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How to Get Rid of Loose Skin After Weight Loss Surgery
Following weight loss surgery, patients undergo drastic weight loss in a relatively short period of time. In many cases, weight loss surgery patients carried around significant excess body fat for years prior to their procedure, which weakens the skin’s elasticity and results in loose skin after losing weight.
For bariatric surgery patients, the sight of saggy skin can undermine their confidence, and even cause new problems, such as chafing and irritation, but these outcomes are not an inevitability. Each person reacts differently to the rapid weight loss from bariatric surgery.
There are a number of ways of managing and reducing loose skin after weight loss, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach. To find the right approach, it’s best to start with the factors that created the loose skin in the first place.
So, why do some people have loose skin after drastic weight loss and others don’t?
The skin is the body’s largest organ, and it can go through dramatic changes throughout a person’s lifetime.
Take, for example, the weight gain that women experience during pregnancy. The skin gradually stretches over the course of the pregnancy and slowly retracts in the months following the delivery. But, when dealing with longer time frames and weight gain for other reasons, the skin’s elasticity does not recover in the same way.
Many factors influence the extent to which a person’s skin can stretch and retract after weight loss, including:
Our skin loses elasticity over time, there’s simply no way around it. Older bariatric surgery patients tend to have more issues with loose skin than younger patients.
The genetic lottery plays a large role, as different people have radically different responses to weight gain and weight loss. But the genetic factors that influence the skin’s response to body composition changes remain poorly understood.
In general, the longer a patient’s struggle with obesity, the greater the chances of loose skin following drastic weight loss. Similarly, losing large amounts of weight (100 pounds or more) often results in saggy skin, at least in the short term. Because patients spend a long time at a certain size, it can take a while for their bodies to respond when they reach their goal weight.
For some people, skin care is a priority, but others neglect it altogether, which can greatly influence how the skin responds to rapid weight loss. Certain lifestyle choices, such as excessive sun exposure and smoking, can reduce the skin’s elasticity because they undermine collagen production.
To be clear, there is no skin tightening silver bullet that can make loose skin quickly snap back to its original shape. But people who want to tighten sagging skin after significant weight loss have several options at their disposal, each with varying costs and benefits.
There are a variety of easily accessible nutritional supplements and skin care products that can improve skin elasticity, such as collagen, omega-3 fatty acids, products fortified with hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants. They are not an overnight solution to loose skin, but they can provide the foundation for long-term improvements in skin health and tighten loose skin over time.
Note: Be skeptical of so-called “miracle” solutions. Some products claim to help tighten the skin, there is no magic cream that will instantly increase the elasticity of your skin
While it might seem paradoxical for people who have tried so hard to lose a significant amount of weight, adding some body mass (the right kind of mass) can help reduce loose skin. By increasing lean muscle mass through resistance training, patients can not only increase their overall health and sense of well being but also reduce the appearance of loose skin.
Compression garments, such as wraps, girdles, sleeves and legging, can help reduce chafing or irritation, especially during physical activities when people are still trying to lose weight.
Plastic surgery procedures, ranging from a tummy tuck to body contouring surgery, which is essentially a complete body lift surgery, are options that physically remove extra skin.
Body contouring procedures can be general or specific to certain body parts, but they all involve large incisions where surgeons remove excess skin and fat. Many people are surprised to learn that, although effective at reducing sagging skin, these procedures are often more traumatic than bariatric surgery.
Body contouring or skin tuck surgeries are major operations that require a general anaesthetic, a hospital stay of several days, and several weeks of recovery time. Also, there is always the risk for complications that might require corrective surgery, as well as infections.
If you have been considering weight loss surgery but are concerned about the prospects of loose skin after the procedure, contact the team at Clinique Michel Gagner. As experts in the field of bariatric surgery, they can allay your concerns and provide a wealth of information about how weight loss surgery can improve your quality of life.