Why Does Your Stomach Have Loose Skin After Weight Loss?

Losing weight and keeping it off takes hard work, and there's no better place to lose fat from than your belly. Stomach fat can cause a lot of health problems for your organs, in addition to being unsightly. However, if you've worked hard to lose that fat, you may be disappointed to discover that you have a lot of loose skin in the stomach region. Why does this saggy skin hang around when the fat goes away? Here's what you should know and how to get help.

Muscle Work Only Goes So Far

You'll often hear doctors and personal trainers recommend strengthening your muscles in order to help combat this problem. This can help to improve the way that you look, by filling in some of the empty space that was left behind when the fat was taken away with muscle. However, it can't do anything about the excess of skin. That skin is likely there to stay without help.

Damaged Skin

One of the main reasons for this excess skin sticking around is due to tissue damage. If you have stretch marks, chances are you're well aware of them. These stretch marks are indications that the skin had to expand too quickly, due to something like rapid weight gain or pregnancy. When that happens, scar tissue takes the place of normal skin. Scar tissue is great at patching up wounds, but it doesn't snap back the way that normal skin does. This can lead to having a lot of loose skin that doesn't go away simply because it's damaged.

Lost Collagen

Another potential reason for loose skin is a loss of collagen. Collagen is found everywhere in the body, but it's particularly prolific under the skin. Collagen helps to give skin its tight and bounce-back nature, but when it diminishes due to age, smoking, or sun exposure, the skin loses those qualities. This can make your skin sag even if there isn't much of it.

What to Do

Getting help from a plastic surgeon can put these problems behind you. Tummy tuck procedures are commonly used on people who have lost significant amounts of weight. This procedure cuts away the damaged and loose skin that's impacting your appearance. From there, your surgeon will stitch up the remaining tissue, making the skin tight and snug again. This will not only eliminate unwanted loose skin, but will also reduce your weight somewhat and show off how much work you've put into losing weight and working out.