How to Tighten Loose Skin After Weight Loss? 4 Easy Ways 

Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Published by Christiana Mikesch, CPT | Senior Coach
Last updated: December 15, 2023
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Tightening skin after rapid weight loss can become a significant challenge. This is especially the case when people have a lot of weight to lose, and they manage to do so quite quickly.

But it can also happen to bodybuilders who, for one reason or the other, end up reducing muscle mass and leaving excess skin tissue.

As a personal trainer, I’ve had a few clients who had to deal with this saggy skin, and I decided to team up with a skin specialist to find out what’s behind it and what you can do.

Here’s what I found.

Quick Summary

  • To tighten your skin after weight loss, focus on eating healthy, drinking the recommended water intake, and taking care of your overall skin health.
  • Resistance training can be effective for individuals who have shed a moderate amount of excess weight.
  • As people age, especially after 30, the body produces less collagen, affecting skin elasticity.
  • For me, adopting healthy eating habits, incorporating high-quality collagen supplements, and staying committed to regular workouts can enhance overall physical well-being.

4 Natural Ways for Tightening Sagging Skin

Pouring a fresh glass of water

Achieving firmer skin following weight loss is possible by adopting a few essential strategies:

Prioritize Hydration

Skin, as a living organ, relies on sufficient water intake for plumpness and elasticity. According to National Institute of Health, aim for the recommended daily water intake to reduce loose skin, which is approximately 9 cups for women and 13 cups for men. Consistently meeting this goal can noticeably improve your skin's health [1].

Boost Your Protein Intake

Research from ScienceDirect suggests that collagen, a vital skin protein, plays a crucial role in skin health. While increasing meat consumption, especially fatty cuts, is an option, a more effective approach is to take a daily high-quality collagen supplement in powder or liquid form to promote tighter skin [2].

Create A Daily Skin Care Routine

Implement a daily moisturizing routine, ideally twice a day, using a cream rich in vitamin E, which is a key player in skin firmness and hydration levels, according to research from the National Institute of Health. Additionally, choose pH-neutral soaps and shampoos to minimize adverse effects on skin cells [3].

Increase Muscle Mass

Resistance training can be effective for individuals who have shed a moderate amount of excess weight. This form of strength training aids in building muscle mass, burning calories, and, beyond that, it enhances skin appearance by minimizing loose skin.

Medical Treatments For Tightening Loose Skin

Medical professional drawing a mark

There are several types of body contouring surgery available for people who have gone through massive weight loss. Consult your doctor and plastic surgeons for viable options.

Body contouring often begins with liposuction, removing excess fat but potentially leaving hanging skin.

Cosmetic surgeons may promptly plan to tighten the skin with options like ThermiTight, a recommended non-surgical procedure by Dr. Cameron Rokhsar, using radiofrequency for immediate results.

While a second surgery might be necessary later, it can be a highly effective and fast solution. More invasive procedures, like tummy tucks, involve removing excess skin and tightening muscles.

Dr. Olga Bachilo from Glamour Plastic Surgery emphasizes that these procedures require general anesthesia and have a longer recovery period, underscoring the importance of consulting certified plastic surgeons.

What Causes Skin To Sag?

Skin sags after significant weight gain due to diminished skin elasticity resulting from the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers, according News Medical [4].

Additionally, the natural decline in collagen production over time further complicates achieving tighter skin after weight loss.

“Skin that is stretched beyond the normal level is known as hyperelastic skin. This occurs when there is a rapid increase in collagen, or the production of elastin becomes low, hence causing the skin to lose its capacity for elasticity.”

- Dr. Catherine Shaffer, Ph.D., news-medical.net

It's important to recognize that dealing with this concern should not diminish your weight loss accomplishments.

Can Loose Skin Become Tight Again?

Pointing towards loose skin

Yes, loose skin can become tight again after weight loss.

However, in challenging cases, such as after bariatric surgery, excess skin may be substantial, necessitating plastic surgery for removal.

For individuals who have undergone a gradual and natural weight loss journey, addressing loose skin can be managed through natural approaches.

According to dermatologists, as reported by Forbes, the primary contributors to skin tightening are your overall skin health and elasticity [5].

How Long Does It Take For It To Tighten?

Compressing belly fat

Younger skin shows quicker tightening responses due to its natural elasticity. According to WebMD, the challenge of treating loose skin naturally intensifies due to the loss of skin elasticity as we age [6].

After bariatric surgery, significant weight loss and excess skin may not naturally return to normal over time. In these cases, the sole option is skin removal surgery.

Based on my experience with patients, I consistently advise against opting for bariatric surgery.

Related articles:

Loose Skin Vs Residual Fat Cells

A common misconception is that after significant weight loss, there might still be a considerable amount of fat under the skin. It's crucial to distinguish between excess skin and residual fat.

In women, especially after pregnancy, the skin may expand, leaving stretch marks that complicate visual assessment. If you feel the skin after weight loss and it's more than a few millimeters thick, it's likely to be stubborn fat reserves.

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FAQs

Does Your Age Influence Whether You Can Tighten Loose Skin?

Yes, your age can influence whether you can tighten skin tissue. From the age of 30, your body produces less collagen. And even a high-collagen diet can only provide that much of an effect on skin elasticity.

Will More Exercise Help With Tightening Loose Skin After Weight Loss?

Yes, more exercise will help with tightening loose skin after weight loss. Building up more muscle tissue can help fill the excess skin, and over the months ahead, it will help to naturally tighten the skin.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4529263/
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/collagen-synthesis
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7827176/
  4. https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-Causes-Hyperelastic-Skin.aspx
  5. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nomanazish/2021/08/28/how-to-improve-skin-elasticity-according-to-dermatologists/
  6. https://www.webmd.com/beauty/cosmetic-procedures-aging-skin
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About The Author

Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Senior Coach
Christiana Mikesch, CPT is a personal trainer and author with contributions to publications like the Chicago Tribune and Yahoo. She emphasizes a holistic approach to weight loss, combining an energy-fueling diet, goal-oriented workouts, and daily habits. Her approach avoids short-term goals and fosters a lifelong commitment to health and well-being.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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