Loose Skin After Weight Loss.

Dear Davey,

I have had loose skin for about 2 years now and I don’t know how to make it go away. I got it when I lost a lot of weight from working out. Could you please give me and the other people out there suffering with loose skin some advice? Thanks!

From,
James

Dear James,

Congratulations on your weight loss! And a special congratulations for keeping the weight off for two years! That’s fantastic.

Loose skin is a common problem after weight loss, especially if a lot of weight is lost in a short period of time. The “elasticity” of skin depends on a number of factors. Some of these factors are beyond your control:

  1. Age. No surprise here. Younger individuals have more elasticity in their skin, and they tend to see a better recovery from loose skin following weight loss.
  2. Genetics. To a large extent, the firmness of your skin while aging is determined by genetic factors. So you can blame it on mom and/or dad, though such blame may prove unproductive. 😛

But many factors are within your control:

  1. Smoking. The skin of smokers ages faster than non-smokers.
  2. Weight loss rate. Losing weight faster than 2 pounds a week puts the dieter at a higher risk of loose skin.
  3. Weight gain time line. Individuals that gained weight quickly (and then drop it) are less likely to experience loose skin. Moreover, someone that has carried the extra weight for 10 years is at a higher risk for loose skin than someone who has been carrying the extra weight for 10 months.
  4. Sun exposure. Past and present sun exposure damages the skin and decreases elasticity.
  5. Water and proper nutrition. Staying properly hydrated with a healthy, high-vitamin diet (Vitamins C and E are especially recommended) keeps skins healthy.
  6. Build muscle. This is a big one. Adding muscle to your frame can help rebuild your shape and minimize loose skin. Hit the weight room often and hard.

So, it makes sense to focus on those factors that are within your control. Don’t smoke. If you have more weight to lose, release it slowly, and do it as soon as possible. Wear sunscreen. Stay hydrated and maintain a nutritional, vitamin-rich diet. And, last but not least, maintain a vigorous exercise program that includes strength training to build your muscles.

For some individuals, this won’t be enough. As a last resort, some individuals require surgery to remove the excess skin. The procedure is not for everyone; it is expensive and involves certain risks. As a general recommendation, it’s advised that individuals should wait 1 year (once their weight has stabilized) to consider this option and speak with a professional. But it’s truly a last resort.

I hope this helps, James. And again, congratulations on your weight loss!

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.

Comments

  1. Dear Davey,

    While your advice is sound (as always), it doesn’t really help the person who wrote you that message.

    I lost over 100 pounds 2 years ago, and I did this in a period of about 35 weeks. Yes, I know, too quickly. However, I already knew I was going to have loose skin, so before i started losing the weight, the loose skin wasn’t something i was thinking about, I just wanted the weight gone. I knew I was going to have the loose skin because a) I had already lost a lot of weight when I was 15 (17 years before losing weight this time) and got loose skin then (I didn’t really regain weight… I simply didn’t continue losing weight) and b) I had and still have stretch marks.

    When you have (loads of) stretch marks, no matter what other factors you take into account, your skin has lost its ability to stretch itself back. So, I already knew that surgery was my only option. So, last october, I had an abdominoplasty. Best decision of my life. I feel so much better about myself and my body now.

    However, people should not underestimate this surgery. It’s really an attack on your body. It takes months to recuperate (took me 3 months to be able to get back to the gym – torture!) and this surgery is in NO WAY a surrogate for working out.

    Also, working out in itself is actually a great way to get skin to tighten. Also make sure to eat enough fish while on your diet, as it is said to contain certain minerals which tighten the skin as well, and look into vitamin E creams and supplements if you’re worried about loose skin, as they’re supposed to help as well. (my surgeon actually prescribed them to tighten the skin around the areas he refuses to treat when I do have some loose skin, but which he feels I can fill with muscle and treat with creams, such as my chest).

    As for James… If, after two years, the skin still hasn’t tightened, well, I think he should look into surgery. Get yourself several appointments (if your finances allow all of this, obviously) with different surgeons, and in the end, select the one you feel most comfortable with. After all, this person will be cutting part of you away. All I can say is that, to me, it felt like a new start to my life.

    Vincent.

    • Do you have any permanent scars? That’s what I’m afraid of.

      • Yes, there are permanent scars, and pretty big scars too. They go from hip to hip. In my case, they also go up from that scar to just under my ribcage. However, they fade in color.

        The scars ARE permanent though. For me, that doesn’t matter….I just figured, would I rather have a more notmal body (but with a scar) or would I want to keep the excess skin? I picked the first.

        • Are they ugly scars? Are they still very noticeable when they fade? Is it something to be self-conscious about? 🙁

          • samuel degraw says:

            with stretch marks that is the only place the skin cant stretch back but you can restore them by using something to start the growth of new elastin and also they can be surgically removed

          • samuel degraw says:

            scars can be cut out after a few years and when they heal be thin unnoticeable lines

  2. I think this topic is very interesting, especially in the situation we arenow and the possibilities that are occurring

    very well made, thank you very much for the information.
    I will be really useful for all the work we are developing

  3. samuel degraw says:

    often times lose skin is caused by abnormal amounts of cortisol or the stress hormone. This abnormality can be balanced by epinephrine or adrenaline. Also when your losing weight things that calm down skin like stress solution from the bioelements line can help. And on top of that if your losing weight by counting calories instead of naturally then it will be very likely to happen. look at the gabriel method because it outline how to make your body want to be normal

  4. There is an easy way to prevent loose skin. When you start losing weight, apply a body lotion all over your body everyday – this will help your skin be more elastic which will help it ‘shrink’ at a reasonable rate while you lose fat. This should do the trick. It is the same with pregnacies. Apply a body lotion on your belly from when you start getting bigger and the skin will bounce back when the baby is born more easily. As always, drinking lots of water will also help.

  5. nicola a. says:

    Try dermarolling.

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