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The Skinny On Loose Skin

Loose skin is a consequence of weight loss. But there are a few things I'm doing to minimize excess skin while I'm losing weight.

Yep, I’ve got loose skin. There are a few things I’m doing to decrease excess skin while I’m losing weight.

While striking the downward dog pose in yoga class, I couldn’t help but notice the loose skin around my knees. Grrreat. When I started my weight loss journey in 2012, I knew that loose skin was going to happen.

I’m in my mid 40s so it’s not like my skin will spring back completely once I’m thin.

Still, seeing it is annoying.

I’m not opposed to plastic surgery to get rid of excess skin. After all, having a lot of loose skin can cause lots of medial problems like intertrigo – a bacterial, fungal or viral infection – because you can’t keep the folds of skin clean and dry. Yikes!

I want to do what I can to decrease  the need for going under the knife.  Here are some of the things I’m doing to help tighten my skin:

  1. Slow Weight Loss — As much as I bitch about the speed of my weight loss (oh, and I do!), losing it slowly is a good thing. It gives my skin time to adjust to my body’s changes.
  2. Drink Lots O’ Water – Water is key to maintaining your skin’s elasticity. I drink more than 2 liters a day. It’s helped with my cracked, dry skin problem too (cracks are gone).
  3. Eat Foods Rich In Protein – To keep your skin elastic, your body needs to create the elastin and collagen. Certain foods high in protein (cheese, seeds and nuts) contain components that form elastin and collagen.
  4. Workout With Weights – As you lose the fat, muscle can fill in the space making your skin appear tighter. I started lifting weights nearly a year ago and I can see a huge difference in my arms, legs, shoulders and stomach.
  5. Take Something Stronger Than A Flintstone Chewable – I need to get better at doing this everyday, but I do take a multivitamin with vitamins (A, B, C, E and K) that promote good skin health

Here is a great video I found online that’s really helped me focus on tightening my skin during my weight loss journey.

But There’s More I Can Do…
These are good steps to help tighten my skin, but I also need to do a better job of taking care of my skin.

  1. Exfoliate! Exfoliate! Exfoliate! – As you get older, old dead cells start to pile up on our skin’s surface, leaving rough and dry skin. Exfoliation removes those dead skin cells and leaves younger cells on top. Yes, I use one of those poofy nylon bath thingies in the shower. Turns out, it’s pretty worthless when it comes to exfoliating.  H/T to Blissful Belle for a great post on how to do a full body and facial exfoliation and the tools needed.
  2. It Rubs The Lotion On Its SkinCertain creams help your skin stay hydrated and helps stimulate collagen and elastin creation. I’m horrible about using lotion and I’ve got the dry skin to prove it. It’s time to make this a daily ritual.
  3. Use Sun Screen with SPF — Two years ago I was Vitamin D deficient, and only ventured outside to walk to my car. More than 100 lbs later I’m walking at least 5 miles a day, running 3 times a week, and have plenty of Vitamin D coursing through me. Yet I’m not using any protection from the sun. Sure my very tanned arms, shoulders and legs look great, but the sun is doing a number on my skin. Time for a new, healthy habit.
  4. Get A Weekly Massage – I love getting a massage, but I always thought this was just an expensive way to pamper myself. Little did I know that a massage that use effleurage movements, a technique that improves skin circulation, is a great way to keep your skin healthy. You don’t have to use a professional either. Thanks to the wonders of YouTube you’ll find lots of videos demonstrating techniques you can do yourself that will stimulate blood flow.

Areas Of Concern
Surprisingly, the area under my arms doesn’t bother me. Yes, I do have the bat wings, but that area is shrinking as I continue to build up my triceps. It’s my stomach, inner thighs and chest that bother me the most. That’s where I’m starting to see some folds.

I’ve got another 75 pounds to lose. Once I hit goal I need to maintain my goal weight for another 6-12 months before considering cosmetic surgery. That gives me some time to work on making the skin in those areas as taut as possible.

I’m looking at a total weight loss of nearly 200 pounds. I know that no amount of muscle-building, massaging or exfoliating will magically make all my loose skin disappear. Especially around my belly. That’s when I’ll need to ask myself if I’m happy with the way I look or if a nip and tuck is in order.

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18 thoughts on “The Skinny On Loose Skin

  1. It’s very difficult to not have loose skin as a woman. My wife gave birth twice, and the pregnancy have really stretched the belly. After the LCHF diet, you belly shrunk but the skin is loose. She have been contemplating of going under the knife. I really don’t mind myself, but she’s conscious of it.

    • For me, being overweight for so long took its toll on my skin. My weight training was key otherwise my skin would be worse. I was able to replace some of space the fat took with muscle. My guess is once you have children the belly wont be flat again without surgery. As for me, I’m leaning towards surgery once I hit goal – I spend a lot of time caring for the extra skin to avoid infection. Not fun. Good luck to your wife.

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  9. obesetwentysomething on said:

    I also want to say thanks for this post, which reminds me that the sooner you get and keep the weight off the better.

  10. obesetwentysomething on said:

    This is a very legitimate concern. I am still in my 20s and losing weight slowly so I am hoping that I won’t end up with a lot of loose skin. I do however have very loose connective tissue in my breasts now, they are sagging in a way I didnt even realise was possible. I have read that cooking soup with bones is a good meal for collagen and connective tissue. So I am going to try to eat a bone broth once a week. Good luck!

  11. Thank you for this honesty. I’ve lost 60 lbs and kept it off for a year, and I have loose skin on my legs. I still have another 30 to lose to get to my ideal weight, and knowing I’m not alone in looking at my legs like “seriously?” is a huge help. I’m going to join you on the exfoliation and skin care journey! (I burn anywhere I use SPF anything, usually within 10 minutes. Anyone know why?)

    • It’s amazing how we worry about every organ (heart, kidneys, liver, etc.) when losing weight but not the skin, our largest organ. As for the SPF burning, that sounds like a reaction. I’m not sure what alternatives there are to SPF. Do you think it’s the level of protection (the higher the number the more chemicals used the greater chance for burning)?

      • I know — we take our skin for granted. I burn regardless of the level, although above 30 it does get markedly worse. I wear hats, carry an umbrella everywhere I go and accept my skin’s natural reaction to the sun. Then I moisturize and drink tons of water!

      • Sounds like a plan to me!

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