Asian woman checking arm

Weight loss to the point of skin sagging is no easy feat. According to the National Library of Medicine, you’ll need to undergo a significant weight loss of at least 100 pounds or 46kg to get loose skin. That’s something to take pride in, but still, it can be quite a bummer to have already lost all that weight but be left with a rather clingy reminder. If you recently shed some pounds (congratulations!) and are dealing with loose skin, here are some things you can do to deal with it.

Causes of Loose Skin

The skin is composed of 80% , which provides firmness and elasticity. When you gain weight, the skin expands to accommodate growth. Skin stretched only for a short period — for example, through nine months of pregnancy — would retract in a few months.

However, skin that has been pulled for a longer period would have already damaged its collagen fibers, therefore losing its ability to retract. Other factors behind loose skin include genetics, old age, , and smoking. All of which leads to a loss in skin elasticity that allows it to “snap back” into place.

How to Tighten Loose Skin

There’s only so much you can do in terms of exercise and diet to tighten loose skin. Usually, individuals with loose skin following a massive weight loss opt to undergo surgery. Procedures such as the tummy tuck and body lifts remove excess skin from the arms, abdomen, back, and thighs. However, since achieving the desired results entails multiple expensive surgeries, very few people choose to do it.

On the other hand, you can prevent loose skin by maintaining good health and good skin. Taking collage, protein, and vitamin C can help strengthen the skin on multiple levels. Together with proper hydration and moisturization, they can help boost collagen synthesis, combat UV damage, and prevent premature skin aging.

To promote healthy skin, use Vaseline Gluta-Hya Serum Burst Lotion Flawless Glow, a serum lotion with Gluta-Glow technology that makes skin bright, smooth, and glowing.

Living with Loose Skin

Living with loose skin can result in physical and emotional struggles. According to a 2016 study in the National Library of Medicine, excess skin impedes mobility and physical activity. It also increases self-consciousness even more after weight loss. Another study in the Journal of Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery notes that it can also lead to skin irritation and breakdown. Moreover, it affects body image and mood.

If you’re currently living with loose skin, these four practices could help you manage the discomfort and improve your physical and emotional state.

Update your undergarments.

Updating your underwear selection can help boost your confidence by, first, enhancing the shape of your body; second, improving your posture; and third, making clothes look more flattering. Yes, a good bra or nice high-cut panties can do all this, loose skin or not. Go for shaping intimates that provide support and comfort. Steer clear of bikinis and flimsy straps. Don’t be afraid to go straight for the shapewear; they can provide the security you need.

Get into weights.

Gaining muscle won’t get rid of loose skin, but it will help tone your body and make you look tighter after weight loss. Lifting heavy weights is recommended to build some muscle quickly. Don’t be afraid of “bulking up.” Lifting weights will shape your body, not make it bigger, says the American Council on Exercise. It will also increase your and improve your self-confidence.

Relearn how to love your body.

Relearning how to love your body can be a challenge, especially when its new form poses a brand-new set of challenges. In practice, this means ditching your old clothes and dressing for your new shape. Try high-waist shaping jeans or form-fitting layers. Accentuate the parts you feel confident showing off, like your arms, legs, or chest.

Think of it as a symbol of strength.

You’ve accomplished something that may have once seemed insurmountable, and your loose skin is a symbol of that journey. It may not be something you want, but it is better. You now have a healthier body that you can start working on as you please. Focusing on this might help you see your loose skin in a new light, maybe eventually as something to be proud of.

Loose skin can be uncomfortable, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of. While you work feeling at home in your new body, the practices above can help you adjust to your loose skin and maybe even grow to embrace it.