Preventing Loose Skin During Weight Loss
Loose skin is more likely to occur with rapid weight loss rather than gradual loss. This happens because the elastic components of your skin not only lose the layers of fat that keep them stretched, but they also aren’t given much time for their elasticity to adapt to your new shape.
In simpler terms, the skin on your body is like a sheet for your bed; the bigger the bed, the bigger the sheet. Downsize the bed but keep the same sheets… well, you get the picture. Unlike your sheets, your skin is alive and constantly changing. Given the right conditions, it is possible to change it for the better.
There are a few key factors influencing the likelihood of loose skin:
- Amount of weight to lose – The more weight you have to lose, the more likely your skin will be stretched and it is likely the “loose skin” is still excess body fat.
- Rate of weight loss – The faster you lose weight, the harder it is for your skin cell production to keep up. A healthy rate is a loss of 0.5 to 1% of your body weight per week. If you are 100kg, this would equal 0.5 – 1 kg a week. If you are less than this the range would be lower again. The slower the loss, the better your skin copes with the changes.
- Skin type and condition – Dry skin may be more prone to loose skin as it also tends to have less collagen.
- Age – As we age the support structures for our skin (collagen and elastin) start to break down and our skin cell turnover becomes slower. Slower turnover means skin is still being produced to cover a larger body, even though the underlying tissue has gotten smaller.
- Look after your skin nutritionally – Cut down on caffeine and alcohol and increase your water intake. Add good fats into your diet. Some good examples are oily fish such as salmon, nuts like almonds and walnuts and plenty of fresh vegetables (particularly red, orange and dark green vegetables) and fruit.
- Exercise – Try to incorporate some low to moderate activity, such as walking, as well as some simple toning exercises. See an exercise physiologist for advice specific to your needs. Wesley LifeShape Clinic can help you with determining a healthy rate of weight loss which in turn can help prevent loose skin from occurring.
For more information about our LifeShape programs, please contact us on 1800 567 348.