Weight loss is an impressive achievement that significantly reduces the risk of various diseases that plague a person throughout his life. Losing excess weight is a desired and expected condition, it is often accompanied by unpleasant sagging skin, which can negatively affect our self-esteem and hence our quality of life. In this article you will find out what causes sagging skin after losing weight. Here you will also find information on natural and medical solutions that help you tighten it.
What causes sagging skin after weight loss?
The skin is the largest organ in the human body, which forms a protective barrier against the environment. The innermost layer of the skin is made up of proteins, including collagen and elastin. Collagen, which makes up 80% of the skin’s structure, ensures its firmness and strength. Elastin provides elasticity and helps your skin stay firm.
When overweight, the skin expands to make room for the growing abdomen and other parts of the body. Pregnancy is an example of this enlargement. Stretching of the skin during pregnancy occurs within a few months, and its removal usually occurs within a few months after the birth of the baby. But this is a natural physiological phenomenon for a short time, so young mothers usually have no problems recovering.
Unfortunately, most people who are overweight and obese carry their extra weight for years, often starting in childhood or adolescence. When the skin is significantly stretched and remains so for a long period of time, the collagen and elastin fibers are damaged and then we observe relaxation. As a result, the skin loses some of its ability to shrink.
Therefore, when someone loses a lot of weight, the skin feels superfluous. In general, the greater the weight loss, the more pronounced the effect of sagging skin. Moreover, researchers report that patients who undergo weight loss surgery produce less new collagen. Therefore, its presence in the composition of the skin is lower than collagen in young and healthy skin.
Summary: Skin that has been stretched during weight gain often loses its ability to shrink after weight loss due to damage to collagen, elastin and other components responsible for its elasticity.
Factors that affect the loss of skin elasticity
Several factors contribute to sagging skin after weight loss:
- Duration of overweight: In general, the longer someone has been overweight or obese, the weaker their skin becomes after losing weight due to loss of elastin and collagen. And these are especially important elements for keeping her young.
- Amount of weight lost: Weight loss of 46 kg (100 pounds) or more often results in more sagging skin than more modest weight loss.
- Age: Older skin has less collagen than younger and tends to be more relaxed after weight loss.
- Genetics: Your genes can greatly affect how your skin responds to weight gain and loss.
- Sun exposure: Chronic sun exposure has been shown to reduce the production of collagen and elastin in the skin, which can contribute to sagging skin, but the same goes for excessive sun exposure, which is definitely not healthy. So moderate sun exposure and shade will keep your skin healthy.
- Smoking: Smoking reduces collagen production and damages existing collagen. The result is sagging skin.
Problems with sagging skin
Loose skin caused by severe weight loss can cause physical and emotional problems in humans:
- Physical discomfort: Excess skin can be uncomfortable and interfere with normal activity. A study of 360 adults found that this problem is most common in people who have lost 50 kg or more.
- Decreased physical activity: In a study of 26 women, 76% reported that sagging skin limited their mobility during exercise. Moreover, 45% of them say that they have stopped exercising because the swaying skin attracts the attention of others during sports and makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Skin irritation: It was found that out of 124 people who underwent plastic surgery for tightening, after the operation 44% of them reported pain, ulcers or infections on the skin.
- Bad image: Relaxed skin from weight loss can negatively affect a person’s self-esteem and mood, because his body does not look good.
Natural skin tightening agents
Here we will introduce you to some natural remedies that can to some extent improve the strength and elasticity of the skin in people who have lost a small or moderate amount of body weight.
Regular strength training is one of the most effective ways to build muscle mass in both young and adults. In addition to helping you burn more calories, increasing muscle mass can also help improve the appearance of sagging skin.
Collagen hydrolyzate is similar to gelatin. It is a processed form of collagen that is found in the connective tissue of animals. Although not tested in people with sagging skin, studies show that collagen hydrolyzate may have a good effect on skin collagen.
In a controlled study, it became clear that the strength of collagen increased significantly after four weeks of taking collagen peptides and this effect lasted for 12 weeks.
Collagen hydrolyzate is also known as hydrolyzed collagen and is available in powder form. Another popular source of collagen is bone broth.
Nutrients important for the production of collagen and other components of healthy skin:
- Protein: Adequate protein is vital for healthy skin, and the amino acids lysine and proline play a direct role in collagen production.
- Vitamin C: It is needed for collagen synthesis and also helps protect the skin from sunburn.
- Omega-3: These fats are found in oily fish and can help increase skin elasticity.
- Water: Maintaining good hydration can improve the appearance of the skin. One study found that women who increased their daily water intake also significantly improved their skin’s hydration.
Using the so-called “Firming creams”
Many firming creams contain collagen and elastin. These creams may give the skin a slight tightening, but the molecules are too large to be absorbed through the skin, so the effect is temporary. In general, collagen must be created from the inside out.
All of these natural topical remedies help to tighten sagging skin after pregnancy or weight loss, but they are not very effective. It is best to create conditions for your body to start producing collagen and elastin again.
Medical treatment for tightening sagging skin
After major weight loss, surgery is usually needed to tighten sagging skin.
Contouring the body through surgery
Those who have lost a significant amount of weight through bariatric surgery or other weight loss methods often undergo surgery to remove excess skin. In such an operation for contouring the body, a large incision is made and excess skin and fat are removed. The incision is sutured with a fine cosmetic suture to minimize scarring.
Specific body contouring operations include:
- Abdominoplasty: Removal of skin from the abdomen
- Removal of skin from the abdomen, buttocks and thighs
- Removal of skin from the chest and back
- Removal of skin from the inner and outer thighs
- Brachioplasty: Removal of skin from the upper arms.
Body contouring surgeries usually require a hospital stay of one to four days. Recovery time at home is usually two to four weeks. Some complications, such as bleeding and infections, can occur after surgery.
Most studies have found that body contouring operations improve the quality of life in obese people. However, it should be noted that deterioration of the quality of life is often observed in people who have undergone the procedure.
Alternative medical procedures
Although body plastic surgery is the most common procedure for removing sagging skin, there are also options with a lower risk of infections:
- VelaShape The system uses a combination of infrared light, radio frequency and body massage to reduce sagging skin.
- Ultrasound: Ultrasound treatment can reduce pain after plastic surgery and other side effects of sagging skin.
In conclusion, it can be said that the problem of sagging skin goes hand in hand first with the accumulation and retention of excess weight for a long time. And secondly, with fast and unhealthy weight loss. Therefore, it would be good to monitor your weight and not to allow it to increase excessively, because this will inevitably lead to health problems. Loose skin is one of them and it should not be underestimated. And when this has happened – to seek the most healthy and risk-free methods for solving it.