Your bundle of joy has just arrived, and we bet you are overjoyed. Having a baby is a huge milestone that comes with lots of changes, both physically and mentally. Physically, you will gain weight, and your skin, made of collagen and elastin, will expand to accommodate your baby and the extra pounds.
Because of all that stretching around the tummy, most women experience loose belly skin after pregnancy. It may not be a sight to behold, but it is one to cherish. It is a reminder of how powerful and complex your body is. Even then, it is understandable if you want to get rid of all this loose skin and snap back to your pre-pregnancy belly.
Find out the best ways to get rid of loose skin after pregnancy below.
10 Best Ways To Tighten Your Skin Without Surgery
Surgery is probably the first solution that pops in your mind when you think of remedies for loose skin after pregnancy. Do you know there are non-surgical ways of tightening loose skin after pregnancy?
Here are the best ways to tighten your skin without surgery:
Yes, the road to a firm, toned skin starts with what’s on your plate since eating healthily plays a major role in the overall health of your skin. So, how does eating a balanced diet help you tighten loose skin after pregnancy? Here is how you can eat your way to firm, toned skin.
Elastin and collagen are what make up the supporting structure of your skin (21). Collagen makes your skin firm, whereas elastin makes it tight (24). The amount of stretching your skin undergoes during pregnancy may be overwhelming for these two components. The result of this is loose skin with stretch marks.
To maintain its elasticity and firmness, your skin requires some essential nutrients. These nutrients will work to boost your collagen and elastin levels and help your skin remain soft and resilient.
A balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, fats, and lean protein will help rejuvenate, tighten and promote elasticity of your loose skin. Note that the diet you adopt needs to be wholesome enough to support you and your breastfeeding baby.
Although it may be tempting to go on a restrictive diet, remember that your baby depends on you for nutrition. So it’s best to hold off restrictive dieting until after you wean the baby off exclusive breastfeeding. In addition, ensure the foods you eat will not compromise your milk production. Stay away from caffeine and carbonated drinks(3, 13). As for the other food groups, proceed with moderation. Nothing should be banned as long as it is consumed in a reasonable manner.
Here are essential nutrients to include in your diet to help boost elasticity and firmness.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:
- Flaxseeds (4.3g/10g) (These seeds are one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acid Alpha-linoleic Acid (ALA)) (19)
- Chia seeds (18)
- Soybeans (15)
Vitamins will do your skin a whole lot of good. For starters, vitamin C stimulates the synthesis of collagen and protects it from UV rays. You can get this vitamin from citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, and leafy greens (25).
Retinol, a derivative of Vitamin A, is highly beneficial to your skin. It stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, in addition to increasing cell turnover (17). You can get vitamin A from foods such as beef, dairy products, liver, and eggs.
Vitamin B, especially B5, boosts your skin elasticity. Vitamin B5 is a humectant and therefore preserves moisture to your skin, boosting elasticity in the process (28). Vitamin B2 promotes cell turnover and collagen maintenance which helps promote the structural integrity of your skin (27). Foods rich in B-complex vitamins include spinach, dairy products, beef, mushrooms, cereals, and fortified bread.
Collagen and elastin are protein components, so it does make sense to include protein in your diet. A high protein level in your skin will give you a toned and firm appearance (14). You can get lean protein from poultry, fish, dairy products, nuts, tofu, legumes, and beans.
Your loose skin will not vanish into thin air, even with a healthy diet. You have to supplement this diet with exercise. As a new mum, exercising can be challenging, especially if you haven’t settled into a routine with your baby. Also, your body may not have healed sufficiently for you to do most exercises.
Despite this, there are still several activities (exercises) you can do to help tone your body. Don’t be in a rush to lose weight. The aim here is to lose weight gradually, giving your body time to adjust accordingly and build muscle. Rapidly losing weight may worsen your problem of loose skin since you will lose both weight and muscle. Without muscle, you cannot have a tight, toned, and well-shaped form.
