Individuals who lose large amounts of weight within a relatively short period of time may find themselves plagued with unattractive, sagging, loose skin over various parts of their body. This problem particularly effects skin on the stomach, thighs and upper arms, although it can occur anywhere on the body. In addition to being unsightly, excess skin can cause rashes and even infections, and it also serves as a constant reminder of the body's previous shape. Although preventing this problem by keeping your body fit is the best idea, there are some steps you can take to tighten loose skin after losing weight.
Improve Your Diet
One of the best things you can do in your effort to tighten loose skin is to drink lots of water and increase your healthy protein intake. Your body requires lots of protein, which is the primary building block of muscles and tissue, to repair and rebuild the damaged, stretched skin. In addition, drinking adequate water can help increase your skin elasticity, which in turn may help your skin return to its normal size over time. Don't allow yourself to become dehydrated, as this can work against your goals. Try to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water each day and eat protein with every meal for the best results. Eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies is also a good idea, as is limiting or completely cutting sugar out of your diet.
Dry Brush Your Skin
Another of the best ways to tighten loose skin is to dry brush regularly. Dry brushing consists of taking a soft-bristled brush or natural loofah sponge and vigorously brushing the affected skin once or twice daily. This process stimulates the cells and reduces dead skin, which encourages the regeneration of skin cells. Over time, this can help tighten loose skin, but it does require consistency. For the best results, perform dry brushing in the shower just before you wash your body and apply a gentle moisturizing cream or lotion to your skin after showering to prevent excessive dryness.
In many cases, you can tighten loose skin simply by increasing your muscle mass. Continue exercising by lifting weights, walking, swimming, rowing and performing various strength training routines. If you aren't sure where to begin, consult a personal trainer for more information. The important thing, however, is that you're moving and working your muscles. In many cases, loose skin is caused by a layer of fat just below the surface of the skin, and you may be able to remedy the situation in time by exercising regularly and building lean muscle.
Skin Removal Surgery
As a last resort only, talk to your doctor about skin removal surgery. This is a common practice among individuals who have experienced extreme weight loss and need to tighten loose skin afterward. However, because it is an invasive and expensive procedure, it is advisable to try all other methods first. In many cases, your skin will tighten up over time as long as you keep up with a healthy lifestyle. If your skin has been stretched past its limit, however, you may have no other choice. Your doctor can refer you to a qualified plastic surgeon who can help you make a decision if it comes to this.