Weight loss & change in skin elasticity always come together. Loosing skin elasticity after weight loss takes away the joy you feel after winning the task. Loosing weight needs a lot of motivation & hard work. When you feel immense joy of high energy levels after weight loss, you are welcomed by another major or even bigger challenge of folds of loose skin. It becomes quite frustrating & confusing to deal with it.
What causes loose skin after weight loss ?
The innermost layer of our skin consists of proteins, including collagen and elastin. Collagen makes up 80% of our skin’s structure, provides firmness & strength. Elastin provides elasticity & helps the skin stay tight.
During weight gain, skin expands to make more room for increased growth. Pregnancy is one such example.
However, skin expansion during pregnancy occurs over a period of few months & ofcourse most of the pregnant women are under 40 too. The younger the age, the better is the skin recovery. The expanded skin typically retracts within several months of delivery.
By contrast, when skin has been significantly stretched for a very long period of time collagen and elastin fibers become damaged. As a result, they lose their ability to retract back. Skin elasticity in such cases becomes poor and folds of skin start hanging. This becomes worse on older people.
So when you lose a lot of weight, excess skin surely hangs from the body particularly if no diet changes or exercise is included. In general, the greater the weight loss, the more pronounced is the effect of poor skin elasticity.
The elasticity of our skin highly depends on how long the obesity period was. The longer it was stretched out, the less likely it is to have the tendency to bounce back.
How much weight loss causes loose skin?
Generally speaking, it is said that losing a huge amount of weight, like around 100 pounds, can cause loose skin. However the actual scenario is not that simple. The huge weight loss accompanied by a short duration of time together play part in creating folds of loose, hanging skin.
Again it also depends on how long was the period of obesity & how much long term damage has been done to the skin.
Losing huge amount of weight in a short period of time without increasing the protein intake & weight training, altogether become an inevitable reason for loose saggy skin.
Age is another factor. The more the age, the lesser is the skin recovery. However the age factor results could be highly decreased by proper diet & weight training.
So, to answer this question in short, weight loss whether less or more is almost always accompanied by loose skin. However, the results will be worst if weight loss is huge & time duration is short. You need to work on your dietary protein & antioxidants to revive your skin & the most important is that you must go slow if your goal is to loose pounds & not gain the loose skin folds.
The general recommendation to lose weight safely is only 1 to 2 pounds a week, which translates to 4 to 8 pounds per month. This will give good time to skin to stay in line with the changes. However, this too must be accompanied by dietary changes & exercise. Else, it becomes inevitable to avoid loose skin especially if you have crossed 30 as skin elasticity naturally decreases with age.
How to save skin elasticity ?
Like they say, prevention is better than cure. One should start working on skin elasticity simultaneously when weight loss task is started. This is the best possible approach & inexpensive too & takes a lot less work than managing excess skin after weight loss.
Start by enlisting a certified personal trainer/nutritionist to create a safe and effective plan that allows weight to come off slow and steady – one or two pounds a week is the ideal & safe rate to lose weight.
The more quickly you lose weight, the more likely is the tendency of excess skin issue. In addition to slow and steady weight loss, one should always build muscle to shape the tissue underneath the skin. Maintaining or increasing muscle tissue is the key factor to minimize the loss of skin elasticity.
When the underlying layers of tissue shrink under a large surface area, a void is created. If muscle mass is lost in addition to fat, it creates an even larger void under the skin’s surface. On the other hand, if good protein intake in every meal & strength training exercises are followed, the lean tissue fills the area underneath the skin, keeping it taut.
While on weight loss, one should never begin it without watching the protein intake.
Protein intake must stay high. During caloric deficit this will not only prevent the loss of lean mass, but also ensure that you have the optimum amount for building new muscle.
The likelihood of having poor skin elasticity after weight loss is no reason to put off losing weight. Losing weight will leave you healthier and will most likely lead to a longer, fuller life. Take a holistic approach in weight loss by keeping a watch on protein and antioxidant rich diet with strength training.