Loose skin vs fat are two things that we find in every human body, but what’s the difference between them? It’s not always clear, which can make it difficult to tell if you need to lose weight or whether you should be working on getting rid of your loose skin instead. Here’s how to tell the difference between the two and learn how to treat each one effectively.
What is the difference between loose skin and fat?
It’s easy to think of loose skin as synonymous with extra fat, but that’s not necessarily true. Loose skin and extra body fat can be completely different things. For example, if you were very overweight for a long period, your loose skin might look like it has extra fat around it—but it’s actually due to stretching from weight gain rather than added tissue.
What’s more, once you start losing weight—and stop gaining new weight—that flabby layer will start to tighten up on its own without any added effort on your part. That said, reducing excess fat cells is still key to ensuring you have a firm layer of skin underneath.
If you have some unnecessary bulges in certain areas, bulk up your diet with foods that burn fat cells quickly and easily. Fish oil supplements are also excellent for shedding those last few pounds in areas where unwanted sagging may occur.
After your weight loss regimen is complete, replace empty calories in processed foods with good fats from whole foods such as nuts and seeds or healthy oils to keep the excess fat at bay. These tasty swaps can help maintain healthy skin while keeping blood flow sugar levels steady so you avoid unnecessary cravings throughout the day.
Is it normal to have excess skin after losing weight?
Weight loss is a wonderful thing. After shedding extra pounds, it’s natural to want to show off your hard work by wearing your skinniest clothes and going shirtless at every opportunity. But a side effect of losing weight can be an unpleasant surprise: Loose, flabby skin.
This might not seem like such a big deal, but depending on how much weight you lose and where you lose it from, sagging or excess skin can impact daily life in many ways. Some people find their loose folds are more than just unsightly—they cause discomfort or pain and affect normal day-to-day activities like getting dressed, walking around town, or exercising at a gym. If that sounds familiar, don’t worry; there are solutions!
There are two main types of post-weight loss skin conditions—and what’s causing yours depends on its severity. Here’s a breakdown of each type and how to manage them, so you feel confident again about your appearance.
We tend to think of loose skin as simply extra tissue, meaning that after significant weight loss, a person may have more flesh than he had before he lost his excess fat and muscle mass.
How much loose skin can I expect?
Loose skin comes from losing a lot of weight very quickly, but there is a wide range of how much you can expect to recover. Most people lose 50% to 60% of their excess body weight, so that’s a good guideline for loose skin recovery—for instance, if you were 100 pounds overweight and lost 50 pounds, you’ll likely have some loose skin left over.
But many factors can impact your results—including your age at the time of weight loss, duration of obesity, overall health status before weight loss, and genetics. To speed up your recovery time as much as possible (if that’s something you want!), see our tips on removing loose skin after the weight loss journey.
You’ll probably still be hanging onto some loose skin even several years later—but with a regular exercise routine and healthy eating habits, you can soften your remaining skin tissue and make sure it doesn’t weigh you down.
What causes excess skin?
There are many reasons for loose, wrinkled skin in older people. Perhaps most common is what’s called subcutaneous fat deposits– that’s under-the-skin fat — which can be easily seen as puffy bags under someone’s eyes or sagging jowls. After years of sun exposure, the loss of collagen in one’s skin can cause wrinkles, although there are various anti-aging creams and products on the market to help minimize their appearance.
The main reason so many people consider plastic surgery is that they have excess flabby or hanging flesh (that is made up of building muscle, nerves, blood vessels, and other tissue), which causes drooping eyelids and double chins or a bulging abdomen. This latter condition is known as diastasis recti. If you think you might want plastic surgery, make sure you consult with your doctor to see if it will address your specific concerns.
They will also discuss whether surgical procedures or medical procedure like liposuction or tummy tucks are right for you. They might also recommend exercise or facial exercise and diet changes and post-operative care plans designed to optimize results from any cosmetic surgeries performed.
Prevention and prevention tips:
The loss of facial volume resulting from age, disease, or surgery can contribute to a softening or laxity of facial skin that makes it difficult to maintain a youthful appearance. BOTOX® Cosmetic relaxes overactive lots of muscles that cause wrinkles to form. Still, if only temporary results are desired, BOTOX® Cosmetic may be used in combination with other cosmetic treatments or cosmetic procedures, including dermal fillers like Juvederm® XC.
Injected at strategic points, these products help restore volume to weak areas helping alleviate or prevent future signs of aging and sagging. The FDA has approved many nonsurgical treatments for women who wish to diminish signs of aging without undergoing invasive procedures. Dermal fillers like Juvederm® XC have been injected into delicate tissue since 1989 and are considered safe alternatives to surgical facelifts.
Effective anti-aging solutions include retinol creams, laser resurfacing, chemical peels, or laser peeling microdermabrasion (ultra-gentle exfoliation), and photodynamic therapy (uses light to improve wrinkles). In addition to serving as an aesthetic benefit, botox injections also soften lines around your eyes which helps you look younger than your years by making it appear as though you’re less stressed or anxious about life.
These days many nonsurgical options are as effective, if not more so, than surgical procedure facelifts. These options focus on delivering results quickly and with few incisions leaving patients with a fresher face in a matter of weeks instead of months time. Some nonsurgical alternative procedures take even less time than surgery because they don’t require local anesthesia and can be done during lunch break at work! The costs vary significantly but usually range from $1000-$4000 per effective procedure, depending on how extensive your treatment options are over time.
Loose skin is more common than you think. Many women experience it after pregnancy, most commonly after gaining a lot of weight in a short time. Fat can sometimes have a similar appearance, so it’s important to determine if your sagging skin is related to extra fat or collagen loss.
To do that, grab a tape measure and take note of your measurements around your stomach area, chest, arms, and thighs. If there’s no change in any of these areas, the chances are good that you have excess skin instead of body fat. But don’t take our word for it; talk to your doctor about what measures you should be taking to slim down.
If loose skin types and body fat are causing issues for you physically or emotionally, contact a plastic surgeon or cosmetic surgeon who specializes in abdominoplasty (commonly referred to as tummy tucks) — they’ll be able to give you advice on how best to address loose skin and get healthier skin on your body.
Hi I’m Bilal Malik, a digital marketing and blogging expert holding years of experience.