What’s Post-Weight Loss Skincare All About?
Healthy weight loss is a good thing. We all know that. But what about the loose and sagging skin that accompanies it? Let’s see what our expert has to say.
Every New Year’s Eve you prepare a new list of resolutions. But one item that’s the same old and always on top of the list is ‘weight loss.’ Yes, you may word it differently - call it a healthy lifestyle, being fit, inch loss and whatnot. But essentially you are aiming to drop some pounds. While we won’t comment on how far you are able to sustain your resolutions, we definitely know that you will go with the momentum and lose weight initially. Sadly, weight loss is accompanied by sagging skin, and you need the right kind of treatment to keep your skin firm and toned.
Don’t win to lose
Dr Chytra Anand, Celebrity Cosmetic Dermatologist and Founder of Kosmoderma Clinics, explains, “If the weight loss is small to moderate, and happens gradually, the skin will retract itself. Your skin is able to take care of itself. The problem occurs when the weight loss is more - around 5kg - and happens in a sudden manner. Then your skin is unable to retract.”
As you gain weight, your skin stretches itself to cover the excess area. “The fat expands the skin and gives it some amount of volume, structure and definition. So, when the fat is suddenly taken away, the skin loses this structure, which leads to sagging. Therefore, a gradual weight loss is advisable - 2-3 kgs per month. At this rate, the skin will automatically retract itself and there won’t be any sagging.”
“Except for the bony areas, the rest of the body is supported by fat. But the areas that are more prone to sagging skin due to weight loss are the face, breast tissue, underside of the upper arms, belly (especially the lower abdomen), the lower buttock area (often referred to as gluteal fold or banana fold), and thighs. The face structure and skin are also supported by fat,” explains Dr Anand.
She recommends several in-clinic treatments such as multi- and bipolar radiofrequency therapies. These are entry-level treatments, typically performed once a week for the first six months, and once in two weeks for the next six months, thus they are done for a year with monthly maintenance. “Then there is HIFU or high intensity focused ultrasound, which uses ultrasound waves to tighten the skin and increase the collagen production and bind the elastin fibres so that the skin tissue retracts. It takes between one to two sessions of HIFU to help tighten the skin.”
“The best treatment for skin tightening is Ultherapy, which uses focused ultrasound to improve collagen and elastin, which results in skin retraction,” she affirms.
According to Dr Anand, if there is excess weight loss and there is too much sagging skin, then skin excision through surgery is the next option. For spot reduction, there are non-surgical options like CoolSculpting that work on inch loss and skin tightening.
Care during weight loss
“We recommend our patients to get on a healthy diet for weight loss, which is high in protein content, rich in vitamins (to maintain skin health) and contains important oils such as omega oils and fish oils for lubrication of the skin tissue. The more lubricated or hydrated the skin is, the better it is able to retract. When the skin is dry or dehydrated, it stretches but it is unable to retract. We therefore recommend at least two rounds of moisturiser during the day, accompanied by lymphatic massage to drain fat and stimulate the muscles, bringing in fresh nourishment and nutrition to the skin.
“The skin texture of men and women is different post-weight loss because of the oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone,” remarks Dr Anand. She points out that the male skin does not have a tendency to sag as much as the female skin, and this is principally due to the presence of the testosterone hormone, which is responsible for laxity. Male skin tissue tends to retract a bit faster than female skin, while the latter also sees more stretch marks.
“For those under 25 years of age, growth hormones are being released, which help the skin to retract on its own, and reduce the sagginess. After 25, the growth hormone production decreases and this is when we see that the skin has changed. Between 25 to 40 years of age, the skin still has the inherent capacity to repair itself. But post 40, especially for women in the perimenopausal and menopausal stages, there is a change in the oestrogen and progesterone balance leading to sagging and stretch marks.”
Weight loss has long-term and adverse effects on the skin, so it is important to make it gradual and sustained. Instead of getting into a crash or fad diets, consult a nutritionist or dietician and opt for a more balanced approach. Allow your skin to heal even as your body loses fat. And if you still have to contend with sagging skin, don’t hesitate to reach out to a dermatologist for the right aesthetic treatment for your problem.Disclaimer: The above content is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a qualified physician or doctor. The Company does not vouch for or endorse any of the above content, and disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied, relating to the same.