Losing a significant amount of weight is no easy feat. It’s a true testament to one’s drive, passion, and determination.What can leave some of us feeling disheartened, however, is the loose skin that can sometimes be the result of having a successful weight loss journey.
Loose skin or body fat?
In some situations, what you may believe to be excess skin is actually body fat. So how can you tell the difference?Pinch the area where you have loose skin. If you can grab more than a few millimetres, the chances are it is excess fat and not loose skin. This is good news since once that fat is lost through diet and exercise your skin is more likely to become tighter and more toned.
Why loose skin happens
There are a few factors that affect how much or the degree of loose skin you may experience after losing a considerable amount of weight
Amount of weight lost: As you can imagine, the more weight you’ve lost, the more likely you are to have loose skin. Someone who has lost 30 pounds may not have any loose skin, while someone who has lost 100 pounds or more is more likely to experience hanging skin.
Weight loss timelapse: The faster you lose weight, the less time your skin has to catch up and recover. It’s important to note that the duration of how long you’ve been overweight will also play a role, with those who have been overweight for a longer period being more prone to loose skin.
Skin elasticity: Generally speaking, the younger you are, the more elastic your skin should be and the less loose it should be after weight loss. Genetics also play a major role, however, which is why some women may “bounce back” more easily than others regardless of age.
Where loose skin is most likely to strike
The most notable area affected by loose skin is around the abdomen. There may be a slight sag to the skin, or it may appear more like a skin flap that can reach well below your waist.There are other areas where women, in particular, may experience loose skin, such as:
Back of the arms
Around the bra line
Dealing with loose skin: how to prevent it
The number one step to avoiding or reducing loose skin is to take your weight loss journey slow and steady. Many health professionals recommend an ideal weight loss of 500g to 1kg each week as this gives your skin time to recover.Another important step to preventing saggy skin is to exercise. When we build up muscle, we’re able to shape the tissue beneath the skin, and our muscles can also give the skin greater support. You can literally reshape your body and make any loose skin appear more taut and toned.Maxine’s Challenge can help in both respects. Our supportive community of trainers, nutritionists and challenge participants all help one another reach goals through diet tips, exercise suggestions and ongoing encouragement (be sure to check us out and sign up for our next challenge!).What won’t help your sagging skin (though advertisers will try to have you believe otherwise) are skin creams and body wraps. DIY body wraps involving plastic wrap around the midsection can be particularly dangerous since these can lead to dehydration and cut circulation to your organs.If you do find yourself dealing with excess skin, compression garments can help you remain comfortable while working out at the gym. Should you have a lot of excess skin, however, keep in mind that this may be adding 20 or more pounds to the front of your body and may be having a negative impact on your balance and your frame.
Other options for removing excess skin
Diet and exercise are your two leading weapons when it comes to combating excess skin. But in some situations, even this winning duo won’t be enough.The good news is that those with mild to moderate loose skin may not need to undergo any invasive procedures to get rid of the skin. Trusted dermatologists can offer a variety of non-invasive skin tightening options that use ultrasound energy and radio frequencies to help tighten and tone your skin.For those with a lot of excess skin, who experience regular chaffing or are suffering from skin infections as a result of hanging skin, surgery may be the most effective treatment available. This option shouldn’t be taken lightly, however, as it does also require a 6-month long commitment from you to keep the weight off so your skin can recover and so that you’ll enjoy long-lasting results.Loose skin may be a nuisance and can take an unfortunate toll on one’s self-confidence. If you’re dealing with excess skin, don’t forget to first applaud yourself on your weight loss journey. Then make a point to speak with your doctor about your skin tightening options to improve your body’s appearance and functionality.