Inheriting unsightly loose skin may be more than you bargained for when you sign up for weight loss but there’s help….read on. Losing excessive amount of weight, anywhere from 50 to 100 pounds can be liberating and esteem-enhancing but where is the skin that once held the excess body mass going to go? If you lose massive amount of weight over a short period of time, chances are the skin will collect in folds, or hangs like swag. This scallop effect may look good on curtains but on humans…well…you can imagine. Just what can you do to get rid of loose skin? Surgery is the expedient answer, but it is costly and it may leave scars. There are less drastic measures you can consider before opting for surgery and here’s a look at some positive measures you can take to lose the swag:
So you’ve read or heard of the anguish of holding on to mounds of loose skin after drastic weight loss? They say prevention is better than cure and this advice applies beautifully. Much of the problem can be prevented if you choose a diet plan that allows you to lose weight gradually. If your body shrinks slowly, the skin will have some recovery time and adjust accordingly. Slower weight loss, with the goal of losing one to two pounds a week can help to minimize the effect of sagging skin. Diet plans that emphasize healthy eating and exercise can help you lose weight gradually. You may not enjoy the gratification of “before” and “after” drastic change, but then, you may not have to deal with unsightly skin folds either.
Your skin health can play a huge part in determining if your skin will recover quickly. According to Jason Spector, M.D., assistant professor of plastic surgery at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, “The two biggest factors that determine skin elasticity are age and genetics.” What if both factors are not in your favor? Health experts suggest that eating certain foods can improve skin elasticity:
- Tap the powerhouse of Vitamin A, C and E
These groups of vitamins protect skin from free radicals (bad guys that cause cellular damage) and they also boost skin repair. In particular, vitamin A helps to hydrate the lower layer of skin, vitamin C protects skin-firming fibers such as collagen and elastin and Vitamin E shields skin from sun damage. Eating a variety of leafy greens and colorful fruits and vegetables can enhance skin elasticity. Specific examples include carrots, oranges, cantaloupe, bell peppers, citrus fruits, kiwi, papaya, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach and the mighty group of leafy vegetables (kale, mustard green, Bak choy)
- Essential Fatty Acids
Boost your skin’s natural oil barrier by eating foods containing essential fatty acids. EFAs such as omega-3 and omega-6 nourish your skin to keep it supple and smooth. They also fight wrinkles and dry skin, giving you added advantages. Shop for cold water fish such as tuna, mackerel, salmon, sardines and make nuts a part of your snacking/food routine—all excellent sources of EFAs. Make healthy oils such as olive oil, canola, and safflower and grapeseed oil part of your staple diet.
Hair products may tell of the benefits of biotin for your hair, but biotin is also good for the skin. This water-soluble B vitamin is sometimes known as vitamin H. Certain skin disorders including dermatitis, skin scaling and alopecia have been linked to biotin deficiency. Eat adequate amounts of biotin to promote healthy skin. Eat green leafy vegetables (worth mentioning again), nuts, milk, eggs, oatmeal and rice.
- Green Tea
Go green—drink some. Or plenty. Cultivate the habit of drinking tea, especially green tea. Its rich concentration of catechins, a powerful antioxidant helps to stop inflammation, slow cellular damage and protect the skin from the sun.
Want to lose weight? Exercise! Want to get rid of sagging skin after weight loss? Exercise! Looks like there’s no getting around the dreaded “E” prescription. There is compelling reason to exercise to get rid of sagging skin, especially exercises using strength training. These types of exercises firm up muscles under loose skin, making the sag less obvious. Work with barbells or dumbbells to strengthen muscles. Strong lean muscles keep skin toned. If you don’t have free weights around the house, use your body weight to do push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, crunches, leg squats to tighten muscles. If you’ve the luxury of owning a resistance-training machine, put it to use. If not, you can always use the ones at the gym.
When all else fails, there is always surgery. It may not always be the best option but it’s a sure way of getting rid of sagging skin. Often, this form of surgery is not covered by the insurance, unless the sagging skin is infected. Doctors can perform “body contouring” procedures to get rid of excess skin on your thighs, arms, midsection of the body and even fill or lift droopy breasts. Wait a period of six months for your weight to stabilize before doing surgery. Research procedure and the doctor you will eventually use to ensure the best outcome.