How to Prevent Sagging Skin After Gastric Bypass
If you’ve determined that gastric bypass surgery is your best option for losing excess weight and reclaiming your life, congratulations.
If your medical team reaches the same conclusion (and chances are good they will) you’re on your way to a brighter, healthier, no doubt happier future where you’ll no longer be limited by obesity and the other assorted maladies that come with it. Such an extreme body transformation though will come with one potentially significant issue attached and that is the loose skin. Below we’re going to look at how to prevent sagging skin after gastric bypass surgery.
Dealing with Extra Skin After Gastric Bypass
There aren’t many obvious drawbacks to gastric bypass surgery but there is one that some find vexing and others are just not adequately prepared for: loose skin. Here is a list of our choices for the most effective ways to deal with loose skin in the wake of gastric bypass surgery.
Exercise can play an important role in minimizing both the volume and composition of the extra skin you’ll be dealing with after gastric bypass surgery. Regular exercise has the effect of limiting muscle loss and even producing new muscle mass, both of which will mitigate the amount of sagging skin. Here are some exercise tips that can help.
- Squats – Squats can be an effective antidote to sagging skin in the lower body. With squats you put your feet shoulder length apart and your back straight and lower and raise yourself slowly. Squats help build strong glutes and quads and really tighten up the skin in the lower body. Lunges are another, similar exercise that will also help tighten the skin around the butt and legs.
- Bicep Curls – One of the places where sagging skin is most obvious is in the upper arms. Excessive skin in this area often causes people to wear long sleeve shirts just to hide it. But there’s a better way: bicep curls. Bicep curls build larger stronger upper arms which in turn reduce the amount of sagging skin in this area.
- Crunches – Crunches are not a lot of fun but they do a great job toning the muscles and skin of the abdominal region. Lie on your back and raise your chin to meet your knees sit up style. Crunches are not for everyone but will help reduce the sagging skin in your mid-section.
- Planks – Raise yourself from the floor into a position where your hands are under your shoulders and your arms are straight out. Your back should be perfectly straight as should your legs and your lower body should be supported by your toes. In essence you’re forming a straight “plank” supported by your hands and toes. Hold it as long as possible for maximum toning benefits.
- Calisthenics – Do calisthenics to produce lean, toned muscles. This type of exercise is also great for toning and tightening the skin. A routine that includes jumping jacks, push ups, leg raises and more done every other day will provide oxygen the skin needs to tighten itself up and regain a healthy glow. It won’t eliminate all your loose skin but you should see a difference.
Non-Exercise Tips on How to Tighten Loose Skin After Gastric Bypass Surgery
There are other non-exercise related steps you can take that will help reduce the sagging effect in the wake of your weight loss surgery. Take the following tips to heart:
- Water, Water, Water – If there is one factor that separates taut, healthy looking skin from dry skin after gastric bypass it’s water. You don’t stand much chance of tightening up your skin in the wake of gastric bypass surgery if you don’t drink enough of it. Your body is more than 70% water so denying it this precious resource is going to have a negative impact on the body’s largest organ, the skin. Drink up and tighten up.
- Avoid Tanning – UV rays are one of the worst enemies your skin can have so it’s important if you want to tighten up your skin after gastric bypass surgery that you always wear plenty of sunscreen on any exposed skin when you go out. UV rays dry out the skin and destroy its underlying fabric. All that colour in your tan? It’s dead blood cells caused by excessive UV exposure. Stay out of the direct sunlight.
- Avoid Sulphates – A lot of different soaps, body washes, shampoos and other personal care products contain sulphates. Mostly because they do a good job of removing dirt and creating lather. However, they also dry your skin out in a way that robs it of elasticity and moisture. If you’re serious about wanting to minimize loose skin you’ll avoid using products that contain sulphates.
- Eat Lean Proteins – Lean protein helps you in your skin tightening efforts by providing the nutrients necessary to build lean muscle, which will take up some of the loose skin slack. It also is rich in collagen that the skin uses to retain its elasticity and supple texture. Make sure you eat lean proteins after working out to maximize muscle building.
- Don’t Let Chlorine Sit on Your Skin – While swimming is a great way to tone your muscles the chlorine in pools has the effect of drying out your skin and causing it to shrivel. When you get out of the pool don’t just dry off and get dressed. Make sure you shower thoroughly to remove as much chlorine as possible from you skin before putting your clothes back on.
- Stick to Fresh Fruits and Veggies – Part of the postoperative experience is learning how to eat better and making sure you get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is an essential component of your new, healthier lifestyle. They are also important parts of your program to minimize sagging skin in the aftermath of your gastric bypass surgery. So do what your mom told you and eat your veggies.
- Dress for Success – There’s no doubt you’re going to have to chuck your entire wardrobe and start over after gastric bypass surgery. So make good clothing choices. You should wait until you’ve reached your target weight before investing heavily in new clothes and when you do you should make sure they fit you properly and don’t squeeze you in a way that accentuates any loose skin.
- Be Patient – After the kind of drastic weight loss you’re bound to experience your skin is going to take some time to adjust, even under ideal conditions. Be patient with your body. If you don’t see the skin tightening up right away it doesn’t mean that it won’t. Stick to the above tips and you’ll be better off in the long run. The thing with this type of program is that success is measured not by what you’ll see, but by all the excessive flabby skin you won’t see.
- Consider Cosmetic Surgery – If you’ve reached your target weight and given your body 6 months or more to adjust to the new reality, and you’re following most or all of the above tips and you still see excessive skin that doesn’t seem to be responding, then you can consider having cosmetic surgery to trim away the last of the sagging. Keep in mind however, that even though removal of excess skin is considered cosmetic surgery, it is nonetheless surgery and as such should never be entered into lightly. Nor should it be rushed into too soon after your gastric bypass surgery. Your body can only handle so much trauma at one time.
You’ve likely lost well over 100 pounds as a result of your gastric bypass surgery. Maybe several times that much. As such some saggy skin is going to be unavoidable regardless of how closely you adhere to the above tips. In which case you may opt for surgery after gastric bypass for excess skin and that is understandable. There are a lot of good reasons to have the excess skin removed, including reducing the chances that you’ll experience infections and other health issues originating in the folds of the excess skin.
However, while we understand your motives and you understand your motives it’s possible that your insurance company may see skin reduction surgery as unnecessary and refuse to cover the cost of the procedure. Which means you’ll likely be paying for this surgery out of your own pocket. Make sure you check on the cost of skin removal after gastric bypass and that you’re clear on exactly who is going to be paying before you go and set a date for the procedure.
Gastric bypass surgery is a life changing event wherein your entire digestive system is essentially redesigned to aid you in your quest to lose weight. However it’s not a procedure without some secondary issues, including what to do with the excess skin produced by drastic weight loss. If you follow the above tips on how to tighten excess skin after a gastric bypass however, you’ll have a leg up on the situation.