In addition to weight loss, age, poor nutrition, dehydration, excessive sun exposure, and smoking can all affect the elasticity of the skin and give you that elephant-like appearance you probably donít want.
Why Skin Gets Loose After Weight Loss
Since it has to stretch as we move, grow, and, as in the case of weight loss, shrink, skin is an incredibly elastic living organ. Different layers of your skin have different types of cells, and though the skin cells on the outer part of your skin are constantly being lost and replaced, the skin cells underneath that top layer are more permanent. These layers of the skin, called the dermis and subdermis, are made up of elastic connective tissues, fibers, blood vessels and all sorts of components that can stretch or contract.
What Happens to Your Skin When You Lose Weight?
When you lose weight (and especially when you lose weight very quickly) the elastic components of your skin not only lose the layers of fat that keep them stretched out over your body, but they also donít have much time for their elasticity to adapt to your new shape. As you lose fat and your loose skin begins to appear, DON'T PANIC! Your skin will slowly return to a shape that fits your new body, however, that process can take up to two years.
Here are a few steps you can take help your skin tighten more quickly.
Tip #1: Donít Lose Weight Too Quickly
Age, poor nutrition, dehydration, excessive sun exposure, and smoking can all affect the elasticity of the skin in addition to rapid weight loss. Crash diets and excessive amounts of time spent exercising can rapidly shed both muscle and fat, resulting in a double-whammy on your skin (the supportive muscle that holds skin against your body is lost, as is the fat that keeps the skin stretched out.)
Aim to lose no more than 1-2 pounds of fat per week, and make sure your weight loss program includes weight lifting so that you don't lose any lean muscle as you lose weight.
Tip #2: Stay Hydrated
Water is a crucial component of maintaining skin elasticity. Aim at least two liters of water each day (from food and drink).
Tip #3: Eat Properly
Protein-rich foods such as cottage cheese, milk, legumes, tofu, beans, seeds, nuts, and fish all contain collagen and elastin which keep the skin plump and elastic, as well as healthy oils to help maintain healthy skin.
Tip #4: Take Care of Your Skin
Nourish and care for your skin. Daily exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells and increase skin circulation. A hot bath with sea salts and minerals can improve skin tone. Skin moisturizers with aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, yeast extract, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A can help to hydrate and increase collagen and elastin formation in skin.
Stay away from sulfates in soaps, shampoos and dishwashing liquids, limit your sun exposure, stay away from tanning booths, and limit your exposure to hot and chlorinated water; all of which decrease skin elasticity.