The real question is if it is really excess skin; the answer lies in your body fat percentage. While many people actually do have excess skin after losing a lot of weight in a short amount of time, say a hundred pounds or more, for other people it is an issue of excess subcutaneous fat underneath the skin.
The way to tell the difference is though body fat testing.
Until your body fat percentage measures around 10% for males and 18% for females, most likely you still have fat to lose under the skin. Once the subcutaneous fat is gone, your skin may shrink back to its normal size.
Improving Skin Elasticity
So you have your body fat percentage down and you still have loose skin; then what? Well, there are supplements you can take and topical ointments to apply to your skin to help improve its elasticity. If much of your weight loss was muscle mass, then building back muscle will help tighten up some of your loose skin and give you a tighter, healthier look.
More radical measures involve getting rid of excess skin through a cosmetic surgery called body sculpting.
One of the more common procedures is called circumferential body lift. It involves a making an incision across the back, and around the flanks and abdomen, removing the excess skin and suturing the incisions back together. The surgery alone can account for a 10 to 15 pound weight loss just from excess skin removal.
The person may have lost a lot of weight, but that is only half the battle. Having a lot of excess skin not only takes its toll physiologically from the pain chafing can cause, but psychologically too. To be whole again, the person must feel like she is thin when looking in the mirror, not a thin person inside a fat person’s skin.
Body sculpting helps restore that healthy self-image, plus those having excess skin removed gain back less weight than those who don’t. In a recent study published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, they found participants who had an excess skin surgery and had lost 100 pounds or more, only gained back on average 13 pounds verses those who did not have the surgery gained back about 50 pounds.
If you have lost a lot of weight and do have excess skin, you now have a couple of non-surgical options to try before considering undergoing surgery. Many insurance companies now cover excess skin removal surgery, so check with your insurance provider to see if and what types are covered.