Losing a lot of weight is a major accomplishment. The obesity epidemic doesn’t seem to be slowing down, so anyone who gets back to a healthy weight deserves a round of applause. However, one of the things many successful “losers” find is that they have a lot of excess skin afterward. What happened, and how can you get rid of the flab that turned to flaps?
Why Our Skin Gets Loose
If you lose more than about 50 pounds in a short period of time, loose skin can result. Your skin hasn’t adapted to the rapid weight loss. Could it shrink on its own? It can, but there are a lot of factors that affect your skin’s elasticity, such as age, genetics, sun exposure, nutrition, and smoking. But it doesn’t always happen. If you lost a lot of weight too quickly or you’ve been overweight for some time, your skin could be permanently stretched. It’s like blowing up a balloon.
It is recommended that you don’t lose more than 1-2 pounds per week to allow the skin to adapt, but this isn’t always possible or even wanted. Obese individuals have to put their health first over their aesthetics and might have to lose extra weight as fast as possible to survive.
Can I Just Leave It?
Some don’t mind the loose skin, but there are reasons to worry about it. Depending on how saggy your skin has become, you can get rashes or yeast infections in the folds. If you choose not to get your skin surgically corrected, inspect your skin regularly for these and use body powders to absorb excess moisture.
Some people like to leave the loose skin as a reminder of how far they have come, but some hate it because of that reminder. If you want to get rid of loose skin, here’s what you need to do.
How To Deal With Loose Skin
The first thing to do if you have loose skin is wait. There are surgical procedures to remove excess skin, but these procedures can be quite involved and have a long recovery time. It is recommended that you stay at a stable weight for at least a year before you consider it. This will give your skin time to heal from the lost weight and will make the surgery less invasive. In the meantime, you can work on building up your muscles. Tighter muscles cause less sagging and it’s also simply a very good habit.
If you do decide to go for contour surgery after weight loss, be prepared. It can be a long and expensive process. It will depend on where your skin has sagged. A surgeon usually works on only a few areas at a time to let your body heal and improve recovery times. Body contouring can also leave scars that are hard to minimize, though clothing often covers the affected areas.
If you are interested in body contouring surgery after your weight loss, you need to speak with a surgeon first to decide what needs to be done. Be aware that insurance likely will not cover the procedure. If you are near our offices, please call us to make an appointment. We’ll be glad to discuss the pros and cons of body contouring surgery with you.