You’ve worked hard to stick to that weight-loss diet, endured those butt-kicking workouts, and have gotten to the point where you’re proud of the pounds you’ve shed. But there is something still wrong. You’re still not comfortable in your skin. Literally!
The reason? Too much loose skin.
This is actually a very common issue among people who start out obese or overweight and then cut a substantial amount of weight.
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The Science Behind Loose Skin
You see, 80% of your skin’s structure consists of collagen, elastin, and various other proteins that make it elastic. When you add weight, the whole skin expands to accommodate your new size. Unfortunately, when you reduce in size, it does not shrink back to fit the new slimmer you.
You might note that this doesn’t happen the same way if you’ve been pregnant. The major difference is that pregnancy lasts for a relatively short period compared to weight gain. Most people who are overweight have packed on the pounds for years, and this is what inhibits the skin from shrinking back to its “original” size.
Think of it like a rubber band. If you use a rubber band briefly, it will snap back into its original shape once it is not in use anymore. But if you stretch out the rubber band for a long time and continue to add more and more pressure against its elasticity, it won’t be able to go back to its original form afterward.
While it might be hard to tighten that loose skin, fear not, it’s not impossible. Here are the top seven methods that we recommend for you.
1. Stay hydrated
Drinking a lot of water will keep your skin cells hydrated and therefore your skin will become smoother, radiant, and most importantly tighter. Everyone is different, so there isn’t an exact formula for how much water you need. So while ‘more is better' is the general rule, keep in mind there are dangers of drinking too much water.
2. Try resistance training
Doing resistance training exercises regularly will not only help you lose more weight but will also build your muscle mass. The more muscle you pack, the tighter your skin gets because the muscles will occupy most of the space that was filled with fat. As an added benefit, muscle mass helps you burn fat and increase your metabolism as well. So you’ll be able to keep up with your weight loss while tightening up as well.
3. Maintain a proper diet
As mentioned already, the skin is made up of proteins like collagen and elastin that make it elastic. If you want to take advantage of its elasticity and force it to shrink, you might want to include foods that will nourish your protein layers.
They are typical protein-rich foods like dairy, nuts, legumes, beans, and fish among others. So, make sure your diet has healthy proteins, and throw in some healthy oils too as they also rejuvenate your skin.
4. Consider collagen supplements
Collagen supplements contain collagen hydrolysate – a processed type of collagen. Although collagen hydrolysate is typically found in the connective tissues of animals, studies suggest that it may offer protective service to your skin’s collagen, and that is what will eventually nourish it and give it back its elasticity. If you don’t fancy taking supplements, you can make bone broth a part of your diet routine. It is rich in natural collagen. Not to mention super tasty.
5. Don’t stay in the sun for extended periods
Your sunbathing habit could be the reason why your skin isn’t tightening. The rays from the sun, while good for providing vitamin D and that nice tan, usually damage some skin cells and dry others out, limiting their ability to regenerate and achieve their original elasticity.
The same goes for chlorinated water. If you enjoy a regular swim in the pool, you might want to stay away from a chlorinated one because chlorine has the same effect on your skin as the sun. Don’t freak out and swear off the outside world forever, an occasional swim or sunbath will not have any adverse effects.
6. Give your skin attention
Treat yourself and your skin to a little pampering and see the results. That involves frequent exfoliation to remove dead skin cells, a hot bath with sea salts to enhance its tone, and application of essential oils and creams that have ingredients proven to protect the skin (like aloe vera, yeast extracts, and hyaluronic acid).
Doing all those things will certainly nurture your skin and enable its cells to regenerate. Still, on the topic of caring for your skin, another reason why your skin is not tightening might be the soaps and detergents you use. The harsh ones that contain high amounts of sulfates will definitely destroy your skin cells and prevent it from tightening. Take a minute to look at the labels on your soaps and lotions.
7. Medical treatment
If worse comes to worst and nothing else is working, there is the option of skin tightening surgery. All medical operations should be discussed with a qualified doctor or medical professional according to your personal condition. If you do opt for this option, there are various surgeries available to consider. They include:
- Abdominoplasty: surgery in which excess skin is removed from the belly.
- Thigh lift: removal of excess skin from the thigh areas.
- Brachioplasty: removal of excess skin from the upper arms.
- Lower body lift: this surgery involves removal of excess skin from the thighs, hips, buttocks, and belly.
- Upper body lift: this is the removal of excess skin from the back and breasts.
Which is right for you?
There you go. You’ve worked so hard and lost all that weight; it would be a shame not to be able to show off your effort because you’re embarrassed about a little extra skin. See which of these options work for you, or try a combination of them. Then all you’ll have to do is get out there with your fabulous self and take in all those compliments you so rightfully deserve! You’ve earned it.
Feature photo: TipsTimes