You have recently lost a significant amount of weight -- congratulations! But now, you have a lot of leftover skin where the weight used to be. Dr. Jason Spector, an assistant professor of plastic surgery at Cornell University, says skin begins to lose its elasticity once it has been stretched to a certain point; then, the body produces more skin cells to compensate. This is why loose skin tends to hang around after a person has lost a lot of weight, especially if the weight-loss occurred suddenly.
Reduce excess skin through proper skin care, diet, exercise and surgery.
Increase your skin's elasticity through proper skin care. Exfoliate your skin daily to promote circulations and new skin growth. Apply an exfoliator to the skin and use a body loofah or exfoliating gloves to gently massage away dead skin cells in a circular motion. Rinse thoroughly. Apply a moisturizer which contains aloe vera extract yeast extract, soy protein and hyaluronic acid. These ingredients will stimulate the production of collagen and elastin and help the skin better absorb water.
Drink at least 64 ounces (eight glasses) of water every day. Hydration is key to improving the health of the skin and maintaining elasticity, according to Jonathan Ross, owner of Aion Fitness near Washington, D.C.
Maintain a low-fat diet after weight loss. Consume lean proteins and avoid saturated fats and refined grains. Eat whole grains as well as high-fiber vegetables and fruits to keep the skin hydrated and encourage the elimination of toxins. Eat foods high in vitamin C and other antioxidants to keep skin tight and reduce wrinkling.
Perform toning and strength-building exercises to increase muscle mass and replace the fat you lost. By toning your muscles, you will tighten your skin and reduce its sagging appearance, says Cedric Bryant, Ph.D. of the American Council on Exercise.
Consult with a plastic surgeon to discuss options for reducing excess skin surgically. Dr. Spector recommends patients wait six months after their initial weight loss to see if their skin's appearance does not improve on its own.
Tips & Warnings
- Carry a water bottle with you throughout your day to ensure you are drinking enough water.
- Surgery, though effective, comes with many risks. Consult with a doctor.
- Photo Credit belly of a girl in a pink towel image by silviaantunes from Fotolia.com different colored washcloths face cloths loofah and bath sponge image by Steve Johnson from Fotolia.com Clean water and water bubbles in blue image by Suto Norbert from Fotolia.com fruits 2 image by thierry planche from Fotolia.com dumbbell weights in hand image by Kathy Burns from Fotolia.com
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