Extra skin is a common post-bariatric surgery concern. The short answer to the question is no; you will not have any extra skin after surgery. However, while you may have the same amount, the texture and shape of your skin may change.
Here is a way to explain it: think of your skin as a pair of pantyhose. When you put them on they mold to the curves of your body and seem to become one with your skin in appearance. But when you take them off you realize they are not as tight as they were when you first put them on, let alone when you purchased them. Apply this concept when thinking about your skin post-surgery. While you are not losing weight and gaining skin, in a way, you’re emptying what’s underneath your skin in the form of stored fat. So think about the pantyhose after you take them off… they’re empty, loose, and they don’t fit into the same packaging as before, just as your skin may be post Lap-Band surgery or after any type of dramatic weight loss.
So how do we prevent THAT from happening to our skin?
Unfortunately, there is no 100% way to prevent this as you lose weight, especially if you have quite a bit of weight to lose. However, there are tips you can follow to minimize the effects of lose skin and maintain the integrity and health of your skin. Also, the speed in which you lose weight has great impact on the elasticity of skin. So while fast weight loss may seem great in theory, it can lead to decreased skin integrity and possibly make skin look more aged through loss of elasticity and possible malnutrition.
Below are a list of ways to help keep your skin healthy now and throughout weight loss.
- Remember to stay hydrated. Our body needs a minimum of eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day and as a Lap-Band patient healthy liquids are important very important to your overall weight loss.
- Hydrated skin has a better elasticity in comparison to dry skin. With that in mind, saturate your skin with moisturizers daily. Have moisturizers handy and always apply, double up on cold months (like right now) and opt for moisturizers with a high percentage of cocoa or Shea butter as these are natural moisturizers.
- A healthy diet is always key, nutrients are important. Remember to take vitamins and probiotics as recommended by your doctor and dietitian. Keeping your body healthy on the inside will help your skin glow on the outside. Focus on vitamin E and Omega-3 rich foods like salmon, flax seeds, olive oil, and a wide variety of fruits and veggies with different colors.
These few tips are great for maintaining your skin health, but what happens if you lost weight too fast? What if you’re already experiencing loose skin? How do you prevent that or get rid of it? Here is a piece on what we recommend to our patients who want to seek the advice of a plastic surgeon.
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