Weight Loss & Skin CareBy
One reason people lose weight is to feel more comfortable in their own skin. You want healthy, toned skin to improve your overall appearance and flaunt your new body. But many people experience problems with their skin’s elasticity and condition, especially following significant weight loss. Learn how to get your skin in shape during and after major weight loss.
As a person gains weight, the skin can stretch to accommodate overinflated fat cells that are just beneath the skin’s surface. But while skin is very elastic, some find that after weight loss, their skin fails to shrink back to its original shape, leaving unsightly bulges and hanging folds that can mask all that weight loss. To what extent you are left with extra skin depends on your skin’s elasticity, which varies depending on your age and genetics, the amount of weight lost and other factors.
Healthy Weight Loss, Healthy Skin
Weight loss specialists advocate slow, steady weight loss as opposed to crash dieting because it ensures proper nutritional balance. But good nutrition is important for your skin, too, and a proper balance of nutrients will help your skin regenerate more quickly. Aim to lose about 1 to 2 lbs. of fat each week. This will give your skin time to adapt to your new body and will allow you to keep a healthy balance of nutrients that will make your skin glow.
Moisture, Moisture, Moisture
When it comes to your skin, moisture means two things: drinking water and consistently using a good moisturizer. Your body needs to be hydrated to properly regenerate cells, including the cells that make up your skin, so drink up. There is no official recommendation for the amount of water you should be drinking, but a good rule of thumb is eight 8 oz. glasses a day, or enough to keep from feeling thirsty. Also, use a good moisturizer all over your body and use it regularly. You can try lotions that claim to be “skin firming,” but more important is that any product you use keep your skin hydrated throughout the day. Creme moisturizers (they come in a tub, not a bottle) are thicker and provide a strong layer of protective moisture if your skin tends to be very dry.
The Added Value of Exercise
If you added exercise to your daily routine to shed pounds, keep it up. If you didn’t, now is a great time to start. Exercise helps rid your body of toxins and gets oxygen flowing, which is great for your skin. In addition, many dieters tend to lose a significant amount of lean muscle mass in addition to fat, but building muscle gives your skin a firm base, making it look smoother. So add a strength training session to your workouts. Aim for two or three 20- to 30-minute strength training sessions each week.
The Surgical Option
For people who have lost very large amounts of weight, for example after weight loss surgery, cosmetic surgery may be an option to remove large folds of skin. Body contouring is a major surgery involving extensive incisions to essentially cut off the sagging skin of patients. Complete body contouring is often done in stages or multiple surgeries and can include lifting the butt, thighs, abdomen, breasts and arms. Like any major surgery, there are many risks, and body contouring may or may not be covered by your insurance. Talk to your primary care physician and specialists before deciding if a surgical option may be appropriate for you.
Find out more about weight loss surgery and the procedure that is right for you by contacting Central Baptist Hospital Surgical Weight Loss Center in Lexington.