Knowing how to get rid of loose skin after losing a substantial amount of weight is a very common problem. Overcoming obesity comes with a lot of challenges but is a proud and healthy achievement. Unfortunately, many people don’t expect such a large amount of loose skin that is uncomfortable, frustrating and sometimes embarrassing.
After all, when you’ve worked hard to overcome your obesity, it doesn’t feel like your reward should be sagging, folding excess skin all over your body. It’s no wonder that finding out how to get rid of loose skin is such an integral part of the weight loss process.
Why Do You Have to Get Rid of Loose Skin in the First Place?
The people who are most likely to have to get rid of loose skin are those who either lose a substantial amount of weight or those who lose quite a bit of weight very quickly. Therefore, people who are able to take on a lifestyle change very effectively and drop the pounds – or people who undergo bariatric surgery for weight loss of 100 pounds or more – will commonly have excess skin once the fat is gone. Some studies have reported that over 2 out of every 3 bariatric surgery patients will end up with this issue and will need to get rid of loose skin.
The reason it happens is that when weight is lost very quickly, the fat disappears at a faster rate than the skin can shrink. Skin will contract over time, but it doesn’t have the same elasticity as a rubber band. It doesn’t just snap back into place. Therefore, when it has been stretched out for quite some time and then weight is lost very quickly, the outcome is often loose, hanging skin.
Loose Skin After Long-Term Obesity
The issue of having to get rid of loose skin will often be worse the larger the person was and the longer he or she was obese. The reason is that skin does have a maximum size. Therefore, if excessive weight causes it to stretch beyond its natural maximum level, it may no longer be able to fully reduce to the size it was before the weight was gained.
In these cases, being able to get rid of loose skin may not be possible on its own. Plastic surgery may be needed in order to remove some of the excess folds of skin. This procedure actually takes away pieces of the stretched-out skin so that what remains suits the new size of the patient’s body.
Age Also Plays a Role
Typically speaking, skin will recover on its own following weight loss of 40 or 50 pounds. It is usually weight loss of 100 pounds or more that will lead someone to need to get rid of loose skin after weight loss. That said, age is also a factor worth considering.
As we age, our skin loses elasticity. Therefore, while mild weight loss still likely won’t lead to excess skin, it may take a smaller amount of weight loss to bring that result than it would at a younger age.