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How to Prevent Sagging Skin when Losing Weight

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Are you worried about having sagging skin as you lose weight? Let me tell you why that extra skin develops and how you can eliminate it healthily. Read on to learn more.

In this article:

  1. The Problem of Sagging Skin During Weight Loss
  2. Understanding Skin Elasticity
  3. Losing Weight Unhealthily Makes the Skin Flabby
  4. Other Reasons for Sagging Skin
  5. Where Do You See Sagging Skin?
  6. How to Get Rid of Sagging Belly Skin

What to Do to Avoid Sagging Skin When Losing Weight


The Problem of Sagging Skin During Weight Loss

I got this question from people: How do you prevent your skin from sagging as you lose weight? I've had people not wanting to lose weight because they thought their skin is going to sag. Think about this—your skin is one of the largest organs in the body. As you get healthy, that skin heals because collagen heals up.


Understanding Skin Elasticity

Belly fat man with a soft-focus background is dark | How To Prevent Sagging Skin As You Lose Weight

Before we talk about sagging skin as you lose weight, why it occurs, and what you can do to prevent it, let's understand first the elasticity of the skin. Youthful skin is naturally supple and taut because it's abundant in elastin and collagen. These are proteins that provide the skin with structure and the ability to stretch.

Collagen is like a glue that sticks skin cells together, which makes up about one-third of the body's protein. It also gives your skin firmness and plumpness. The molecules in collagen pack together to create long and thin fibrils. These fibrils serve as supporting anchor cells and structures to each other, strengthening the skin.

Unlike collagen, which makes up more than 75% of the protein in the dermis, elastin is only around 2%. Yet its presence in the skin is crucial because it is responsible for the skin's resilience. It also has the ability to let the skin "snap back" into its original form after being stretched. If you lose elastin while having flabby skin as you lose weight, the skin can't bounce back and leaves it loose.

The aging process significantly affects elastin and collagen growth. As you age, your body produces less of them, making your skin less radiant and flexible. There are also other factors affecting the production of collagen and elastin in the skin, such as an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. Smoking, for example, creates free radicals in the body that can cause damage to your skin and overall health.


Losing Weight Unhealthily Makes the Skin Flabby

The only way you're going to get saggy skin when you lose weight is if you do it unhealthily, like undergoing a gastric bypass or following a major starvation diet, such as the human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) diet.

HCG Diet Definition: An extreme diet that restricts calories. A person can only eat 500-800 calories a day.

As long as you're losing weight healthily, the skin will adapt to weight loss because the process allows you to get rid of fat gradually over time. You may lose 1-2 pounds a week, so you can save your skin's elasticity. Losing weight slowly also gives you the opportunity to build muscles and shape the connective tissue underneath your loose skin.

Gastric Bypass Definition: A weight loss surgery that modifies how the stomach deals with the food a person eats. The surgery will make the stomach smaller, making the person feel full with less food.


Other Reasons for Sagging Skin

Doctor measuring obese man waist body fat | How To Prevent Sagging Skin As You Lose Weight

Aside from the reason that losing weight unhealthily can cause sagging skin, other factors can also affect your skin significantly. The elasticity levels of your skin determine how much loose skin you will have after you lost weight. Younger skin that's elastic can tighten back more effectively than older and less elastic skin. How much weight you will lose and how quickly you lose it will affect the excess skin you will have as well.

If you lose weight faster, your skin may not tighten as fast as you lose it. Those who have to lose 100 pounds or more will most likely have concerns with sagging skin when they achieve their desired weight. The period of weight gain also affects the elasticity of your skin. The shorter the time it took you to gain weight, the more ability your skin has in tightening back.


Where Do You See Sagging Skin?

The most obvious part of the body with flabby skin is around the abdominal area. It goes down past the belly part. You may also see saggy skin around the bra line or in your arms. Other dieters may see loose skin in the buttocks and thigh areas.


How to Get Rid of Sagging Belly Skin

Young man doing push-ups on the ocean beach | How To Prevent Sagging Skin As You Lose Weight

1. Do Reverse Sit-Ups for a Flabby Tummy

If you have a sagging belly, I created a video on my blog where you can do sit-ups in reverse for skin tightening. Most people do sit-ups where they lean forward; this makes the skin looser. In my method, what you will do instead is reverse sit-ups, which is to lean backward to tighten the skin in the abdominal area. So follow your diet program healthily, and the skin in your belly will not sag.

2. Push-Ups for Flabby Arms

Push-ups are a common exercise both men and women perform to significantly lose weight. You can follow these simple push-up instructions at home to tighten skin on your arms:

  • Using an exercise mat, position your palms facing downward on the mat with shoulder-width apart.
  • Slightly bend your arms and keep your feet together. This allows support for your weight using your hands and toes.
  • Lower your body with your arms until your chest almost touches the mat and inhale while doing this.
  • Push yourself back up while you exhale.
  • Steady your body and repeat as many times as you can.

Although this exercise is primarily to improve your chest area, it also works on your arms.

Losing weight is a feat in itself, so sagging skin or loose skin should not put a damper on your weight loss progress. Get rid of sagging skin by losing weight healthily and then toning up the skin with the right exercises. Patience and self-discipline are the keys to a youthful appearance.

Do you have sagging skin after weight loss? What best practices are you following to get rid of it? Share your experience in the comments section below.

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

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