The Side Effect of a Fast and Significant Weight Loss
A lot of people nowadays work extremely hard to reach their body goals. They spend hours in the gym, follow strict diets, and try to change their lifestyle for good. And when they finally reach their target weight, it is not the end. They still need to maintain their result, which can sometimes be accompanied by unpleasant side-effects. Oftentimes people who lost a significant amount of weight in a short period may notice some loose skin here and there. It is not the end of the world, but it sure may be frustrating and annoying. That is why people may search for a way to reduce the sagginess of the skin on their belly or try to figure out how to tighten loose skin on thighs.
If you have also encountered the same problems, then read on about why the skin becomes saggy, how to tighten loose skin on thighs after weight loss with exercise, and how to improve skin elasticity.
Why Does the Skin Become Saggy?
Tight and smooth skin has always been a symbol of youthfulness and health. Which is why it is understandable that people would like to preserve it that way. To be able to do so, or to tighten it after it becomes saggy, first you need to figure out what causes that sagginess. So, why does the skin become saggy? Here are the most common causes of loose skin (1):
One of the most common reasons for that is aging. As you age, the muscles that are not involved in the performance of a regular physical activity lose their tone, and your skin loses its elasticity. It happens to all parts of your body, and your thighs are not an exception. It is a natural process and happens to everyone unless you perform specific and specialized exercises to prevent that. In most people, skin laxity, or the process of loosening, occurs at the age of 35-45 years (3). It happens because your body lacks collagen networks, elastin fibers, and hyaluronic acid (a molecule that adds to the skin’s ability to retain moisture).
Rapid or significant weight loss
Weight loss is a difficult and long process, which sure is rewarding. However, sometimes it is followed by negative side-effects. If you reach your target weight by shedding a significant number of pounds or slimming down very fast, you may still be unsatisfied with the result due to the loose skin all over your body (2). And that happens not only when you burn lots of fat, but also when you stop exercising and lose lean muscle. The state of your skin after the weight loss depends on your age, genetics, and for how long you were overweight. The longer your skin holds your pounds, the less is the chance that it will just bounce back into the norm after you slim down a couple of sizes (10).
Here are some other factors that promote loose skin, along with the above two:
- Drinking alcohol
- Skin products or detergents that contain harsh chemicals
- Steroids and corticosteroids
- Artificial tanning
- Ultraviolet light damage
How to Tighten Loose Skin on Thighs?
Although various surgical methods can help you reduce the loose and saggy skin on thighs, they are quite costly and often leave scars. The good news is that surgical intervention is not the only answer to the question, “How to tighten loose skin on thighs?”.
Regular thigh targeted workout
Regular exercise is the key to sound health and a strong body. But how to tighten loose skin on thighs after weight loss with the help of regular workouts? A study implies that endurance training may reduce the effect of skin aging in mice and humans. It states that endurance exercise stimulates the release of a hormone interleukin-15, which improves tissue metabolism, and reduces skin changes (4). Another way in which working out may help you with tightening your loose skin is by making you grow lean muscle.
Increased muscle mass will visually reduce the sagginess of your skin and give you a healthier and fresher look. You can strengthen your inner thigh with hip adduction machines and pulley machines at your gym or try running or Pilates. If you prefer working out at home, you can try incorporating the following exercises into your training routine; perform 2-3 sets, 10-15 reps each. However, keep in mind that any adjustments in your workout plan should be first discussed with the specialist. With that being said, here are the exercises:
The squat is one of the most popular exercises that target your lower body. There is a great variety of squats, with different levels of intensity. The classic squat will help you tighten your thighs and buttocks. You can use dumbbells to increase the intensity of your squats, and reach a better result, however, if you are new to squats, it is better that you try them first without weights.
To perform a classic squat, stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, and your hands extended in front of you. Get into a squat by bending your knees and lowering your hips. Keep your back straight, and your knees pointed in the same direction as your toes. Your knees should not cross the invisible vertical line drawn by your toes. Stop when your thighs become parallel to the ground. Slowly return into the initial position by extending your knees. That is one rep (8).
The lunge is another most popular leg exercise out there. It incorporates your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and lots of other muscles. Like with a squat, you may increase the intensity of your lunge by using weights.
To perform a proper front lunge, stand with your feet hip-width apart, and your hands on your hips. Make a large step forward with your right leg. With your left leg remaining in the initial spot, bend both your knees and slowly lower your body. You should lower your body until your knees are bent at a 90° angle, your right thigh is parallel to the floor, and your left knee almost touches the ground. After that, return to the standing position, by extending your right knee. That is one repetition of a lunge (6). When you perform a set of lunges, alternate between legs, to avoid muscle disbalances.
