Summary: Excess skin is kind of a mystery. Where does excess skin come from and why do we tend to dislike it so much? Well, excess skin can definitely impact the way you look, causing all kinds of aesthetic discomfort on the part of patients. That’s, in part, why there are so many cosmetic procedures and plastic surgery techniques to target excess skin.

Where Does Excess Skin Come From and Why is it Such a Bad Thing?

There is a significant amount of cosmetic and plastic surgery devoted to one particular issue: excess skin. But where does excess skin come from anyway? And why is excess skin so bad that almost every procedure promises to treat it in some way? Look, it’s not as though excess skin is somehow foreign or strange to us.

Everybody develops excess skin over time. And it’s not always such a bad thing. It’s just that excess skin in certain places can look…unsightly. It’s not the skin itself so much as it is the way it hangs there or gets bunched up.

There are some particular problem areas for excess skin. It tends to be noticed in those areas for two reasons. Sometimes, it’s because that happens to be an area where excess skin really likes to accumulate. But in other cases, it’s because that particular place where excess skin is accumulating happens to have a complex topography. Excess skin in itself isn’t bad, it’s just that it can sometimes be unflattering, causing lines, wrinkles and other artifacts as it goes along. Where does excess skin come from? That might give us a clue as to how to eliminate it.

Your Skin Loses Elasticity

Over time, your skin is going to lose elasticity. When you’re young, that elasticity is easy to come by. Your skin is stretchy. That makes sense, you’re still growing, still becoming whoever it is you will become. Which means if you lose weight, gain weight, it doesn’t really matter all that much. Your body will adapt.

But your skin tends to become more rigid as you age. It loses its ability to bounce back. That leaves your skin quite susceptible to two different agents of change:

  • Significant body transformations: Sometimes it’s massive weight loss. Sometimes it’s pregnancy. Sometimes it’s just your body changing over the years. As your body changes volume, you tend to develop excess skin mostly because your skin no longer bounces back. Once your volume increases, your skin is stuck in that “larger” format, even if you again at some point reduce your volume again. This doesn’t just happen around the belly, of course–it can happen anywhere!
  • You become susceptible to gravity: You never realize it, of course, but little by little, day by day, gravity is pulling down on your skin. This downward force doesn’t do anything on a single day, but over years it can add up, stretching out your skin in unflattering ways. For women, this could manifest as the sagging of breast tissue. For women and men, sagging tissue around the face is incredibly common (and the youngsters need to be aware of something called “cell phone face,” which develops from looking down at one’s phone).
  • Once you have that excess skin, and once it refuses to bounce back, there’s not a whole lot you can do to mitigate that naturally.

    Options for Excess Skin

    If you have a very small amount of excess skin you have two options for natural treatments: you can try exercise and see if you can increase the volume of your muscle in order to make the skin tighter. Or you can hope your skin “bounces back” eventually.

    Many people opt instead to go with a cosmetic or plastic surgery solution. Patients will have both surgical and non surgical options for combating the effects of excess skin.

    Non Surgical Options

    Patients who want to do something about excess skin but don’t want to undergo surgery have one pretty basic option: fill the volume! This is usually accomplished via the use of dermal filler injections, such as Juvederm or Voluma. The results will be temporary and subtle, but this is a good option for patients who have a small amount of excess skin.

    Surgical Options

    If you have a large amount of excess skin, you’ll likely be looking into surgical options if you want to see substantial transformations. These surgical options might include a tummy tuck, facelift, or blepharoplasty, depending on where that excess skin is actually located. Because that’s the funny thing about excess skin. Where does excess skin come from? Lots of places. And where does it end up?

    Lots of places.

    References

    • “After Huge Weight Loss, Sagging Skin Remains.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/after-huge-weight-loss-sagging-skin-remains-n44481.
    • Talens, Dick. “How to Minimize Loose Skin During Weight Loss.” Vitals, Vitals, 7 Apr. 2015, vitals.lifehacker.com/how-to-minimize-loose-skin-during-weight-loss-1696145766.
    • Frey, Malia, and Richard N. Fogoros. “How to Fix Loose Skin After Weight Loss.” Verywell Fit, www.verywellfit.com/how-to-fix-loose-skin-after-weight-loss-3496411.

    About the Author: Nick Engebretson has been writing about plastic and cosmetic surgery for nearly twenty years, nearly always in his capacity as a marketer for surgeons.

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