Additionally, exercise also promotes circulation, which enhances oxygen supply to the tissues. This helps boost elastin and collagen formation (2).
Depending on when you gave birth, your exercise routine should be as follows:
Cardio exercises will help you tone your abdominal muscles by burning off the excess fat. Consult with your doctor first before you start any form of exercise. After he has given you the green light, start with simple non-strenuous workouts. Moreover, schedule your exercise sessions around your baby’s routine.
For cardio, a simple stroll around the neighborhood would suffice. You can tag your baby along and push her in the stroller. As your body heals better, you can start walking for longer or even going for a jog. You can also go swimming as it helps tone your entire body. A spin class will help too.
Any exercise you do should not interfere with your comfort or breastmilk supply. Avoid high-impact exercises such as jumping jacks. It is not comfortable jumping up and down with breasts full of milk. Before any exercise session and depending on the time of day and your baby’s routine, ensure you feed him or pump some milk for him.
Lifting weights will help grow and tone your muscles, tightening your skin in the process.
To start, you can use your body weight to create resistance. Crunches and leg raises are good examples. As you progress, include some weights, such as kettlebells, in your training. Start with the lightest to help your body adjust before moving on to the heaviest.
To tighten loose skin after pregnancy, specifically the skin on your belly, go for situps and pushups. To tighten and tone your gluteal muscles, core, and hip, go for yoga, pilates, and barre classes. Moves such as planks will go a long way in toning your body.
If you are working with a trainer, remind them that you recently gave birth so that they can tailor your exercises accordingly.
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Exfoliate Your Skin
A good and consistent skincare routine will help you fix loose skin after pregnancy (20). One way to do this is by exfoliating your skin. Exfoliation sloughs away old, dead skin and promotes new skin growth that is tighter and healthier (10).
Not only that, but exfoliation also boosts circulation, which promotes elasticity. The bonus benefit you get from exfoliation is an even skin tone. The skin around your belly tends to darken because of too much stretching. Exfoliation will help restore its original color.
To exfoliate, you can use homemade body scrubs made of sea salt and lemon juice. Mix these two in a 50/50 ratio, then gently massage the mixture on your belly. You can also mix half a cup of oatmeal and a few drops of olive oil to make a lovely oatmeal body scrub.
If you don’t fancy the idea of rubbing some oatmeal on your belly, then you can use a loofah to exfoliate. When taking a bath or shower, pay extra attention to the loose skin around your tummy or any other part of your body. Gently scrub with your loofah, being generous with your body wash and conditioner.
Alternatively, you can purchase commercial cleansing scrubs and exfoliation mitts.
Be careful not to over scrub your skin since this may irritate it and cause transdermal water loss (20). After exfoliation, also follow up with a moisturizing cream or serum.
You can also consider chemical exfoliants. This involves using different chemicals such as retinol and hydroxy acids with enzymes to renew your skin. Compared to commercial and DIT physical scrubs, chemical exfoliants offer more dramatic results. However, as is with every skincare product, they may cause irritation if used incorrectly. Therefore, proceed with moderation.
Drink Enough Water
Staying hydrated helps improve and maintain your skin elasticity (7). It also helps reduce water retention in your belly, which may give it a sagging appearance. It is recommended that you take at least eight glasses of water daily.
Breastfeed Your Baby
Breastfeeding nourishes your baby and helps you lose weight, and tighten any loose skin after pregnancy. Your body burns calories when making milk, and depending on how much you eat, it may sometimes use up even the reserve fat. The consequence of this is weight loss and a toned body (8).
Use A Skin Firming Product Daily
The firmness of your skin is largely dependent on the underlying muscle. This is why it is essential to strengthen and tone these muscles with a healthy diet and exercise. Even then, you can still work from outside to help tone your skin. One way to do this is by using skin firming lotions and creams.
