Methods for Getting Rid of Excess Skin
Carrying around the extra weight of excess skin can be a lot to bear – both figuratively and literally.
In cases where excess skin is the result of desired weight loss or a pregnancy, it is most certainly an unwanted side effect. And it can put the kibosh on an otherwise joyous occasion.
Then as if the sheer assault on self-esteem weren’t enough, extra skin can cause discomfort in the form of chafing, irritation, and rashes. Fortunately, there are methods for getting rid of excess skin.
What Causes Excess Skin?
The most common cause of excess skin is extreme weight loss – though it’s not the sole culprit.
Our skin is designed to expand and contract. Collagen, which provides firmness and strength, accounts for 80% of the skin’s structure. Meanwhile, elastin is there to help the skin stay tight and “bounce back” from stretching.
The problem is, when the skin is required to expand for prolonged amounts of time, the collagen and elastin fibers are overextended and become damaged. This is the case for people who have been overweight for years or even decades.
While pregnancy can also cause excess skin, in most cases, the skin typically retracts within several months postpartum – as the length of time the skin is stretched in only nine months. Multiple pregnancies, however, can also challenge the ability of collagen and elastin to do their work.
The general rule of thumb is that the longer one has carried extra weight, and the more extreme it is (100 pounds or more), the stronger the likelihood that there will be excess skin after losing it.
What Other Factors Affect Skin Elasticity?
Extreme weight loss alone can be enough to create excess skin. But there are other factors that can work in tandem with weight loss that will also negatively affect the skin’s elasticity.
Obviously, older skin with less collagen and elastin production will not bounce back like younger skin does. The amount of sun exposure the skin has experienced will also affect this. Even smoking reduces the skin’s ability to produce collagen and elastin.
Then, of course, there’s always good old genetics. Some of us are just more blessed with resilient skin than others.
So then what’s a person who’s troubled by excess skin to do?
Methods for Getting Rid of Excess Skin
There are myriad ways to manage excess skin – though depending on the above factors, some ways are far more effective than others.
Many people will start with an exercise program to combat excess skin. And in most cases, exercise is a positive activity that we’re certainly not going to discourage!
Yes, building muscle mass through weight training can help to decrease the appearance of excess skin by replacing muscle mass with lost fat. But once again, if extra skin is the result of massive weight loss, there’s no amount of exercise that will completely eliminate it.
Firming Creams and Cosmetic Procedures
Similar to exercise, firming creams and cosmetic procedures could be helpful for those who aren’t struggling with a lot of excess skin or if the skin is mostly just loose around the eyes and mouth.
Firming creams with retinoids and hyaluronic acid are the most effective – especially for older skin. And cosmetic procedures including chemical peels, ablative laser resurfacing, and botox injections could help to tighten and smooth the skin.
Yet similar to exercise, firming creams and cosmetic procedures alone are not going to be enough to get rid of excess skin from major weight loss.
Body Contouring Surgery
The only true way to get rid of excess skin after major weight loss is through plastic surgery. This usually consists of a range of body contouring procedures performed by a plastic surgeon and designed to address excess skin folds on the arms, legs, torso and/or buttocks.
The initial step during these procedures is to remove skin. From there, the surgeon will also tighten and lift the targeted areas to improve contour. This delivers a more natural and pleasing shape. And these surgeries are long-lasting, provided that the patient’s weight remains stable.
As such, body contouring surgery to get rid of excess skin is typically scheduled once weight has stabilized for a least a few months after massive weight loss. And after the procedure, patients need to maintain a healthy lifestyle to ensure success.
Are You Troubled By Excess Skin?
Whether you’re dealing with sagging skin around the face, or hanging skin after major weight loss, we can help you with the best methods for getting rid of excess skin.
Contact us today for a free consultation. One of our board-certified plastic surgeons will assess your overall physical health before discussing with you which procedures will be most effective.
Then get back on the road toward a more confident and comfortable you!