100 lb. Club - Skin- How do you deal with it?

View Full Version : Skin- How do you deal with it?

09-07-2012, 01:06 PM
I'm having issues dealing with the repercussions of losing more than 1/3rd of my one time body weigh. My obesity has left me with so much excess skin, and I don't know how to handle it. At largest I was 310, now I'm at 197 and in between a size 14 and 12. My breasts are more or less gone, and my stomach, arms, and thighs have large amounts of saggy dimply wrinkly skin. It just hangs there. Being smaller is nice, but it still shows through and is obvious, to me anyway. Any ideas? I thought it would be easier.

09-07-2012, 01:19 PM
Have you incorporated weight training?

09-07-2012, 01:38 PM
:hug:Well, I think lots of us are going through this or will, so maybe we can share some ideas with each other. I agree about the WEIGHTS, plus I am doing some TONING EXERCISES each morning upon waking. I also do some more as the day goes on (a few minutes here & there whenever I think of it).

Aside from that -- the first thing that came to my mind when I read your post was -- HIDE IT! :lol: At this point, that is all I can do. I am gonna buy some smaller bras with uplift and maybe a little under-padding. I have bought a couple of those special briefs and will be buying some bicycle shorts in the future to help hold things in a bit. Body-shapers may work well for this too (think I'll try them as well). I will always have to wear something that covers my upper arms down to my elbows; yes, I have the bat-wings now. I am calling these my "camouflage" techniques ... ;)

And lastly -- TIME: I have heard others say that in time your skin can go in a bit more. Now it won't all go back perfectly, but once you maintain awhile, it can get a bit better. Some will opt for SURGERY, but that is a personal choice, and not everyone can or will want to go that route (Edit2Add: becuz of my age, health, and finances, this is not an option for me).

I hope this helps you a bit -- trust me, I know how you feel, becuz I'm in the same boat and I'm not finished yet. More so though, I have to tell you that I am with those that say that if this is the price I have to pay for losing this weight and feeling so much better & healthier; it is still very worth it to me, so I guess "acceptance" may be the key word here ... :hug:

Arctic Mama
09-07-2012, 01:44 PM
Skin is skin, there is t a ton you can do with worrying or surgery that time and fitness won't achieve, cheaper and less painfully. Even maintaining at the same weight for awhile I noticed my skin firming up. As mentioned, heavy lifting is the BEST way to manage it, and prevent that saggy, skinny-fat look we all hate.

Another thing worth looking into is skin brushing. My favorite workout system, TTap, has a skin brush and accompanying DVD that has excellent reviews and might be something worth checking out. Tighter, brighter, healthier skin is almost always a result of gentle, consistent brushing, and while it won't make you look like you were never obese, it will improve things for a lot less hassle and money than surgical removal (ow!).

09-07-2012, 02:50 PM
I'm down from 312 at my highest and started saving for plastic surgery. I'm only 27 and refuse to live with it for the rest of my life.

09-07-2012, 03:10 PM
Subbing. This is probably one of my biggest fears about losing weight. Does it make a difference how fast or slow you lose?

09-07-2012, 03:15 PM
Does it make a difference how fast or slow you lose?

Some people say it does, but I think once you get to a certain size, unless you're really young and your skin is still very elastic, it's not all going to bounce back the same way. Some people don't have trouble at all with excess skin, but for those of us who do, patience is key in dealing with it.

You really have to give your body time AFTER a major loss to sort of readjust to your new weight. And of course there are surgical options if you're still not happy once you get there. But I agree with the suggestions about weight training. The best thing you can do to minimize loose skin, aside from surgery, is to fill some of it with muscle.

Arctic Mama
09-07-2012, 03:25 PM
Emilymama - Not really, unless you're talking surgical weight loss. That seems to see much more sagging skin, for some reason, and I'm not sure speed is it. Sagging skin is worse when there is still subcutaneous fat in it, and I think surgical weight loss methods tend to consume more lean mass han some other methods, leaving patients with more and different fat deposits than of they lost by a more lean-mass-sparing method.

Most of it is genetic. I have some loose skin, though not exorbitant amounts, and lost my weight over the past four years with two pregnancy breaks in there. During those pregnancies, I am prone to lots of dark stretchmarks. My skin hasn't been very elastic, and so some of the sagging skin I assume is from babies, some from weight, all because my skin has a tendency to be less elastic than more. Genetics and age tend to be better predictors of skin bouncing back than most else. Some gals on here lose 100+ pounds with some sagging skin, some lose it with almost none. *ALL* look better than they did without the weight loss, even those with lots of sagging skin can usually wear sexy clothing without the skin being an obvious issue.

