You worked hard and dropped the pounds, and now you want to know how to tighten loose skin after weight loss. Is surgery your only option? Not necessarily. It depends on your age, the length of time you were overweight and genetics. When a guy is overweight, his skin stretches to accommodate the extra pounds. After weight loss, his skin may not shrink or tighten back again. In fact, for men who lose a large amount of weight, the skin often hangs loosely or sags. If you are young, your skin may regain some of its elasticity with exercise. Older men, and guys who were overweight a long time before weight loss, may find it hard or impossible to tighten their skin with diet and exercise alone. Here are four things to consider after weight loss to help you deal with excess, sagging skin.
- Take care of your skin. Start the process of tightening loose skin with proper skin care. Exfoliate your skin every day, during your bath or shower. Exfoliation is simply the scrubbing away of dry, dead skin cells. Your skin naturally sheds dead cells on its own, but sometimes the dead cells can build up on the skin. Use a commercial or natural cleanser, exfoliating gloves or sponges or just a plain washcloth and slightly abrasive soap to wash your skin. Exfoliation is also good for circulation and skin growth.
- Give dry brushing a try. Daily dry brushing can tighten the skin and smooth out fat deposits under the skin, according to some sources. Many low-carbohydrate diet forums suggest dry brushing during and after weight loss, as a surgical alternative. If you want to give dry brushing a try, use a medium-bristle bath brush and work from your feet to your head. Use circular motions and brush away from the heart. Some people think dry brushing stimulates blood flow and the lymphatic system, helping fat cells to empty.
- Moisturize your skin. Be kind to your skin and moisturize after exfoliation and dry brushing. Moisturizers keep skin hydrated. According to bodybuilder Louis Dorman, yeast extract, aloe vera extract and soy protein are good ingredients to look for. Apparently, they help tighten skin and promote elastin and collagen production. Hyaluronic acid, a protein available in supplement form, is also known to rehydrate skin. Although it's found naturally in your skin, it can get depleted over time.
- Change your body composition. During and after weight loss, it’s important to hit the gym for regular workouts. Change your body composition by working on your ratio of body fat to lean body mass. Replace some of the fat pounds you lost with muscle. Muscle can dramatically transform the appearance of loose skin. Use skin fold calipers to measure your body fat. Then set a body fat percentage goal, and get to work!
- Time is on your side. Your loose, baggy skin will get tighter as you lower your body fat. Your skin will gradually tighten up again, at least partially, during the first few years following major weight loss. As long as you continue to exercise and maintain your weight loss, you will see improvement.
- Consider surgery as a last resort. If you have tried everything to tighten your skin and nothing has worked, surgery is an option. An abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck surgery, can remove excess skin, tighten the remaining skin and give you a flat stomach. Surgery can also remove the red and white stretch mark scars associated with weight loss.
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