In addition, slow, steady weight loss can help prevent loose skin because it gives the skin more time to regain elasticity and recover.
Quick weight loss, on the other hand, can make loose skin more common.
Age is another factor. “Older patients (generally 50 years and over) are at higher risk for getting loose skin after weight loss because their skin is less elastic and less able to recover from the change in size.” says Nguyen.
And of course, the amount of weight you lose matters as well. But you wouldn’t want to end your journey to a healthy weight simply to avoid loose skin. According to the ASMBS, even though the treatment of loose skin around the arms and certain other areas is not covered by insurance, “plastic surgery for removal of excess abdominal and breast skin is often covered by insurance for reasons of moisture, hygiene and rash issues.”
How to Prevent Loose Skin After Weight Loss
In some cases, excess skin can be prevented or minimized. Dr. Nguyen says that exercise is one of the best ways to deal with it. “It’s not perfect,” he says, “but it helps to tighten both the muscle and the skin.”
But starting and sticking to an exercise program can be difficult if you don’t like the way you look. There are certain forms of exercise that are better for you if you are overweight. It’s generally best to start slow and gradually increase your workload as your fitness level improves.
Add strength training workouts to shape and tone the muscles and flexibility exercises to keep your joints limber and comfortable. If you’re short on time, combine into a circuit style workout to make your sessions more efficient.
Surgery for Loose Skin
In some cases, surgery can improve loose skin. Surgeons generally recommend that you wait at least 18 months after bariatric surgery before getting evaluated for loose skin. Before that time, your body is going through too many changes.