I don't want to make light of your concerns, but what is the bigger danger? Fat or loose skin?

What is going to damage your body and quality of life more? Some batwings or visceral fat packed around your organs and striating your liver?

It's really messing up priorities to be more concerned about vanity with a little skin than the very real consequences of bodyfat. It can get better, it usually does, and doesn't need operating upon except in very rare cases where it is causing infections or inhibiting movement. Most of us, even those who were morbidly obese (like me!) get away with relatively few physical reminders of our higher weights. But the focus must be on health, first, and if that is the aim of your diet and exercise regimens, the lesser issues usually fall nicely into line, too.

09-07-2012, 03:52 PM
@apparentlynothing...Three Libras reference? I am 23 and I do have a lot of hanging skin (upper arms and lower belly mostly) that I am already saving up money to remove. I have 50 more pounds to lose, and it does get a little better...BUT if it really bothers you, and surgery is a possibility...Look into it. I know I will never look how I want to look, or feel how I want to feel without surgical intervention.

09-07-2012, 04:08 PM
I have lots of loose skin. The only way to get rid of it is by surgery. I opt not to do that due to other medical and financial issues. I would do it , though .
Some of the posters have had surgery, they are scattered around through the different forums.

09-07-2012, 05:18 PM
Oh absolutely. I wouldn't purposely stop trying to lose weight because of the possibility of loose skin. Loss of weight with saggy skin is still better than being fat. I didn't say I was more concerned about the loose skin. :)

09-07-2012, 06:18 PM
I've lost about 120 pounds very slowly and I still have 90 to go, but I can certainly tell I'm totally going to have issues with loose skin. I'm already thinking about getting a breast lift once I've maintained my goal for a certain length of time, and I should probably think about surgery for my arms and tummy, and maybe even my upper thighs. I've never had a perfect body and don't expect surgery to be able to fix everything, but I'm certainly not going to be happy with how I'm going to end up naturally. :shrug:

09-07-2012, 08:18 PM
I don't worry too much because like the concensus here, I'd rather have loose skin than blubber. But I don't have any so far, I've only lost 33 pounds. In 2007 I lost 68 pounds and I didn't have any then either. I'm guessing around 100 pounds it will be more of an issue? I'm 35 yrs old and my skin is still pretty elastic, I don't have wrinkles yet. I'm taking lots of vitamins including E and B complex which is good for skin. I don't smoke, and I regularly use cocoa butter and skin firming lotion and SPF. Also I get lots of exercise. I don't know how much any of this will help but it can't hurt. I'll just hope for the best!

09-07-2012, 09:51 PM
I turned 30 less than a month ago. I have the yo-yo issue of having been up to 300 or so when i was 13-14 due to a childhood illness, got to 230 around 17, back up to 240 by 23, lost down to 184 by Atkins and elliptical, went through culinary school and was 220, had my gallbladder become diseased because of the Atkins, had a wreck... this time last year I was at 270. I'm at 197 today. I'm 5'9". When I got to 184 6 years ago i don't recall the skin being this loose and saggy. Is it an age thing? If I could afford to go right now, this very second, I would have every part of my body that needs it reconstructed at once. No questions, no regrets. I want to be able to put on a size L t-shirt that technically I fit in and not see ripples from my belly flubber. I have a shaper, but that isn't always practical. I'm a student in studio art. I get wet and muddy or covered in charcoal almost every day. Wearing an item that equates to a swimsuit isn't practical. I know it has to go via surgery. I'm just frustrated. I want to be able to run without my thigh skin getting irritated after so many miles.

And Mescelestus, most people have Jesus or vice versa, I have Maynard <3

09-07-2012, 11:55 PM
I just want to suggest a shaper product made by Sarah Blakely's Assets. It's the less expensive version of Spanx -- also made by Sarah Blakely. Assets are sold at Target. I wear the "long-line" shapers that have a high waist and stop just at your bra band. I've tried something similar before and they never stayed up -- always rolled down when sitting or bending. Assets don't! They're very comfortable and about the weight of a pair of pantyhose. I've worn the footless pant liner and the thigh-length one. Love them both! Tops and bottoms look smooth, and NO MUFFIN TOP or jiggle! Once you get used to it, you don't even notice it's there. Try it!

