Beauty isn’t Just Skin Deep: Dealing With Excess Skin

After bariatric surgery, almost all patients have some degree of excess skin. This happens because of the quick, dramatic weight loss in the operating room. For many patients, their skin needs time to catch up to the weight loss. Others have excess skin for some time after surgery, especially if their surgical weight loss exceeds 100 pounds. Loose skin can be uncomfortable, but it doesn’t need to set you back. Here are some tips for dealing with excess skin: 

Remember how far you’ve come.

Focusing on perceived flaws is natural, especially when you’re working toward goals that alter your appearance. However, you’ve now arrived at the point where you should consider how far you’ve come. Since you first decided to make a change for yourself and your health, you have done so much to improve your life. You worked hard, and now you’re here. You lost the weight, and now it’s time for the next step of your health journey. 

Focus on maintaining your weight loss.

Now that you’re closer to your goal than you’ve ever been, it’s time to focus on maintaining your weight loss. During your surgery, you likely lost a lot of weight at one time. After surgery, remember that weight loss will be a slower process. Staying consistent with the healthy habits you’ve been forming will help you continue to lose weight, and the skin will recover as you do. 

Look into strength training exercises.

One way to improve skin elasticity is through strength training. Your workouts may start fairly light with daily walking. Once you work up your strength, talk to your doctor about adding weights to your workout routine. Some strength training can be done using your body weight, so you don’t necessarily need to go to the gym to get stronger and start tightening your loose skin. 

Keep yourself and your skin hydrated. 

Drinking enough water is essential for a long list of reasons, and on that list is — you guessed it — taking care of your skin. Staying hydrated can help your skin be as elastic as it needs to be, and daily moisturizing can help keep your excess skin hydrated and avoid issues like rashes that can occur if that skin is not treated properly. 

If all else fails, talk to a dermatologist.

Your loose skin may be bothering you to such an extent that it’s impacting your quality of life. Before seeking cosmetic surgery, consult a dermatologist. See if there’s anything you haven’t tried yet that can help make your excess skin more manageable. If you feel like, after that process, you still want to get rid of your loose skin, plastic surgery is an option. Just ensure that you’ve had plenty of time to recover from your bariatric surgery before going in for another surgical procedure. 

The most important thing during your weight loss journey is to remember why you decided it was time to get healthier. You’ve done a great thing for yourself, and now is the time to bask in your success. And don’t forget: loose skin after bariatric surgery is a sign of a job well done! 

 

 

Bariatric Support Group

Dr. Hodges highly recommends patients attend monthly support group meetings. The meetings are led by Dr. Collins Hodges, both a licensed clinical psychologist and someone who has had bariatric surgery himself. The support groups are offered on the first Monday of every month from 6:30pm – 7:15pm CST via an online GoToMeeting. The meetings are open to the public, and there is no charge to attend.

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