Here is how to tighten loose skin after weight loss

Here is how to tighten loose skin after weight loss
  • PublishedJune 3, 2020

Nothing is rewarding than losing significant amounts of pounds to an obese person. However, losing significant weight comes with a lot of good and bad.

For example; when one loses a lot of weight, he/she reduces the risk of various chronic diseases. At the same time, significant weight loss leaves behind a lot of loose skin, which negatively affects a person’s general body appearance and their quality of life.   

This article takes a close look at how to tighten loose skin after weight loss. We will also provide relevant information on natural and medical solutions that can help tighten and get rid of loose skin.

Tightening loose skin after weight loss is done by regular body exercise, losing more weight, massage, cosmetic procedures, surgical procedures, use of supplements, and use of firming creams.

So what is this loose skin?

Loose skin is excess subcutaneous body fat, covered by skin, and hangs around immediately after weight loss or after you have hit your goal weight. This subcutaneous fat also known as soft fat is in most cases confused with plain or old skin. This type of fat is stubborn in a way that it can take a long time to disappear after you’ve lost weight or may even stay permanently.

What causes loose skin or how does lose skin come about?

The skin protects our inner organs from the outside environment and it is the largest organ in our bodies. The skin’s innermost layers are made of proteins called collagen and elastin. The former, collagen is 80% of the skin structure and it is responsible for skin’s firmness and strength. Later, elastin provides the required skin elasticity to keep the skin tight.

When you gain weight, the skin is stretched or expands to give room for increased growth especially the abdomen and other parts of the body. When the skin has been stretched for a long period, the protein fibers collagen and elastin become damaged and lose their elasticity (ability to retract). 

So when you lose weight, this excess fat hangs from the body. The more weight you lose the more the effect of loose skin you get.

The common instances when people experience loose skin are weight loss, pregnancy, and aging effects.

The common places where people experience loose skin include;

  • Legs
  • The upper arms
  • Belly
  • Face
  • Neck

Can loose skin go or retract on its own?

Tightening loose skin without any form of intervention is hard especially in adults since adults produce limited collagen and elastin. Patients who may see a significant or positive change in the loose skin maybe those without stretch marks and the young who still have reasonable skin quality.

Natural ways of how to tighten loose skin after weight loss

Having loose skin is not the end of the world. Although you have to be concerned, it should not worry you because; you can tighten your skin and show off a toned, lean, and healthy body.

There are many options for tightening loose skin including surgery and non-surgery procedures. However, what works for you will depend on many factors including;

  • The length of time one has been obese
  • Your age
  • The amount of weight lost
  • The part of the body that has loose skin
Below are the strategies that can help you go from loose to lean so that you improve the look and health of your skin.

1. Exercise

One sure way of decreasing the appearance of loose skin from weight loss is by building muscle mass. In addition to burning more calories, strength-training exercises are some of the best ways the young or old can build muscle mass to lessen the appearance of loose skin.

For those of you, who get loose skin through pregnancy; always talk to your doctor before you start on any exercise regimen. This is because some complicated births like C-section may not accommodate certain exercise moves.

2. Lose more weight

Just like we have discussed in the previous paragraphs, the largest percentage of loose skin is the stubborn subcutaneous fat. Therefore, losing more of this fat can help firm your skin.

3. Try massage

how to tighten loose skin after weight loss
Image by Jürgen Rübig from Pixabay

Massage is known for increasing blood flow as well as promoting proper cell function. In the study to look at the effects of a skin-massage device on the expression of human dermis proteins and facial wrinkles, it was established that women who combined a hand-operated facial massager with cream had better results. Salt or sugar scrub can also increase blood flow.

4. Use of firming creams

Firming can improve the appearance of loose skin especially crepey skin. Crepey skin can be a result of aging, lack of moisture, or excessive weight loss.  One of the best choices of firming creams would be that which contains retinoid.

Retinoid prompt surface skin cells to turn over and die rapidly to give way for new cell growth.

Retinoids also hamper the breakdown of collagen and thicken the dipper layer of skin where wrinkles start.

Other non-natural ways of how to tighten the skin after weight loss 

5. Cosmetic procedures

Cosmetic surgeons can effectively tighten crepey skin on the face, neck, and other body parts, to improve body appearance and possibly postpone surgery. Some of the common cosmetic procedures include;

Chemical peels

This is the removal of the outer layer of the old skin to decrease the appearance of loose, sagging, or wrinkled skin on the body. For example face and neck. The skin underneath the old skin is usually smoother with fewer wrinkles.

