Sagging skin and weight loss
How many of you have wondered about sagging skin? How many have wondered how to get rid of it? Well, today I’m here to help you a bit. I work for a medical cosmetic and reconstructive surgery practice in New Jersey and I get this question in emails all the time. People want to lose weight but are concerned about sagging skin. First, let me tell you that I am not in a position to give advice to anyone, not a dietician or a plastic surgeon, but I work for many surgeons and all my information comes directly from them. The first thing they will tell you is not to worry about sagging skin. Being healthy and wanting to be healthy is your number one job. Being healthy leads to a happier person, a happier person leads to a happy and healthy life. I will explain in more detail why this is so.
What happens to our skin?
Saggy skin occurs when you lose a certain amount of weight faster than your skin has time to regress, so pregnant women after giving birth will have some sagging skin, people going through a slight weight loss to severe they will also have sagging skin. Loose skin occurs because once your body stretches due to weight gain or pregnancy; your skin loses its elasticity. To better understand what happens to our skin when we lose weight, we must first take a quick look at how we burn fat. When we lose mass by burning fat, the fat does not simply disappear as we would like, but our fat changes shape. When we eat, glucose and sugar take advantage of the carbohydrates we consume; This becomes our body’s first source of fuel and is stored in the form of glycogen to be released into the bloodstream as needed. Once our bodies run out of this energy, fat takes over during a process called ketosis. During ketosis, our hormones activate an enzyme in fatty tissue that is turned on to release triglycerides which are then broken down into three glycerol components and three fatty acid chains in a process called lipolysis. The liver then absorbs the glycerol for energy and the fatty acids move into the muscles for energy. Because fatty tissue is stripped of some of its components, it shrinks and so does the skin, but as previously stated only to a limited extent. The skin stretches because rapid weight gain or growth (eg, pregnancy) outpaces collagen production in the skin, causing the areas to stretch too much. Just as plastic will tear when overstretched, so will skin in terms of stretch marks. In cases of massive weight loss, where people lose 100 pounds. Time and time again, there are extra skin folds left because the skin has been stretched so much that it hangs from the thinner body like a rubber band that has lost its elasticity. In cases of moderate weight loss, the skin can certainly shrink to fit the new body size due to its elasticity. However, collagen fibers weaken with age and some other factors result in wrinkles. The factors that determine the elasticity of your skin depend on the individual and include whether the individual smokes, their race, sun damage, genetics, and even how often their weight has fluctuated greatly.
So, in a sense, the actual amount of loose skin you may have is unknown as it depends on many other factors and also why concern about loose skin shouldn’t be a factor in your hopes of losing weight. The desire and effort to be healthy will do your body and your life a million more favors than worrying about sagging skin. Being healthy and taking the necessary actions to be healthy will increase your motivation in life, your self-confidence, your work ethic, whatever.
Mild to moderate weight loss
In cases of mild to moderate weight loss, surgery is not required and sagging skin can be prevented. As mentioned above, a protein in the skin called elastin allows the skin to contract to a normal size. However, when losing weight, losing 20 to 30 pounds is very different from losing 80 pounds. or more. For moderate weight loss, there are ways to reduce the resulting excess skin through exercise, muscle building, proper diet, staying hydrated, and slowly losing weight. Exercise that includes increasing muscle tone can tighten connective tissue and help tighten the skin, as it essentially acts as a skin filler rather than fatty tissue. Consuming the right amount of food and water every day will ensure that your skin absorbs the necessary nutrients. Water is a crucial component in maintaining the elasticity of the skin and you should drink at least 2 liters per day. The two ingredients that keep the skin supple and elastic are elastin and collagen, the protein-rich foods that help form them are found in cottage cheese, legumes, tofu, milk, beans, seeds, nuts, and fish. For optimal absorption, try to consume these protein calories immediately after your workout. Intense diets and excessive amounts of exercise can quickly shed muscle and fat, resulting in a great loss of support for the skin, as the underlying muscle structure that holds the skin against the body is lost. It’s important to aim to lose a pound or two of fat per week and make sure to include weight lifting to keep your muscles strong and capable. Saggy skin can occur and that’s okay, it’s natural, and it will shrink to some degree over time. When this occurs, it is important to nourish and care for the skin through a daily exfoliation to remove dead skin cells and increase circulation. Skin tightening creams with ingredients like aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, yeast extract, vitamin E, C, A can help hydrate and increase the formation of collagen and elastin. Make sure to stay away from harsh soaps and shampoos while limiting the amount of sun exposure. Tanning booths and chlorinated water will decrease the elasticity of the skin.
Severe weight loss
As mentioned above, in cases of severe massive 100 pound weight loss. Over and over again through traditional weight loss or weight loss surgery, there are serious health problems. First, weight loss surgery is not a quick fix, surgeons recommend having a regular diet and exercise plan even after surgery to keep your weight stable and ensure surgery efforts are sustained. Surgery to lose weight over 100 pounds. it will result in sagging skin and although medical surgeons will remove the weight, the excess skin will not be removed. This is something that not all patients know in advance, which causes patients to have a poor body image, as it was not what they expected, which sometimes caused emotional stress. The excess skin that results from weight loss surgery and severe weight loss (over 100 pounds) can cause health defects just because there is so much loose skin that the skin becomes a health problem in its own right. Skin folds from massive weight loss can result in psychological and physical problems. The physical problem that results from loose skin like an apron is intertrigo, a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection that often occurs due to the difficulty in keeping these folds of excess skin clean and dry. The skin can also cause back pain and ulceration. Psychological problems occur when expectations for body image are not met; a person can lose more than 100 pounds and not realize the effects of sagging skin. So your incredible effort to lose weight results in apron-shaped skin folds. There are a few treatment options for these severe cases of massive weight loss, and most are resolved with plastic surgery. Post-bariatric surgery and body lifts involve many areas of the body, as patients have sagging skin not only on the abdomen, but also on the face, neck, thighs, buttocks, arms, and breasts. The surgery will leave scars small and large, although most patients find them acceptable and enjoy more self-confidence when wearing a bathing suit. Depending on the patient, procedures can be selectively chosen by focusing on the most problem areas. For example, a patient who has lost a moderate amount of weight but has a mild amount of sagging skin can simply undergo a tummy tuck to remove the remaining fat and skin in the abdomen area. Men who have gone through massive weight loss sometimes result in sagging or large breasts, also known as gynecomastia. Here liposuction alone can be successful, however this is not typical and a breast augmentation or reduction may be necessary. Every individual is different, so it is crucial to speak first or have a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon. Your surgeon will be able to identify if you are a good candidate for surgery and will guide you through different procedures that will ultimately give you the satisfying body you would like to achieve. There are insurance options for severe cases such as those mentioned above; This is because excess skin can cause serious medical problems and is not just cosmetic. Again, it is best to speak with a surgeon to create a comprehensive plan that is best for you.