When the body gains weight, the skin expands to accommodate the additional body mass. When that extra weight is lost, there is the potential for excess skin to remain on the body. Factors such as the amount of weight lost, one’s age and genetics can influence whether they must deal with excess skin after losing weight, but each body is different and it’s impossible to know in advance how your body might react to large amounts of weight loss.
Who Might Have Excess Skin
Not every successful dieter must deal with excess skin, but there are some factors which can influence whether you’ll have this condition. As we age, the elasticity in the skin decreases; the older you are, the less capable your skin is of maintaining a taut shape after weight loss. In addition, losing great amounts of weight (more than 100 pounds) will require that the skin retract a significant amount and if the weight is lost at an accelerated rate, the skin may not have the appropriate time to retract properly. Generally speaking, the older you are and the more weight you lose, the greater chance there will be that excess skin may result. In addition, carrying extra weight for a long period of time can also diminish the skin’s capability to shrink after weight loss.
Where Excess Skin Occurs
Areas of the body that are most susceptible to excess skin are locations where fat is stored during weight gain. Common places where excess skin might occur are the stomach, outer thighs, upper arms, the back, the knees and the buttocks. Doctors refer to this hanging skin as “tissue laxity.”
Keeping Skin Healthy
Proper nutrition and exercise not only keeps the interior of your body in good working order, but it also improves the health of your skin. It is important to remember that the skin is the largest organ of the body and that it is a constantly changing surface. The skin is not a simple covering for the bones and organs, but is a dynamic and active part of the body.
In addition to making it easier to keep the weight off, losing weight at a slow and steady pace is one of the best ways to allow the skin to retract naturally, to decrease the chance you will have to deal with excess skin. Although there is no sure-fire way to prevent it in cases where a significant amount of weight is lost, taking care during the weight loss process can increase your chances that you will deal with as little excess skin as possible.
Dealing with Excess Skin after Weight Loss
Although there are a variety of creams and oils that suggest they can completely eliminate excess skin from the body, it is best to investigate these claims fully since hard evidence may be overstated through product advertisements.
Deciding whether cosmetic surgery might be an option is a decision that can be helped by engaging in extensive dialogue with your doctor. Surgery is a potent solution for excess skin, but the physical and mental strain on the body can be intense.