  •  Laser peeling

This is similar to the chemical peel in that it removes the outermost layer of the skin. It warms the layers underneath the top layer to promote collagen production.

  • Ultrasound procedure

Here, ultrasound energy is transmitted through the skin surface to heat deeper layers to stimulate the production of collagen.

  • Radiofrequency treatments

This is a non-invasive tightening treatment that uses radiation to heat the outer layer of the skin to stimulate collagen production. 

  • Neuromodulators

Neuromodulators such as Botox help to eliminate the lines on the forehead, between the eyebrows, and around the eyes. This is done by relaxing the muscles responsible for the development of static and dynamic lines or wrinkles

6. Use of supplements

Like we explained in the previous paragraphs, the body needs proteins, collagen, vitamin C, and more for healthy and youthful skin. Therefore supplementing these nutrients may reduce the negative effects of loose skin and skin aging. For example; one study in 2015 indicated that supplementing collagen may curb the negative effects of skin aging. Some of the supplements you can use include;

  • Collagen hydrolysate
  • Protein this contains amino acids which are essential in the formation of collagen
  • Vitamin C
  • Gelatin this is also a building block for collagen

7. Body-contouring Surgery

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

People who lose a significant amount of weight may require or need to undergo surgery to remove excess loose skin. With body contouring surgery, an incision is made to remove the loose skin or excess fat and after stitched back. Some examples of body-contouring surgeries include;

  • Upper-body lift; the removal of loose fat from breasts and back
  • Lower-body lift involves the removal of fat from thighs, buttocks, and belly
  • Tummy tucks which are the removal of the loose skin from the abdomen
  • Arm lift; where the skin is removed from the upper arms.

Surgical vs non-surgical procedures which is better? 

Not every patient is a good candidate for surgical skin tightening, and likewise not every patient is a good candidate for non-surgical skin tightening procedures. Either of the two can work best in some cases. The question to ask ourselves is “how do we know which method to choose”

Generally, patients whose skin is non-redundant of non-pendulous can go for non-surgical methods. Surgery is best for candidates that have pendulous skin. However, that alone is not enough for you to decide which way to take. Always check with a physician to guide you on the way forward.   

What foods help to tighten loose skin?

The foods to eat to tighten loose skin include;

Eat enough proteins

Proteins maintain your skin moist, elastic, and wrinkle-free. Studies have linked high-protein foods to skin health and youthful appearance. Proteins also help to build more muscle so that you can lose more fat. Foods rich in protein include;

  • Lean meat
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Milk and yogurt

Eat fruits and veggies

We all know that eating fruits and vegetables improves the general health of your body. Research shows that people whose foods are dominated by fruits and vegetables live longer, disease-free compared to those that rarely eat fruits. Fruits contain nutrients like Vitamin C which is a super antioxidant that promotes radiant skin.

The fruits and vegetables you can eat include;

  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Guava
  • Kiwi fruits

What exercises help tighten loose skin after weight loss? 

how to tighten loose skin after weight loss

Many exercises can tighten skin on the belly, thighs, arms, back, and butt after a significant weight loss. Loose skin happens especially after losing a large amount of weight and it is always tough to get rid of. Fortunately, there are toning exercises that along with eating a healthy diet can help you burn that extra flab and tighten the skin.  These include;

  • Yoga
  • Push-ups
  • Superman
  • Sit-ups
  • Wall assisted handstand
  • Running
  • Dancing
  • Jogging

How long does it take for skin to retract after weight loss? 

Tightening loose skin can take anywhere from weeks, months, and even years depending on how much loose skin you have, skin quality, age, and genetics. 

What are the disadvantages of loose skin?

Loose skin due to significant weight loss comes with a lot of challenges which include the following

Physical discomfort

Loose skin after weight loss is intolerable and always interferes with your normal activities. One study that looked at 360 adults that had lost about 50kg observed this same problem. 

Hinders physical exercises

With a lot of loose skin sagging all over the body, physical exercises become practically impossible. According to research that analyzed 26 women, it was indicated that 76% of the women reported that flappy skin limited their exercise mobility and 45% stop exercise completely

Skin irritation and breakdown

Some people with loose skin experience skin pain, ulcers, and infections.

Poor body image

Flappy skin normally affects body shape, mood, and confidence negatively.

Bottom line

For small to moderate amounts of weight loss, loose skin is likely to retract with the help of natural remedies. However, for significant or major weight loss you may need body-contouring surgery or other medical procedures to successfully tighten loose skin.


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