Anyone who’s ever lost a lot of weight can tell you it’s hard work. After spending months working towards your goal, all you want is a body you’re comfortable with. So, there are few things more discouraging than folds of extra or loose skin covering your new, more slender curves. Extra skin after losing weight with phentermine is a common problem, mostly because we tend to lose weight quickly while taking this medication. So, here’s a little more about why loose skin happens and what to do about it!
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Why Extra Skin Happens
Extra skin remains after weight loss when the tissue is not elastic enough to adjust to the body’s changing size. For this reason, it is much more common to struggle with loose or excess skin after dramatic weight loss. Since many people lose weight fast with phentermine, it’s a common problem in our community. Genetics, age and the number of times your weight has yo-yo’d also play a big role in the amount of sagging skin. Unfortunately, then, there’s no perfect formula to prevent extra skin after weight loss. Still, here’s some suggestions to help minimize the annoying (and potentially problematic) folds of tissue.
Preventing Extra Skin After Losing Weight
As we said, there’s no magic bullet (or pill or wrap…) to 100% avoid extra or loose skin after major weight loss. There are, however, some things you can do during your phentermine weight loss journey to help keep your skin as elastic as possible and minimize the additional folds.
As if you needed any more reasons to stay hydrated while taking phentermine, drinking plenty of water can help minimize extra skin. Research has shown that dieters who remained well-hydrated throughout their weight loss journeys had less loose skin at the end. This may relate to water’s role in plumping cells and keeping skin soft. If you’ve ever been dehydrated, you know that your skin doesn’t bounce back nearly as quickly. So, in addition to combating dry mouth and boosting weight loss, water is also your friend in promoting skin elasticity and minimizing loose skin.
Eat the Rainbow
Like hydration, there’re a million reasons to eat a balanced diet, and skin health is just another one on the list. The most important reason to eat healthy is your diet’s role in providing nutrients to support bodily functions.
Collagen is the protein that gives your skin structure and supports regeneration of skin cells, and your body needs vitamin C to build collagen. So, make sure to eat plenty of citrus, melons, berries, tropical fruits and bell peppers to get your daily dose of vitamin C. Berries are an especially good choice because they also contain anthocyanidins (plant pigments) that also support collagen generation. Apart from fruits and veggies, foods with proline (an amino acid found in egg whites), copper or vitamin A also support collagen synthesis. On the flip side, too many sugary foods and drinks can hinder production of this useful protein. Collagen naturally decreases with age (this is what causes wrinkles), so be extra conscientious of your intake of the above foods if you’re getting older. Protecting your collagen is an important part of skin health, especially if you’re worried about extra skin after losing weight with phentermine.
Learning healthy eating habits will also decrease the chances of yo-yoing, which helps further protect against the possibility of excess skin. The more times your skin has to expand and contract the harder it becomes for the cells and tissue to adapt. Just like a piece of clothing that’s repeatedly stretched and shrunk, your skin grows less and less able to return to its original size. So, the more consistently you maintain your weight, the better. Healthy and sustainable diet and exercise habits are big part of continuing your new, healthier lifestyle.
Don’t Smoke or Sunbathe
Remember the collagen we talked about earlier? Smoking and UV rays both damage collagen. If you’re fighting to protect your skin and prevent damage, cigarettes and tanning beds have to go. The more damaged your collagen is, the less likely your skin is to bounce back after major weight loss. Good news is: these are habits that you should kick anyway. Smoking is unhealthy for many reasons, and should be avoided while on phentermine. With UV rays, if you’re going to be out in the sun, make sure to regularly apply sunscreen with protection of SPF 30 or higher.
Eating a balanced diet is important, but sometimes it’s hard to get everything in, despite your best intentions. This is even more true when you’re losing weight and restricting your intake. So, in some cases, supplementation may prove beneficial for your health and your skin.
Before adding any supplements, check with your prescribing doctor and pharmacist. They are best able to assess the safety of combining any additional substances with your phentermine prescription. Still, some sources suggest that a multivitamin, collagen and/or fish oil supplement may prove beneficial.
Dealing with Extra Skin After Losing Weight
Even if you follow all the advice above, you may reach your goal weight only to be left with excess skin. If you’re comfortable with the extra skin and it’s not causing any problems, no worries – you’re done! Now it’s just a matter of maintaining healthy habits and keeping the weight off. If, however, the extra skin makes you uncomfortable or puts you at risk health-wise, here are some options to help diminish its appearance.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
First and foremost, don’t be too hard on yourself about the extra skin! That skin is a badge of honor. Not many people can say they’ve lost so much weight, and then kept it off long enough to worry about a little (or a lot of) extra skin. Yes, it may be annoying cosmetically, but it’s also really awesome that you lost all of that weight! Unless you’re concerned about skin infections in the folds, or the extra tissue is restricting you in some way, it’s very much up to you whether you want to do anything about it. Some people like to reduce the folds so that they have more freedom with fashion or as a confidence boost, but others prefer to keep it as a reminder of how far they’ve come. Ultimately, it’s all up to you.
If you’re interested in making the loose skin look a little tighter but aren’t ready to sign up for anything too drastic, hit the gym. Sometimes extra skin after losing weight is relatively minor (at least in some areas), so re-shaping your body can make it much less noticeable. Bolstering your major muscle groups in your arms, legs and back takes work, but it’s totally worth it if it fills the previously fat-filled skin with lean, healthy muscle.
On top of looking nice, building muscle can also help you keep the weight off. Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat, and since your body will always want to gain the weight back, keeping your calorie-burning power at top speed is critical over the long-term. Help yourself burn calories while you sleep or watch TV by putting in the time to maintain good lean muscle mass.
See a Doctor
When you lose a large amount of weight (think 80-100 pounds or more), saggy skin is somewhat unavoidable. Especially if the weight flew off very quickly. So if the extra skin is significant, bothering you or restricting your daily activities, you may want to see a doctor about reducing it.
There are two main medical options: laser/radiofrequency treatments or plastic surgery. The former is a possibility throughout your weight loss journey, while the latter is a procedure you can consider once you’ve reached (and maintained) your goal weight.
Laser or Radiofrequency Treatments
These are non-surgical interventions that warm and plump collagen fibers to improve the appearance of your skin, and stimulate continued collagen production. The treatments are relatively low-risk with very little recovery time, but the effects are also more temporary. Still, these are medical procedures that you would undergo at a specialist’s office, so speak to your doctor if you are interested in undergoing laser or radiofrequency treatments to reduce extra skin after weight loss.
This is the most serious option for reducing extra skin, but some people find it warranted or even necessary. You may be a candidate for these procedures if you have a large amount of excess skin, have maintained your weight loss for at least a year or more (and remain committed to your healthy lifestyle), and are otherwise healthy. Of course, your doctors are the only ones that can truly determine your suitability.
The most common procedures for the removal of extra skin after losing weight are:
- Body Contouring (whole-body)
- Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)
- Mastopexy (breast lift)
- Arm and/or thigh lift
If you think you may be good candidate for any of these procedures, speak with your surgeon (or better yet, multiple surgeons) so that they can discuss the risks and assess your fitness for these operations.
Do you have extra skin after losing weight with phentermine (or another way)? If so, what do you/did you do about it? If not, how did you avoid it? Let us know in the comments section below!