This one is a variation of a front lunge. Stand straight, with your intended path to your right. Make a step with your right leg to your right. Bend your right knee and hip and lower your body into a lunge. Return into the original position and repeat with your left leg.
For this one, you will need a stable bench, box, or any other platform. You may also use weights for better results.
To perform a lateral step-up stand between two platforms, with your hands on your hips. Lift your right leg and place it on the platform to your right. Redistribute your weight, extending your right leg, and standing on the right platform, so that it holds your whole weight. Step down, returning to the initial position, and repeat with your left leg, and left platform (5).
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How to Improve Skin Elasticity?
If you feel like exercise is not for you, and you would like to find some other methods of tightening your loose skin, then today is your lucky day!
The following are some of the ways that may help you fight saggy skin without surgical intervention or exercise, but keep in mind, that the sole usage of these methods may not be as effective as a combination of all methods, including specific training. So, without further ado, here are the alternative methods of how to tighten your loose skin on thighs (1):
Regular massage performance may improve your blood flow and stimulate fibroblasts, cells that promote the production of connective tissues, such as collagen and elastin, that preserve the elasticity and firmness of your skin. Studies imply that massage may add to the production of mitochondria (7), which plays a significant role in tissue and cellular metabolism. As there is a link between mitochondrial dysfunction and skin aging, regular massage may reduce the aging effect on the skin.
You are what you eat. Your diet plays a crucial role in your skin health. That is why, if you want to improve your skin’s elasticity, one of the effective ways to do so is to work from the inside. Nutritional supplements may have a lot of various benefits for your skin, including anti-aging and anti-loosening effects. Before taking any supplements, please consult with a health specialist. Here are some of the supplements that may help you fight sagginess:
It is only natural that if you want to preserve the elasticity of your skin, you should consider taking collagen supplements. A 2015 study found that women who took 10 grams of oral collagen peptides daily, experienced improved collagen levels and overall structure of the skin in 4 weeks. In 8 weeks, they noticed better skin hydration levels (9). Collagen peptides in the form of an oral supplement may improve wound healing, collagen and fibroblasts production, and the skin’s moisture barrier.
Antioxidants are also known for their beneficial effect on your skin health. They may promote the production of collagen and elastin, which are necessary for your skin’s youthful elasticity. Antioxidants and antioxidative enzymes may help you fight loose skin and wrinkles by neutralizing reactive oxygen species (ROS), these are compounds that can activate pathways that eventually degrade collagen. Most people get enough antioxidants through their diet. Here are the antioxidants that you consume daily with some foods, drinks, and nutritional supplements:
- Vitamins A, C, D, and E
- Coenzyme Q10
- Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)
There is not much evidence that suggests that taking antioxidant supplements helps prevent or reduce skin conditions.
There is a great variety of firming creams, gels, lotions, and other products available for the treatment of minor cases of saggy skin. If you want to choose the effective firming products, look for the ones that include retinoid compounds. Retinoids are antioxidants that may increase your collagen production. However, even with retinoids, firming products are considered to be not that effective overall. Experts state that their penetration of the skin is not deep enough and that they offer very subtle results, mostly by acting as a moisturizer (1).
Losing a significant amount of weight can be relieving and even lifesaving, however, sometimes even after slimming down people feel frustrated and dissatisfied. Why? Because of the saggy skin that occurred as a result of that weight loss.
In this article, we focused on how to tighten loose skin on the thighs.
Saggy skin may be caused by aging and significant or rapid weight loss. If you want to get rid of the loose thigh skin, you should include the exercises that focus on your thighs into your workout routine. There are also other methods of fighting skin sagginess, such as massages, supplements, and firming products, however, they may not be as effective as you expect, especially if used separately.
Bear in mind that before making any changes in your diet or workout routine, it is advised that you consult a doctor.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 6 ways to tighten loose skin (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- After Huge Weight Loss, Sagging Skin Remains (2014, nbcnews.com)
- Body Contouring and Skin Tightening Using a Unique Novel Multisource Radiofrequency Energy Delivery Method (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Exercise-stimulated interleukin-15 is controlled by AMPK and regulates skin metabolism and aging (2015, onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
- Lateral Step-up (n.d., exrx.net)
- Lunge (n.d., exrx.net)
- Massage therapy attenuates inflammatory signaling after exercise-induced muscle damage (2012, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Squat (n.d., exrx.net)
- The effect of oral collagen peptide supplementation on skin moisture and the dermal collagen network: evidence from an ex vivo model and randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials (2015, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- You Lost the Weight. What About That Extra Skin? (2015, webmd.com)