Weight Loss NHS
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The skin thing!

There has been mention of this issue a couple of times - excess skin after weight loss. So I've done a bit of hunting about.

It seemingly works something like this:

Firstly, excess skin is probably not going to be a problem if you're talking weight loss of less than about 100lb / 45Kg / 7 stone or so. That's a pretty major weight loss that you would probably schedule over almost a year.

It's less likely to be a problem if you followed the advice to NOT lose weight TOO quickly!

It's also less likely to be a problem if you're younger (as younger skin is usually more elastic).

However, the nub of it appears to be:

1) keep the skin as elastic as possible with good nutrition (including lean protein to help form collagen and elastin) and good hydration. With all your 'new' eating habits you'll probably be avoiding junk food, eating lots of fruit and veg and fish and things - so that shouldn't be too hard.

2) avoid things that reduce skin elasticity / dry your skin out, e.g. excessive sun, smoking, sulphates / harsh soap, chlorine (so shower off after swimming)

3) keep exercising, especially weight training / muscle building stuff.

4) and skin-firming cream or collagen creams may help

5) there's also a miscellany of things like mineral/salt scrubs, massage therapy, seaweed wraps, yoga, calisthenics and rubbing castor oil over your skin that are suggested by various web-sites. (And a few more rather daft things which I've not bothered to list!)

How easy it is to deal with and whether someone ends up with a problem with it after weight loss really depends of their skin-type and how good a condition it's in.

But if anyone is interested in finding out more, there is plenty of advice around on the web, just search for something like 'excess skin after weight loss'. You'll have to judge for yourself what is good advice and what is nonsense.

There are, for extreme cases, surgical solutions, but these are serious surgical procedures with associated risks and should probably not to be entered into lightly.

2 Replies

wow - great info thank you :)

I need to lose about 3 stone in total (maybe a wee bit more) so that's good, however being mid 40's not so good and I haven't done any weights work or anything so far - I've only been doing cardio (the c25k) so looks like I need to be giving that a go. In scotland so the sun isn't too much of an issue! I have however had two C Sections so any women out there who've had the same will know what I am talking about when I say that there is likely to be a bit of an issue with a bit of scar overhang. I've searched before for help with that but surgery seems to be the only solution and I wont be doing that so I'll probably have to lump it!


Hi annie0000,

I was just thinking that it's one of those subjects that can be used as a bit of a 'doom and gloom', anti-weight-loss thing. "Oh, you don't want to lose too much weight - you'll end up with all that excess skin!"

And in reality, it's a bit of a myth. O.K. for sure, it can happen, but it's not very likely to for most people.

What I repeatedly found when I looked around was various medical people saying very emphatically, basically, whatever the issues may or may not be about excess skin, NEVER allow that to stop you from taking action about the weight, because the risks to your health from the excess weight far outweigh any issues with excess skin afterwards.

And I guess that especially applies for those who would need to lose the amount of weight that would make them likely to have problems with the skin folds afterwards.

But also note that the rate of weight loss is a big factor, so you may really be talking people on VLCDs, which hopefully they're doing under medical supervision anyhow.


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