You’ve battled hard to lose weight. Your time at the gym is about equal with how long you spend on the couch at home and lycra has now replaced your most comfortable pair of stretchy track pants. But does your stomach still have a sag and jiggle?
Holding on to loose skin after major weight loss is commonly seen among men and women. After working so hard to diet and exercise, it can profoundly affect a person’s emotional well being as well as resulting in physical discomfort caused by skin irritations and infections.
Unfortunately, it’s almost unavoidable for people who have been overweight for a long period of their life and have trimmed down quickly. The rise of celebrity crash diets might have something to answer for here and the poor nutrition that results isn’t healthy for our skin. But there are other contributing factors.
Ageing can also affect how much loose skin will hang around after weight loss. As the amount of collagen and elastin in our skin deteriorates as we age, it gets harder for our skin to recover and regain its youthful volume and tautness.
We all love a tan in this sunburnt country but excessive exposure to UV can be another contributing factor of loose skin. Most people think of a retired surfer’s leathery brown face when they associate sun to skin damage, but too much UV can exacerbate the causes of loose skin anywhere on the body.
Common Areas for Loose Skin
We have to respect tuckshop workers for all their hard work in schools around the country but with all due respect, nobody wants their arms. Loose skin under the arms is a problem area for a lot of women and sadly, no amount of bicep curls will get rid of those tuckshop lady arms.
Many overweight men feel uncomfortable having fat around their chest without suffering from the hormonal imbalance that causes man boobs. Instead of Gynaecomastia, this is known as Pseudogynecomastia. Even after shedding the problematic fat, a man might still feel embarrassed about the feminine look of loose skin around his chest.
For women, having saggy breasts can be a common occurrence after losing weight or giving birth. Naturally, many women might feel a loss of shape to their breasts as harming their femininity.
Loose skin around the inner thigh is often associated with rapid weight loss in women and sagging buttocks also tend to be a common complaint. As women typically store more fat in their thighs and buttocks, loose skin in these parts of the body can be the most stubborn to get rid of. It can also be the most uncomfortable to live with, especially during those bikini-flaunting months at the beach.
Meanwhile, in Mars, a large portion of men will complain about loose skin on their stomach and pubic region. A “beer gut” sometimes has nothing to do with how much a man enjoys a brew. This is where men are genetically predisposed to gaining weight. Women, of course, suffer the same fate after pregnancy. A tummy tuck could be the answer to saying goodbye to the loose skin around the abdomen but there are other nonsurgical treatments that can tighten skin.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment involves processing a patient’s own blood to concentrate platelets and growth factors, which are then reintroduced into specific areas of the skin. This process aims to support the skin’s natural healing and rejuvenation processes.
Loose skin may be noticeably improved after three treatments but the treatment can work most effectively when combined with other surgical treatments.
Laser Skin Tightening
This minimally invasive day procedure uses an ultra-thin fibre below the skin to heat and contract collagen with laser energy. Some fat cells can also be melted, including any subcutaneous fat that is often mistaken as loose skin. Laser Skin Tightening is a procedure that can be performed independently or in conjunction with other treatments like Vaser liposuction, based on individual patient needs and assessments.
This method of liposuction is recommended for tightening skin beyond what Laser Skin Tightening can achieve. Bodytite uses radio frequency to remove fat cells and stimulate collagen simultaneously and very efficiently. The downtime after this procedure is minimal and patients are encouraged to be mobile upon going home.
While minimally invasive procedures like Laser Skin Tightening and Bodytite are options for skin treatment, the extent of their effectiveness varies among individuals. In some cases, more comprehensive surgical procedures may be considered to address significant excess skin. Performed under a general anaesthesia, an incision is made in the bikini line and any excess skin is pulled down and removed along with any underlying fat. Abdominoplasty also tightens abdominal muscles that have been abnormally stretched from excessive weight gain or pregnancy.
Similar procedures performed on other areas of the body with loose skin such as a Thigh Lift, Arm Lift or Breast Lift can also be suitable options. In some cases, a Breast Augmentation could be recommended to restore shape to saggy breasts.
It’s important to note, however, that all considerations are taken into account with these major procedures. They will result in some permanent scarring and some procedures are recommended after a mother intends on giving birth to all of her children.