Over the past 10+ years, I’ve helped hundreds of clients improve their fitness, lose weight fast, and successfully keep it off. One of the most common questions I get asked is: How do I get rid of (or prevent) loose skin? There are a lot of factors that play a part in avoiding or decreasing the appearance of loose skin and I’m going to do my best to explain that here.
Think of your skin like a balloon. With so many factors involved, the timeline and ability to shrink down can vary drastically. If you blow up a balloon and immediately let the air out, it’ll probably shrink down really close to its’ original size. If you deflate a balloon that was blown up for a month, it’ll take more time or may never shrink back down to its’ original size. What the balloon is made of also plays a big part in its’ ability to shrink down. Your skin is similar in these ways.
There are many different factors that cause loose skin. As you age, the elasticity of your skin decreases. Your genetics help determine how firm your skin stays as you get older. Basically, your skin is not bouncing back at 40 like it did when you were 25 but that’s no reason to worry. Keep reading for pointers to help at any age. The amount of weight loss also plays a big part in how much loose skin you actually have. When you lose a large amount of weight in a short time, your skin doesn’t have as much time to shrink and it could be “permanently” stretched. Don’t worry. Even if you have stretched your skin to this extent, you have surgical and non-surgical procedures to help you reach your goals.
How to Prevent Loose Skin
One of the best ways to avoid dealing with loose skin is to prevent it from ever happening. Now let’s be clear, there are so many factors that play a part in your skin’s ability to bounce back so these tips are the most effective ways to completely bypass the unwanted.
Drinking plenty of water helps by keeping you hydrated and making sure that your skin as the moisture to stretch and not tear. You don’t just want to hydrate from the inside but you also want to hydrate your skin directly. A good skin moisturizer allows new skin cells to grow. Hydrating your skin directly with moisturizers that contain vitamin e oil and/or coconut oil is great for promoting collagen. Vitamin E oil is also great for blocking free radicals and promoting lipids which will support your skin in slowing down the aging process. Slowing down the again process means supple and beautiful skin.
And of course, you can take a more undesirable path , intentionally lose weight slower. Losing about 1-2 lbs a week gives your skin time to catch up with the overall decrease. Who wants to lose weight slowly? I know. I get it. So you can use the previous steps to support you in prevention AND use the following steps to help reduce the appearance of loose skin as you continue to hit your weight loss goals.
How to Get Rid of Loose Skin
Now getting rid of loose skin is equally as complex with the factors that go into the success of the process. Let’s address the elephant in the room first. Yes, there is a possibility that your skin has been permanently stretched. Don’t worry. Even if these natural solutions don’t support you, there are surgical and non-surgical procedures that can help you hit your goal.
Before you dive in scheduling your consultations, there are some very practical and natural ways to help you get rid of loose skin and the most obvious is …. Time. Your skin didn’t stretch overnight and you can’t expect just because you lost weight that skin should shrink down to its’ original size. Well we could expect that but it wouldn’t help so allow time for your body to show you what it can do. Do just sit by idly waiting though.
Weight training and exercise help to reduce the appearance of loose skin. Again, in the spirit of transparency, this is a viable option that works but is probably the least helpful of the bunch. However, toning up helps your curves pop in all the right places so we can do double duty with this one. Triple if you’re fitness is just as important.
Now one of my favorite ways is get massages! What?! Yes! Getting a good massage can not only relax you but can help you by increasing your blood circulation which is extremely helpful in promoting flexible skin. So schedule your next massage asap and, actually, you don’t need a massage therapist to make this work. A simple DIY sea salt scrub can make this a whole in home process. By the way, scientists insist that sea salt scrubs help increase blood flow and helps the skin tightening process over time. Simply massage it in for about 5 minutes in the shower each day and follow it up with a good moisturizer. As an added bonus, use a loofah as well.
Now this next option can arguably be considered as not natural but it doesn’t require any down time and it’s not invasive so I’m tossing it in. My personal go to for skin care is Urban Skin Solutions here in Charlotte. They have skin tightening services that work wonders by inducing tissue remodeling and promoting the production of elastin and collagen. There’s usually a series of treatments and how many and the cost depend on your area, your specific needs, and the treatment center.
This is the “secret” behind some of the most infamous celeb post baby snapbacks like Cardi B’s. If you’re not in Charlotte, no worries. Your local esthetician probably has a similar service.
Quite honestly, if you want to accelerate the process, you’ll want to consider getting professional support.
Visualization is one of the most slept on options. The effectiveness of visualization during their health and weight loss journey has proven to be amazing. Envisioning the body (and lifestyle) you want makes you more likely to do the things that are necessary to maintain that appearance (and lifestyle). If you’re not sure how to visualize you can go here to get a guide that will walk you through the process. And if you’re not convinced that this will help, visualize it anyway because when you change the way you see things, the things you see change. Know what I mean?!
And last but not least, eat healthy. This probably goes without saying since your proper function of your cells is directly related to the nutrients you take in. Healthy protein-rich foods help provide the necessary nutrients to produce elastin and collagen in your skin. You’ll want to keep a healthy diet that includes these nutrients but you also want to keep a healthy diet to prevent reversing what you’ve already done. Eating too much of the wrong foods will cause you regain weight and of course further stretch your skin. Not only will you want to eat healthy but be mindful of portions. If you overeat, you can also stretch your skin back out.
Remember, your skin did not stretch overnight and it’s certainly not going to tighten overnight. And always be realistic about your journey. Your body may not naturally return to its’ original flexibility. All in all have patience with the process and love yourself the whole way down! Let me know in the comments which option you’re most excited about starting.