So you took your New Year’s resolution seriously—it’s now almost bikini season and you’ve managed to lose a considerable amount of weight since January. Congratulations on your healthy dedication, and a job well done!
As you prepare to slip into your bathing suit, however, you may notice some of the unwanted side effects of weight loss. While, in general, your skin may show improvement due to a better diet and exercise routine, it may also display some negatives.
- If you severely restricted calories, your skin may appear dull, as the body will divert nutrients to vital organs first.
- Losing fat from underneath your skin creates a thinner, more fragile complexion more prone to wrinkles.
- And finally, if you lost a lot of weight quickly, the dramatic fat loss can result in loose, saggy skin
Although these changes may be disheartening, there are actions you can take to remedy the appearance of your skin—so follow our tips, and continue to feel proud of your weight-loss achievement, no matter what!
Simple Things First
The first thing to remember is a fairly universal rule: Drink plenty of water to hydrate your skin. If you are dehydrated, you will lose further suppleness and elasticity.
You also will want to invest in a good moisturizer to further ensure you are keeping as much hydration in your skin as possible. Look for formulas specifically designed to boost collagen (including vitamins A, E, or C). You can supplement orally with vitamins, as well, for an internal boost.
Exfoliate your skin on a regular basis to encourage new cell growth. This will help considerably with dullness and wrinkles, but will also provide some benefits to loose or sagging skin as well.
Finally on the “101” checklist—avoid alcohol as much as possible, and don’t smoke! These bad habits will dramatically exacerbate any loss of skin elasticity you already have.
The Importance of Exercise
If you have lost a considerable amount of weight, you likely are already hitting the gym on a regular basis. However, the type of exercise you perform is important in remedying loose skin issues.
Weight loss tends to rely on a heavy dose of cardio-based exercise such as running, spinning, HIIT (high intensity interval training), and other calorie-torching activities. However, in terms of your skin, weight and strength training must not be ignored.
The more muscle you build, the more it will bolster out your skin and help attractively replace the fat that was lost. If traditional weight lifting intimidates you, try a body conditioning class at your local gym using lightweight dumbbells or kettle bells.
Body-weight exercise regimes such as yoga and Pilates are also excellent for tightening everything up – as well as building muscle and strength without undue bulk.
At home, you can do simple exercises such as squats, planks, pushups, triceps dips, and leg lifts to increase your muscular tone.
If you enjoy taking your workouts outdoors—don’t forget a good sunscreen to protect against sun damage!
Going the Professional Route
If you have tried various self-care routes and are not seeing an improvement in your skin—particularly the issue of loose or excess skin—visit your dermatologist or primary care provider to see if you may be a candidate for surgery.
It’s extremely common for individuals who have lost a considerable amount of weight to find themselves faced with sagging or loose skin. Your doctor will likely prescribe an exercise routine first (as described above), but certainly will be qualified and willing to work with you if you cannot find a solution via traditional routes.
Loose skin can pose issues of infection and other complications, as well as being a cosmetic problem, so be sure to check with your doctor if your skin is not responding to your self-directed remedies.