There are many things to think about if you are considering weight loss surgery. One question that often comes up during consultations with patients is excess or loose skin. Will they have excess skin after losing a significant amount of weight, and how bad will it be? Will it make them look older?
After weight loss surgery, many patients do lose so much weight that they end up with loose or sagging skin. Why is this? When you gain weight, your skin expands around the new mass that your body is adding. When you lose weight, your skin may not have enough elasticity to shrink back down.
While this can be an issue for some, there are solutions and things to know to hopefully relieve any fears you may have about excess skin after weight loss surgery.
Problems with excess skin after weight loss surgery
When it comes to how much excess skin you will have, each person is different. The amount of loose skin you’ll have after weight loss surgery depends on some factors outside of your control, like your weight, age, smoking history, and your genetics. To what extent excess skin bothers you varies as well. It’s totally normal for it to be a big issue for some, while others aren’t bothered by it much at all. A common concern is that saggy skin increases the appearance of premature aging.
However, the problems that arise from excess skin are not always simply cosmetic. Excess skin may cause chafing and rashes, especially when it rubs against other folds of skin or when it stays moist. With saggy skin, folds often rub against themselves, and these folds may be harder to keep clean. Over time, the top layer of your skin (epidermis) tears, and this creates irritation from chafing. This chafing can pave the way for infections. Wearing clothing that’s not as likely to chafe can help.
Addressing excess skin after weight loss surgery
If you’re worried about loose skin after weight loss surgery, whether for health reasons or because you’re concerned about how it may look, it’s important to know that there are several ways to minimize sagging skin after surgery. Here are some of the basics:
- Eat a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins — A balanced diet with plenty of protein and vitamins can help you keep the weight off and retain lean muscle. This diet may help to some degree to minimize loose or excess skin. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water, which will help make your skin healthier and possibly improve elasticity.
- Exercise — Exercise can prevent loose skin after weight loss surgery. When you lose lean muscle mass, you may increase the looseness of your skin. When you build muscle, you actually fill out your skin more.
- Take care of your skin — Your skin is an organ, and if you want to avoid loose skin after weight loss, taking care of it can help. This includes using sunscreen regularly when outdoors, using moisturizers, and drinking plenty of water to keep your whole body hydrated.
- Cosmetic surgery (if none of the above are enough) — After losing 100 or 150 pounds, it is realistic to expect that you may still have some excess skin. Cosmetic surgery removes excess skin and fat from your body. A tummy tuck after weight loss surgery is one of the more common procedures. If you’re looking at this option, it’s important to go with a reputable plastic surgeon. The American Society of Bariatric Plastic Surgeons is a good place to start, and we will be happy to make a recommendation.
Excess skin is often made worse or better by your overall health and skin health, in particular. If you ignore your skin, diet, and exercise, you may end up with more loose, saggy skin. But if you take care of your skin and your body overall, you can end up with tight skin that will look good even after you lose weight.
If you are concerned about excess skin or have other questions about weight loss surgery, let us know!
At Birmingham Minimally Invasive Surgery, we are happy to answer all questions you may have about weight loss surgery and the possibility of excess skin that may result in the appearance of premature aging. Visit us today at http://www.bmisurgery.com/ or give us a call to set up a consultation at 205-833-6907.