Does losing weight mean you will suffer from loose skin? Here are some simple tips about how to minimize the risk of loose skin and what to do if you still get it.
How Your Skin Stays In Place
Basically our skin is held in place by a flexible wire mesh called “connective tissue”, that sits below the visible skin and above the fat layer. When we gain weight, this mesh stretches to make room for the increased amount of fat.
When you lose weight, there is less fat there to fill all the available room and depending on how fast you go about your weight loss, two things can happen:
- If you lose the weight slowly, the connective tissue has time to contract again and little excess may remain
- If you lose the weight fast, the connective tissue won’t have time to build back and will be pulled down by gravity, which prevents any chance of it shrinking again
The best way to minimize the possibility of loose skin when you lose weight is therefore to lose the weight slowly.
Age, Flexibility And Tearing Points
Unfortunately, even when you keep this in mind, your mileage may vary: With age our skin loses some of its flexibility and the connective tissue can tear when overstressed.
The first is one of the reasons why we get wrinkles when we age, and this loss of flexibility doesn’t only apply to the skin on our faces, but to the rest of the body as well.
The second means that, like any other mesh, the connective tissue has a breaking point. A very obese person may stretch the connective tissue to the point where it tears, and when then weight is lost, it won’t be able to contract.
If you just lost weight, were careful, and there is still loose skin, don’t immediately think about plastic surgery: The shrinking back takes time. Finish your diet, wait a year, and then have a look at where the process is. Only if a very obese person loses weight and then suffers from skin flaps under which infections may develop, an imminent surgical procedure might be called for.
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