Now it’s time to talk about leftover skin. As you’re aware, the skin stretches with weight gain of around 30 lbs and up. So, it is only natural to think about what happens to that skin once you lose the weight. To predict this, it is important to realize some key facts about the elastic nature of the skin.
The amount of skin recoil or elasticity is dependent on several factors and is very individualized. Some of the primary factors that affect this are the amount of collagen within the skin and the amount of elastin.
- Age: As we age, the amount of collagen we have decreases. Quite simply, the older you are, the less the ability for your skin to recoil after losing weight. So if you’re trying to lose weight, the earlier the better to provide the most recoil.
- Amount of Weight Loss: Skin stretches more with increased weight gain, so the heavier you are the more the skin stretches. And as such, the more you lose weight, the more the skin will need to recoil. So, the leftover skin is directly proportional to the actual stretch.
- Stretch Marks (Striae): Everything has a finite capacity, and likewise, skin is no different. A stretch mark is an actual tear in the dermal portion of the skin. It occurs because the skin when the skin is stretched beyond it’s capacity. Stretch marks typically occur when the skin is stretched too quickly as can be the case with pregnancy, body building, and weight gain. Due to the torn collagen containing portion of the skin, any area with stretch marks will not have the ability to recoil once weight is lost.
One common question is “How long after I start losing weight will I see the most skin retraction.” The short answer is that it depends on multiple factors as mentioned above. The only way to know for sure how much skin recoil you will individually experience is when the skin begins to sag. For example, when you begin losing weight, the skin won’t necessarily sag…it will keep up with the weight loss. But as time goes on, if the elasticity has been compromised, you will notice that the skin will beginning showing the effects of gravity. When this occurs, wrinkles will deepen and the skin will begin to sag. Once this sagging is noted, that is when you will start to notice maximal skin recoil. Therefore, it is difficult to say when you’re individualized skin will plateau in the recoil process. But, suffice to say, if you follow a program such as PhD Weight Loss, the weight loss is predictable, and as such, typically occurs around 3 months even though you will continue to lose weight under this program.
“Is there anything I can do to help increase or improve skin elasticity?”
While there are multiple factors that help maintain skin elasticity over a person’s life, there are a few supplements that can aide in regaining some skin recoil, although most are anecdotal meaning there is little research evidence to predict exact effects. Vitamin E oil, when applied to the skin and taken orally can help improve the collagen composition of the skin. Amino Acids and collagen supplements can be taken orally to help maintain collagen thickness. In addition, regimens recommended by PhD Weight Loss are also beneficial as they are typically high in protein.
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