Also, I think the skin issue is very individual. My high weight was 350, and I'm at 237 now and older than you are. My skin is much better than I expected. Of course, I have more to lose, but I'm optimistic. I scrub in the shower with a scrubbie and moisturize with baby oil while still wet to hold in the moisture. And, I live in a very humid climate. Great for your skin, but bad for the hair! I may change my mind, but I'm not sure I will ever do surgery.

09-08-2012, 12:28 AM
Thanks so much, AwShucks! I will have to get to a Target! I have a shaper; it fits like a swimsuit. It's uncomfortable and makes you really hot. I'm kind of tall and lots of things don't fit right. They just don't make clothes for tall people. The straps dig into my shoulders like a bra that doesn't fit properly.

09-08-2012, 12:59 AM
You're welcome! The ones I described are hanging on the wall, like packages of pantyhose (baby blue pkgs). You can't really try them on, but they have a weight/height chart that is pretty true to size, I've found. Since I'm short waisted and only 5'5", I like to wear the next size down from where I really belong. Target will usually take back anything, too, if you have to return it. I hope you like it! Let me know!

09-08-2012, 02:28 AM
I'm 61, don't have wrinkles (due to good Italian genes, I guess!) and after losing 90 pounds last year I have a size 10-12 body in a size 12-14 skin. I've maintained for almost a year now. I think my neck looks better than it did. My upper arms and thighs are a little saggy, but no better than they were last year when I first hit 162. In fact, this is the reason I quit at 90 pounds when my goal was actually to lose 100. The difference between 80 and 90 pounds lost was very noticeable, so I assumed the difference between 90 and 100 would have an even greater impact on how loose my skin is. For reasons of 100% pure vanity, I stopped losing when I got to about 162 pounds. Even if I lost 20 more pounds (high school weight,) there would not be enough loose skin to think about surgery, so this is the way it will stay indefinitely.

I am, as I said, 61. I was at 250+ pounds for over 25 years. Between 25 and 35, I was between 155 and 180 pretty consistently, and before that I was 140 - 145. No real yo-yo dieting. At 36 I had some pretty big changes in my life and gained steadily until I hit 250 and stayed there. My mom and her sisters were all average weight and had no significant facial wrinkles in their 80s and 90s, so I'm glad to have inherited that trait. My face is not saggy. My upper arms, stomach, and thighs are a different story. Not too many people see me naked, so I guess this is OK - way better than being 250+.

If I were younger I might have kept losing and then considered surgery. At my age, it isn't as important to me. What is important to all of us is the improved health the weight loss brings. We need to focus on that and hide our flaws the best we can. I always marvel at the fact that being seen fat didn't bother me, but being seen saggy does. Go figure.


09-08-2012, 12:51 PM
@Apparentlynothing Perhaps you'll have to see when you're at goal what you're gonna do about the skin. I hate shapeware myself, I'll hardly ever wear it. 3 Libras, one of my fave songs ever...Maynard is my hero too, up there with Jesus. I listen to a lot of Tool and APC while I'm working out :)

09-08-2012, 01:03 PM
I think it really takes a couple of years for a body to adjust to its new skin after weight loss has stopped. My husband lost over 100 lbs 2 years ago, and while his excess skin has improved it has not disappeared - even with weight training.

I think there's a point at which there is just too much skin to firm up and the only way around it is to hide it or remove it.

I already have some - especially on my legs. Jury is out on whether i'll have surgery or not. CherryPie99 has a GREAT write up on skin surgery w/pics on her blog for those who are interested. I am kind of annoyed that I'm probably in a bigger size than most because of the extra skin, but enough to go through surgery - I don't know.

Sometimes, if you have enough excess skin and it's becoming a health issue (rashes, etc.) insurance will pay for the removal, but most of the time not.

09-08-2012, 01:48 PM
There is a large amount of information on the Body Image and Issues after Weight Loss (http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/body-image-issues-after-weight-loss-219/) section including discussions about excess skin and reconstructive surgery forum. You might want to check it out.

09-09-2012, 12:20 PM
Thanks everyone! This has been nice to have other people to talk to about it. No one in my daily life knows about my struggle. Cheryl, I'm going to check that board out next. Sounds like it may be more along the lines of what I need help with. Emotionally, my body is draining. No matter how much mass I lose I'll always have issues looking at myself and seeing anything other than a 300 lb walrus. In a way i suppose it's a bit like body dysmorphic, but even now I have legitimate reasons to see myself as disgusting. If I even had medical insurance I would likely be a candidate for removal. Alas, I'm a 30 yr old college student. I don't have much of anything but stress and knowledge, lol.