Did you know that the #1 fear overweight people have is fear of having loose skin and stretch marks after weight loss? That goes so far that people would actually keep their weight on just to avoid getting loose skin. If you are one of those people, I'm sorry for saying this, but I personally think that is insane.
If you are reading this you probably have the same question on your mind – will you get loose skin and stretch marks if you lose weight?
Well, that depends on many things:
- How tall are you and how much you weigh?
- What's your weight loss diet?
- How much water do you drink?
- What's your genetics like in your family?
- Do you love sugar?
To be honest with you there is definitely a way to reduce the chance of getting loose skin and stretch marks, but you need to educate yourself first, so keep reading, the information provided below will be very helpful.
Does losing weight mean you will have loose skin and stretch marks?
First, you have to separate those two things.
Stretch marks appear while gaining weight by stretching your skin. If you stop stretching your skin and do the necessary steps to get rid of the stretch marks you will likely avoid having them. We will talk more about this a bit later.
Loose skin is the product of extreme weight loss. It doesn't have to be a fat loss, if you are a bodybuilder and you drop the muscles, you can encounter loose skin. You can encounter this issue also after giving birth. Any type of ultimate body shrinking can result in having loose skin.
However, there are just too many factors.
In order to give your skin the best chance to heal and goes back to the normal state is having a proper diet and water intake.
Sugar is known to destroy collagen, dehydration is known to dry the skin out leaving no chances for recovery, all these small daily steps are important.
If you have 200 pounds or more of excess fat, not even God himself can help you. It's just impossible and you will likely need to have a surgical procedure. If you are under that number you have a chance of avoiding it.
Diet, water intake, genetics, skincare, and time are the biggest factors that can help you and we will cover all of them here.
If you follow the steps properly your skin could adapt to your weight loss, and be tightened as it should be. But first, you need to know these things.
What are stretch marks actually and how to treat them?
In today's world, it's completely normal to have stretch marks, and it's not really a big deal.
Stretch marks are a sort of scar on the skin caused by rapid skin stretch.
Very tall people usually have horizontal stretch marks over their back, caused by their rapid growth. Skin just couldn't keep up with the body and it snapped at some point, leaving a scar.
On the other hand, overweight people can find them all over their body but mainly stomach (mostly men), arms, glutes, and thighs (mostly women).
However, stretch marks are common today and anyone who changed something in their life that caused rapid growth (including bodybuilders) will end up will stretch marks.
They are not dangerous, nor health risk, but people often want to get rid of them. The good news here is that you can get rid of them at some point.
You see when you get stretch marks, there are a couple of stages
- Early stretch marks will appear and they'll have a slightly pink color. The skin around them may look thin and you may even experience the itchy feeling. At this point, you can use all kinds of natural remedies or creams from pharmacy to stop.
- If you don't treat stretch marks at the first stage and you keep stretching your skin, stretch marks will become larger and they will have a purple color. They will also feel a lot more itchy.
- At the third stage, stretch marks will gradually become skin color, but they will remain as a permanent scar. At this point, removing stretch marks is very difficult, if not impossible.
Believe it or not, there are very few products out there that can actually help you remove stretch marks because most of those creams may contain sulfates which are known to destroy collagen. How can your skin heal with cream that destroys part of the skin?
I managed to find awesome and inexpensive cream for natural stretch marks removal on Amazon, it's Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula with Vitamin E + Q10.
[amazon fields=”B010CRCY90″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_alt=”Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula” image_align=”center”]
[amazon fields=”B010CRCY90″ value=”button”]
With over 4 thousand reviews, folks seem pretty happy with it, so for this inexpensive price, why not trying it out!
On the other hand, if you want to craft your own cream, that is possible, and you can find recipes below.
What is loose skin actually?
Okay, I admit it, it isn't attractive. But what is better, have loose skin or to be unhealthy? Is the loose skin really worth your life?
Loose skin is a result of rapid body shrinking, where your skin, just like the situation with stretch marks, cannot catch up with your body.
Let's say at some point in your life you were big. It can be due to obesity, pregnancy or you were a bodybuilder, it doesn't matter. Your skin stretched in order to cover your whole body. The problem is when you drop the fat, lose the muscle, or give birth to a baby, your skin cannot keep up with you, and it becomes saggy and loose.
Myth: Loose skin is a result of FAST weight loss.
Believe it or not, it doesn't matter did you lose 100 pounds in a month or in a year. There are just too many factors that play a huge role with your skin that the speed of your weight loss doesn't have to do anything with it.
This is a myth for weight loss, not the pregnancy. Women will have loose skin after pregnancy because it's impossible for the skin to shrink that fast, but in 99% of the cases, it will go back to normal after a few months.
It's true that skin needs time to recover. But it's also a truth that you need to help it if you want it to get back to normal.
Here are a few different factors that can play a role in having loose skin:
- Age: As you get older, your skin becomes less elastic. If you don't have a fountain of youth in your backyard, years will catch up with you. It's just the way it goes!
- Genetics: Influence how much firmness your skin retains as you get older. Besides that genetics is actually 90% of skin recovery ability. Unfortunately figuring your genes when it comes to skin recovery it's not possible. Well, not that I know of.
- Sun exposure: Your past, present, and future exposure to the sun can damage your skin. The problem is not actually in the sun, it's the UV light that burns and dehydrates your skin, but you get the picture. If you are pale, make sure to always use sun cream!
- Diet: Having a bad diet is also a very good way to end up with loose skin. Your skin needs minerals and vitamins like vitamin E and D, in order to recover.