These products contain ingredients such as Centella Asiatica, a natural ingredient that works to increase the tone and firmness of your skin (5). You can also use products that contain peptides, which help relieve tightness caused by stretching and promote elasticity (6). Products that contain Sophora Japonica help you to remodel body contours after childbirth as well (12).
Massage Your Skin With Oils
A luxurious massage with oils will do you a lot of good. You can use castor oil to massage as it has strong emollient properties due to its high concentration of fatty acids. Not only that, but castor oil also promotes the synthesis of collagen and improves the elasticity of your skin, making it more rejuvenated and firmer (4). All you need to do is to warm a small amount of this oil in your palms, then gently massage your belly.
Olive oil is another miracle worker. You can use it to massage your belly or any other part of your body with loose skin. This oil is a powerful antioxidant as it contains vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids (26). It helps seal moisture in the skin cells and strengthens muscle tissue to tighten up the skin.
You can also use grapeseed oil to massage your belly and get rid of loose skin. Grapeseed is a carrier oil, and when used consistently over time, it helps tighten your skin. It has healthy fats and vitamin E, which are essential for your skin’s health. This combo helps hydrate your skin and boost collagen production (11).
Consider Skin Wraps
The next time you visit a spa for a massage, treat yourself to a skin wrap. Although the benefits of this luxurious treatment are temporary, it wouldn’t hurt to try. Imagine a scenario where you need a quick fix for your hanging belly. A skin wrap will save the day.
Most wraps contain sea salt, clay, algae, minerals, and powdered kelp. At the spa, strips of material covered in these herbal ingredients are wrapped tightly around your body or tummy area in an attempt to detoxify your body. The herbs are believed to reduce cellulite and decrease inches off your body (9).
Be Positive About The Body Changes
Before you start looking for remedies for loose skin after pregnancy, accept your new body and appreciate it for the amazing work of pregnancy and delivery. Understand that your body is going through normal changes, and with consistency, discipline, and hard work, you can get your pre-pregnancy baby or even better.
Keep a healthy mind, even as you look for solutions to help tighten loose skin after pregnancy. Don’t panic if the changes you expect don’t show within the time frame you put in. Instead, be patient and keep up with a balanced diet and exercise.
Here are a few tips to help you stay positive about your body changes:
- Take up an activity that will keep your mind engaged, such as gardening.
- Play with your baby as often as possible.
- Listen to your favorite music.
- Meditate as you practice deep breathing.
Take Collagen Supplements
The main structural substance in your skin is collagen. This substance is also present in other connective tissues and plays a huge role in restoring and rejuvenating loose skin after pregnancy. The collagen you get from your diet may not be enough to help your skin heal after pregnancy. So, to supplement, you can take collagen supplements (16). Taking a collagen supplement does not affect your milk supply. In fact, ingesting these proteins will be the same as eating a high protein diet; there will be no negative effects on your breast milk supply (1).
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How Long Does Tightening Loose Skin After Pregnancy Take?
Tightening loose skin after pregnancy is not an overnight process. You will have to be patient to see any results. However, the speed of transition and sometimes the degree depends on several factors:
- Bones structure
- Size of your belly pre-pregnancy
- Level of physical activity during pregnancy
- Amount of weight gained during and after pregnancy
Sometimes, you may not be able to completely tighten and tone the loose skin on your belly, despite eating well and exercising. Don’t fret. Being healthy and happy is more important. Additionally, your baby’s well-being is also paramount. Therefore, even as you plan to go on a restrictive diet or start exercising, ensure your baby’s needs are met.
The Bottom Line
Pregnancy does change your body. Sometimes, dealing with these changes may take a toll on your psychological well-being. So if you are feeling self-conscious about the loose skin on your belly, there are a lot of natural remedies that can help you tighten your skin safely and healthily. Make sure to seek the help of a healthcare provider if you feel like you need support in getting back on track.
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!
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