FAQ: “I lost a large amount of weight and now I have a lot of extra skin. Now what?”
Weight Loss
Morgan Medeiros MSc
April 23, 2019

extra skin after weight lossIf you’ve recently reached your goal weight after months or even years of hard work: congratulations!

You’re likely feeling elated, proud, and even a little shocked at having attained your goal.

If you’re like many people who have lost a large amount of weight, you may also be surprised to find that your skin isn’t bouncing back the way you might have hoped.

Your skin is your body’s largest organ

When we are young, our skin is much more elastic. As we age and lose that elasticity, stretch marks, sagging skin, and wrinkles become the norm.

For those who have lost a large amount of weight, the degree to which the skin was stretched after months or years of being an at increased weight is such that the skin may never tighten or reform to the body in a seamless fashion.

However, it is important to note that- for many people- skin will recover to some degree after spending a period of months at goal weight.

Exercise can also help increase muscle tone

Exercise will improve the appearance of excess skin as it lies over a firm surface (rather than a soft one).

For those with large amounts of skin, however, skin reductive procedures may be helpful to improve the appearance of the skin or reduce the risk of friction and infection that comes with having large skin folds.

The type of procedure (or procedures) used to remove excess skin will ultimately depend on the individual and their intention for the procedure: certain skin removal procedures focus largely on function (removing larger amounts of skin to reduce friction), while others are more focused on appearance (typically for smaller amounts of skin).

For those with a large amount of excess skin, procedures like panniculectomies (to remove skin from the abdominal area), and upper and lower body lift procedures (to remove skin from the arms, back, buttocks, or legs) are common.

For those with less skin to remove, procedures like abdominoplasties (aka tummy tuck) are common and focus primarily on the cosmetic implications of excess skin.

If you plan to have skin reduction procedures, always vet the opinion of your personal physician as well as a board certified cosmetic surgeon.

While many skin removal procedures are cosmetic in nature, they are also invasive and potentially life threatening surgeries and should be treated seriously.

Morgan Medeiros is a certified nutritionist, holding a both a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Morgan completed her undergraduate education at Central Washington University, and her graduate education at Northeastern University. During her time as a graduate student, Morgan focused her area of expertise in health education, weight management, and behavioral change. Morgan has experience working in areas of nutritional neuroscience and disease prevention, obesity prevention, and weight loss. Morgan also works in areas of nutritional analysis and menu labeling for restaurants, where she is able to creatively bridge her interest in food culture and health education. In her free time, Morgan enjoys traveling, reading, writing, running, and spending time with her family and friends (including- most importantly- her dog, Clyde).

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