- Water intake and hydration: 80% of the body is water. Your skin needs to be hydrated from the inside (drinking water) and from the outside (using creams) in order to recover
How to avoid getting loose skin
Yes, this is possible but not if you have over 200 pounds of excess fat.
There are 5 things you can actually do day today in order to increase the chances of avoiding loose skin. Those are.
It's very important to have a balanced diet for your skin health.
Make sure that your diet is based on proteins. Skin just like muscles feed on proteins and hates carbs. I would recommend having a ketogenic diet in this case because it's based on low carbs which will definitely help your skin recover.
Also, make sure to balance your minerals properly. Many people make mistakes underestimating the power of minerals which will only cause unhealthy weight loss.
If you are a smoker, stop it. Besides numerous unhealthy cons, smoking is very bad for your skin. I know it's hard but there are awesome ways now you can stop smoking. Do your research and give your skin a better chance to recover.
2. Water intake
Just like for weight loss, water intake is extremely important. Our brain, our body, our skin, all those things need water for normal functioning.
If you do not have a habit of drinking water buy a simple plastic bottle and carry it with you wherever you go. Even if you are inside the house. If you are going to the kitchen carry it with you. Living room? Carry the bottle with you. That way you will always have water with you and every now and then take a sip.
The woman should drink around 2.5 liters of water every day, and the man should drink 3-3.5 liters.
Unfortunately, you can't control this one.
Genes are a HUGE part of skin recovery ability and you just can't control it. It's worth of mention just for the record, so let's again skip to something you can control.
If you have a proper healthy diet and proper water intake that's just half of the work. Giving your skin food from the inside is 50% of work done, but you need to feed the surface too.
It's kinda awkward to say this because everyone should do it from the beginning but knowing that some people don't have this daily habit I'll say it anyways – please shower at least once per day. Hydrating your skin from the outside is important as hydration from the inside. You will improve skin elasticity and flush off dead skin cells.
Also, make sure to get some hydrating after shower cream and apply it after taking a shower. This will ensure your skin is much longer hydrated and clean.
Time has nothing to do with how fast are you losing weight. You will not lose 20 pounds in a week if your body doesn't let you do that, so the myth about how fast you are losing weight has nothing to do with skin.
However, it takes time for the skin to recover and get back to normal. Having a good diet, water intake and skincare will result but after a few months.
If you don't see results after a week, don't worry about it. It's normal so just keep doing what you're doing and results will come!
How to get rid of loose skin
If you, however, end up with loose skin hanging more than 4-6 months after your weight loss, then unfortunately there's nothing much you can do except…
Well, I suppose you pretty much know the answer.
The most known solution for excess skin removal is surgery. Many people fear this because recovery time can take months, and it can leave pretty bad scars.
As always fitness industry is full of crap and lies which means people recommend things that have nothing to do with avoiding loose skin.
Compressing clothes, body wrap nylons, and foils, creams for treating loose skin, those things are a waste of money and they don't do shit.
So pretty much at this point, you have two options:
- Accept it. I found many people fearing loose skin and after their weight loss, they accepted it. John from ObeseToBeast became popular when recording a video of his biggest insecurity – loose skin. He decided surgery is not for him, because it doesn't bother him that much. He finds it motivating and they represent “scars from the war” as he said in one video. So that's an option
- The other option is surgery of course.
Before considering surgery make sure you have loose skin!
Many people say they have loose skin when they don't, they still have fat underneath, which is not surgery ready.
Skin is a few millimeters thick, so if you can grab a hand full “loose skin” there's likely more fat to lose. For men, if you have loose skin under 10% body fat that is surgery ready. For a woman, if you have under 15% body fat that is surgery ready. Everything above those numbers is not valid.
If you think you are surgery ready do your research and schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Superfoods and homemade natural remedies for skincare
You can definitely make your own homemade natural cream but bear in mind that it will cost you a bit more than the one I already suggested.
Here are a few recipes:
1. Cocoa butter
Cocoa butter is quite effective for stretch marks. It will hydrate your skin and make it smoother by penetrating into the deeper layers of the skin and replenishing and repairing damaged cells.
- 1/2 cup cocoa butter
- 1 tablespoon wheat germ oil
- 2 teaspoons beeswax
- 1 tablespoon apricot oil
- 1 tablespoon vitamin E oil
- 1 tablespoon kernel oil
Mix everything together until the beeswax has melted completely. Store this mixture in an airtight container in your refrigerator and apply it twice a day and stretch marks should disappear after month or two.
2. Aloe Vera with vitamins
Best companies in the world use aloe vera in their products because it has incredible anti-inflammatory powers for the skin. Detoxing skin and cleaning dead skin cells can be tricky, but aloe very nails it easily.
- Fresh aloe vera gel (can be bought everywhere)
- 5 vitamin A capsules
- 10 vitamin E capsules
Mix vitamin from capsules with aloe vera and massage the skin until the mixture is fully absorbed. Your skin will be very grateful.
3. Apple cider vinegar, lemon, and honey
Besides many healthy weight loss benefits of apple cider vinegar, you can also use it for skincare. Mix the tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1/2 of lemon (squeezed juice), and 1 tablespoon of honey. If you need more for a bigger surface just double the ingredients.
Stretch marks are the result of rapid skin stretching (expansion). Loose skin is the opposite, it is a result of extreme body shrinking. It can be avoided if a proper diet is followed, water intake is regulated and skincare is applied. It also depends on genetics and time.
If you have under 10% of body fat if you are men, or under 15% if you are a woman, and still have loose skin, the only way to remove it is surgery. Do not waste money on wraps, creams of that kind or compressing clothes, they will not help you get rid of loose skin.
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Tell me about your experience with loose skin or stretch marks in the comments!
Founder at Extreme Loser