How to Tighten Loose and Sagging Skin After Weight Loss Surgery

Losing a sizable amount of weight can be life changing. It often improves your health and self-esteem along with changing your appearance. 

However, losing that many pounds also often result in excess skin, which can affect you both physically and mentally. A large amount of excess weight typically stretches the skin, and how well your skin tightens back varies based on factors such as age, genetics, sun exposure and how long you were markedly overweight. 

sagging skin weight loss surgery

More than 70 percent of individuals who undergo bariatric surgery develop excess skin. This loose skin can interfere with exercise and lead to chafing, rashes, bacteria growth and other issues that cause discomfort. 

Although some individuals choose to undergo cosmetic procedures like body contouring to treat loose skin, there are other less invasive methods you can try. The important thing is to consult with your doctor before making any major changes. Your skin is an organ — the body’s largest — and should be treated carefully. 

Physical Activity 

If you’ve had bariatric surgery or lost a noticeable amount of weight another way, you know that exercise is a key component of sustaining your weight loss. Be sure to stick to your exercise regime, whether it consists of walking, swimming, working out at a gym or some other activity. 

Doing resistance and strength training effectively builds muscle mass and enables you to target specific areas of your body. By growing more muscle mass, you’ll have less saggy skin. 

Nutrition and Hydration 

Most individuals who’ve lost a lot of weight already know that a balanced diet is an essential part of the process. Continuing those positive habits also can help you better deal with the effects of excess skin. Skin elasticity can also be improved by eating foods high in vitamins C, E, A, K and B, and well-hydrated skin is more elastic and flexible than if it’s dehydrated. 

Consume a balanced diet with plenty of protein and vitamins and drink plenty of water — 48-64 ounces daily or as recommended by your physician. Avoid drinking too much alcohol and beverages with caffeine, which can dehydrate you. 

Compression Garments 

Although they’re typically not the most comfortable accessories, compression clothing can reduce common rashes that occur from chaffing by reducing skin-to-skin friction. These pieces of clothing also can help you hide your sagging skin by firmly holding it together under your other clothes. Before using these garments after bariatric surgery, though, consult your doctor. 

Collagen Supplements 

Collagen hydrolysate supplements can help improve the skin’s collagen production, improving hydration and firming sagging skin. Although this has not been definitively proven, one controlled study found that skin elasticity, texture and hydration increased significantly after 12 weeks of taking a liquid collagen supplement.

There are many creams on the market that claim to firm up skin, but most of them only produce temporary results. As with other products, talk to your doctor before making them a part of your regular skincare routine.

Radiofrequency Treatment 

Another non-surgical method for treating loose and sagging skin, radiofrequency treatments utilize a combination of infrared light, radiofrequency and massage to reduce loose skin. It may help reduce small areas of fat cells. 

Body Contouring 

Cosmetic surgery following weight loss surgery is referred to as body contouring. Research published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found that patients who received body-contouring surgery were more likely to maintain their weight loss compared to those who had bariatric surgery alone. 

Body contouring procedures effectively tighten loose and sagging skin in multiple areas, including the abdomen, chest area, upper arms, thighs and face. Specific body-contouring surgeries include:

  • Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck): removal of skin from the abdomen
  • Lower-body lift: removal of skin from the belly, buttocks, hips, and thighs
  • Upper-body lift: removal of skin from the breasts and back
  • Medial thigh lift: removal of skin from the inner and outer thighs
  • Brachioplasty (arm lift): removal of skin from the upper arms 

Most of these procedures require a recovery period of two to four weeks. The cost for any of these body contouring surgeries depends on your specific needs as a patient.  

VIDA offers a wide range of Body Contouring surgeries and procedures. To schedule a one-on-one consultation with a VIDA board-certified plastic surgeon at our AAAASF-accredited hospital in Mexico, contact us today!