict the collagen, resulting in firmer skin.
- Radiofrequency treatments: In this treatment, doctors use an electromagnetic device that generates heat to boost the production of elastin, new skin cells, and collagen. This is a non-surgical treatment that lifts the appearance of sagging skin and is often combined with microneedling to rejuvenate the skin.
- Ultrasound treatments: For patients with moderately loose skin, ultrasound therapy can be a great option. It involves using ultrasound energy to boost collagen production, which helps to improve skin firmness.
The use of these procedures depends on the medical provider’s advice. Medical providers must guide patients through the different procedures and suggest options that will deliver effective, long-lasting results.
Best Practices for Maintaining Skin Elasticity
Maintaining skin elasticity and firmness is critical to prevent further loss. Hence, patients should adopt best practices for weight loss and skin care to avoid costly interventions. This includes:
- Gradual weight loss: Patients are recommended to take a sustainable weight weight loss approach to protect the skin and muscle mass.
- Consistent exercise: A consistent workout routine improves blood circulation to the skin, ensuring a steady supply of essential nutrients.
- Balanced nutrition: It’s advisable to eat lots of fruits and vegetables to nourish the skin. For example, lutein, found in spinach and kale, supports skin cell development. Other nutrients important for skin health include zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C, selenium, and protein.
- Sun protection: Patients should limit direct sun exposure, wear clothes that cover the skin, and use sunscreen to avoid the harmful effects of UV rays. These rays can damage skin cells, causing premature aging, and impacting the ability of the skin to repair itself.
- Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption: It’s healthier for patients to drop certain habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol use. Smoking and alcohol cause premature skin aging and increase inflammation of skin tissues.
- Compression garments: Garments like compression socks and shapewear help support loose skin after weight loss. They provide a non-invasive way to manage the discomfort of loose skin.
The best practices, when consistently practiced, can improve the skin’s ability to self-repair and support ample collagen production.
How Enara Health Keeps You In Shape During Weight Loss
Rapid weight loss can increase the likelihood of developing loose or excess skin. At Enara Health, we advocate for and offer sustainable weight loss, which involves a multidisciplinary team that supports patients throughout their journey.
The majority of our members are actively engaged in the Enara program for at least one year, affording the opportunity to learn, practice, and habituate healthful lifestyle changes. During the program, patients have access to medical providers, nutrition specialists, exercise specialists, and a psychologist via individual appointments, group classes, secure messaging, and asynchronous modules, ensuring personalized, comprehensive multidisciplinary care.
Through this holistic approach, Enara Health promotes gradual weight loss via balanced nutrition and activity, helping to mitigate the risk of excess skin.
Sustainable Weight Loss for Tighter Skin
Sagging and loose skin is one of the potential outcomes of shedding excess pounds. While this can impact a patient’s physical health and self-esteem, regular exercises, dietary changes, skincare routines, and medical procedures can help improve skin firmness.
It’s common for patients to have loose skin after significant weight loss, but most people experience it due to rapid and unsustainable weight loss. Instead, patients should lose weight gradually while using diet and exercise to ensure optimal skin elasticity and firmness. Enara provides a medically-guided weight loss program to support sustainable weight loss and ensure optimal patient health. Contact us today to learn more about our program.