Getting healthy and meeting your weight loss goals is fantastic, but sometimes can result in an excess of loose skin, which is not so great. For some, loose skin might just be an aesthetic annoyance, but for others it can be a real factor in low self esteem and anxiety.
Common causes of loose skin include rapid and significant weight loss, pregnancy and also natural time and age. It can happen with both men and women alike, but tends to be more common in women and often centers around the tummy, neck, face, legs, arms and hips.
Some people go to great lengths to improve loose skin when losing weight, like cosmetic surgery. Thankfully, there are a number of natural, safe and effective ways to prevent loose skin and tighten it up that you can start today, and they don’t come with any of the risks that you’d face with a surgical procedure.
Without further ado, here are ten ways to prevent loose skin when losing weight.
Both resistance training and cardio are important components to a balanced fitness plan, but strength training (AKA weight training) in particular can help prevent and improve the appearance of loose skin after weight loss. The longer that excess, flabby skin sags, the more difficult it can become to shrink it back. Building muscle can help, along with the myriad of other benefits that strength training provides.
Interval training is a way to prevent and tighten up loose skin, as it is a form of anaerobic exercise. Not only is this exercise method (particularly high intensity interval training, or a HIIT) shown to scorch fat, but it also increases growth hormone, which is important for skin maintenance and repair.
If you’re new to HIIT, you can start with a 5 minute warm-up, and 10, 30-second bursts of effort. Try to be around an 8-9 on a 1-10 scale of exertion. In between each 30-second burst, rest for 30-60 seconds. Cool down for 5 minutes. The beauty of HIIT is that you can choose any exercise you enjoy and challenges you, from walking or running to squat jumps and push-ups.
Dry Skin Brush
The practice of dry skin brushing is an incredible way to support detoxification pathways in the body, and can help prevent loose skin. By brushing away dead skin cells, your skin becomes brighter, plumper and more toned. It also supports the body’s lymphatic system, meaning you’ll have a healthier immune system.
Check out this resource for a step-by-step guide on how get started.
Get Plenty of Collagen
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. Fascinatingly, it’s produced by specialized cells in the ligaments, cartilage, skin and bones. Think of it as the glue holding your body together. The roles of collagen in the body are vast, such as reduced inflammation, cardiovascular function and bone density, to name just a few. When it comes to your skin, collagen provides essential nutrients that help texture, strength and water retention.
Bone broth is hands down the best food source of collagen (see instructions below) but you can also take a collagen supplement and eat a variety of meat on the bone. Foods that naturally boost collagen production include oysters and leafy greens.
Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Greens is a high quality product, if you’re considering supplementation.
Make Bone Broth
The top food source of collagen is a homemade bone broth, and in many cities across the country you can now buy it at natural food stores. However, this skin-supporting nourishment is much less expensive to make at home, and quite simple.
Save bones from chicken, beef, pork or any other type of meat in the freezer. When you have a pound or two, throw them in a slow cooker (or stove-top) with a tablespoon of vinegar, water, garlic, onions and any other veggies, herbs and spices that you enjoy. Bring it to a boil and then allow it to simmer for 12-24 hours on low heat. Sip throughout the day as if it were tea, use as the base for a soup recipe or include it in any of your favorite dishes.
If you’re reading this and know that making bone broth just isn’t going to happen, you can buy it in supplement form, too.
Eat Enough Protein
A diet with adequate protein, nutrients and healthy fats provides the building blocks your body needs to fight chronic inflammation, along with the skin-specific nutrients such as collagen, ceramides and keratin. Protein is the building block of your skin’s cells, and trying to firm up loose skin without eating enough protein is like building a house on a wobbly foundation.
Wonderful sources include grass-fed meats, organic poultry, eggs, whole grains and legumes, spirulina, nutritional yeast and whole dairy, if you tolerate it well.
Indulge in Massage
Massage isn’t just a luxury, it also boosts immunity, lowers stress and even improves skin elasticity! So if you’re ever questioning the price tag on that massage, think of the huge favor you’ll be doing to your skin, along with treating yourself to some well-deserved self care.
Opt for Natural Skin Care
To nourish your skin and prevent it from future sagging, opt for simple, natural and (whenever possible) organic products. Long ingredient lists of names you can’t pronounce are often packed full of harmful and toxic chemicals, so look for a brand that is free of estrogen, binders, fillers and perfumes.
Medicine Mama’s Apothecary line is one of my absolute favorites for natural, simple and highly effective skincare products.
Your skin’s barrier is made up of a layer of waxy fats that are absolutely essential for protecting your body from external pollutants and toxins. Essentially, this barrier works to create homeostasis and ensure an ideal environment for healthy skin. Think of it as the gateway between your body and the outside world. To function as it should, this barrier needs to be well hydrated.
Shoot for a minimum of half of your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water daily. For example, a 140 pound woman would need to drink at least 70 ounces of water per day.
Eat Plenty of Healthy Fats
Eating plethora of healthy fats is important for many reasons, and skin health is definitely one. The inner layers of your skin (the dermis) are profoundly effected by what you eat. Every skin cel is surrounded by layers of fat that make up the cell walls, known as the phospholipid bilayer. Without enough good fats in the diet, this bilayer is unable give your skin that rosy, firm and plump appearance.
Stick to fats such as olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, avocado and avocado oil, grass fed butter, ghee, nuts, seeds and naturally occurring fats from wild fish and seafood.
Loose skin after weight loss does not have to be a life sentence. By incorporating some of these diet and lifestyle tips, you can slowly but surely tighten up loose skin and prevent it from happening in the future.