If you’ve lost a lot of weight with weight loss surgery, such as gastric sleeve surgery or mini gastric bypass surgery, you’re probably feeling healthier than ever. You can walk and exercise for longer without losing your breath, health conditions such as sleep apnea and diabetes have likely improved, and you feel more confident about the way you look. But there might be one thing that’s bothering you: loose skin after losing weight.
It’s important to know that not everyone experiences loose skin after weight loss surgery. It’s largely dependent on genetic factors, such as how much collagen is in your skin, which determines how elastic your skin will be. Some people will experience minimal or no loose skin after bariatric surgery, and others will have some excess skin because their skin is less elastic. Losing a lot of weight, such as over 100 pounds, will also increase the chance of developing loose skin.
So, what can you do if you experience loose skin after weight loss surgery?
Be Kind to Yourself
You worked so hard to lose weight and regain your health, and that’s worth celebrating! If your health has improved and your doctor is proud of your progress, that’s the ultimate goal. Losing weight with weight loss surgery is about undergoing a health transformation – it’s not about looking a certain way. It’s easy to be hard on ourselves when we’re surrounded by airbrushed and digitally altered images on social media. It’s important to remember nobody has a ‘perfect’ body. Real bodies have stretch marks, blemishes, cellulite, bumps, wrinkles, and even excess skin. And that’s okay!
Improving your muscle tone won’t get rid of loose skin, but it can help firm your body and reduce the overall look of loose skin. If you’re new to exercising and strength training, start out slowly with light weights and gradually increase the amount you can lift. You don’t need to strength train everyday – it’s often recommended to lift weights three times per week and allow your body a day between sessions to recover. It’s easy to strength train at home by purchasing some hand weights and following a workout app to guide you. If you choose to follow a workout app, make sure you start with the ‘beginners’ section to avoid straining your muscles.
Protect Your Skin’s Collagen and Elastin
While young people have the most collagen and elastin possible due to their age, there are many lifestyle factors that influence the amount of collagen in your skin, such as diet, sun exposure, smoking, and alcohol consumption. The healthier your skin, the more elastic your skin will be while you’re losing weight. You can protect the collagen you have in your skin by eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Focus on whole foods that have the most nutrient density and antioxidant power, and consume fewer processed foods that contain high quantities of sugar and saturated fats. Sun exposure also leads to collagen breakdown in the skin, so be sure to wear your SPF everyday and reapply every two hours during outdoor activities. Unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking and excess alcohol consumption will also age your skin faster and degrade your collagen.
Consider Surgery to Remove Loose Skin
Having a lot of loose skin after weight loss surgery can feel uncomfortable and some people prefer to have it surgically removed. The removal of loose skin is called body contouring surgery. There are several types of body contouring surgery to consider, depending on where the majority of your loose skin is located:
- Abdominoplasty: Also called a tummy tuck, this removes loose skin from the abdomen.
- Brachioplasty: Also called an arm lift, this removes loose skin from the upper arms.
- Lower body lift: This removes loose skin from the belly, hips, thighs, and buttocks.
- Upper body lift: This removes loose skin from the back and breasts.
- Medial thigh lift: This removes loose skin from the inner and outer thighs.
Surgery to remove loose skin requires some downtime to recover. However, patients who undergo surgery to remove loose skin feel more comfortable when going about everyday activities and feel more confident wearing clothes. It’s not necessary to undergo body contouring after weight loss surgery, but it’s a great option if you’re struggling with loose skin. If you’re looking for tummy tuck surgery or liposuction in Canada, or another type of body contouring procedure, our partners at Clearpoint Health Network offer many of these procedures at their private surgical centres, and they have locations in Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Vancouver to serve patients throughout Canada.
SmartShape Weight Loss Centre is Canada’s Bariatric Centre of Excellence
If weight-related health conditions are impacting your health and quality of life, weight loss surgery at SmartShape Weight Loss Centre may be the right choice for you. SmartShape Weight Loss Centre is located in Toronto, Ontario and works with patients across Canada to improve their health and lose weight. Bariatric surgery may be the tool you need to reach your weight loss goals and take control of your health.
SmartShape is Canada’s only accredited Bariatric Center of Excellence. We offer several weight loss surgery options in Canada, including the gastric sleeve, mini gastric bypass surgery, and Lap-Band or gastric band. SmartShape’s team of expert weight loss surgeons and our clinical Aftercare Support Team will help you every step of the way throughout your weight loss transformation, so you can achieve sustainable weight loss. Our unique 5-year aftercare program ensures our patients have the tools they need for success.
Explore our weight loss surgery procedures and read our patient success stories to discover how weight loss surgery can improve your overall health and confidence. If you’d like to learn more about weight loss surgery, schedule a free virtual consultation with our experienced bariatric surgeon to discuss your goals and which weight loss surgery is right for you.