How to Get Rid of Loose Skin After Weight Loss or Having a Baby

By Kate Horney






Ok moms, so in response to a blog post on how to flatten your stomach (Read about the 3 tummy trouble types here) I’ve gotten lots of emails re: loose skin in the stomach area.
Specifically, moms have been asking how to get rid of loose skin after they lose their baby weight but still have a “baby belly.”


First, let me start by saying that this is a tricky one. Much of this has to do with how much weight you gained (whether in pregnancy or not), how much you stomach and skin stretched, and what your genetic make up looks like when it comes to skin elasticity and collagen. I’ve worked with women lost 60+lbs and hardly any lose skin after pregnancy, and I’ve worked with women who experienced the loose skin on their stomachs after losing just 10lbs and never having babies.  When it comes to getting rid of loose skin after weight loss, there are many factors to consider.  The problem can be extremely frustrating if you’re working so hard to lose weight but still aren’t getting the stomach “look” that you’re working towards.

A photo posted by Kate Horney (@beyondfitmom) on

Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve the condition of the loose skin. You may not be able to completely get rid of the skin without surgery, but that’s not to say it’s not worth trying. 


First, make sure that the issue you’re dealing with is actualy loose skin and not simply extra body fat. While calipers are useful for this type of testing, most moms don’t have access to this type of test, so instead, here’s an at home trick: Pinch the area you’re concerned with and if you can grab more than a few millimeters of skin, there’s more fat in there to lose. Until you lose that fat, your skin has no reason to return to its former size and tightness. Typically most women need to be at or below 17-18% body fat before address the skin issue itself.



  A photo posted by Kate Horney (@beyondfitmom) on

In many cases, when you work on lowering your body fat percentage first, you will burn off that stubborn subcutaneous fat on your stomach and the problem of what appears to be loose skin will take care of itself.
If that’s not the case for you, though, and you find yourself still wondering how to get rid of loose skin after weight loss, here are a few tricks that I’ve experienced first hand that work for both me and my clients… 

 1.  Go slow & steady.  So many women are so excited to lose their baby weight, but remember- even amidst the excitement- to do so in a slow, healthy and sustainable way. Losing weight too quickly will only add to the problem of loose skin. If you lose weight quickly you will lose both fat and muscle. Muscle is a key factor not only in keeping your metabolism working properly, but also in giving you a tight, toned and lean shape that you want.  Simply put: Muscle helps your skin to keep it’s shape. Your skin needs time to adjust to it’s new shape when you lose weight. If you loose it too quickly, you may just end up with even more loose skin. Allow your skin time to regain it’s elasticity. A general rule of thumb is to aim for losing around 1-2 lbs per week.

2.  Prioritize Protein. If you want to build muscle, protein should be your focus (along with fresh, fibrous produce). Not only is protein it good for muscle growth, but it also contains important nutrients that help your skin stay healthy (we’ll talk about collagen in just a bit). How much protein you need depends on your weight as well as how much physical activity and strength training you do, but a general rule of thumb for most women is to aim for .8-1g of protein per pound of body weight.

3.  Stay hydrated.   Water will help hydrate your skin, making it more elastic. It will help your body to burn calories more effectively. On top of that, it will help reduce water retention in your belly area, which may make the appearance of loose skin less noticeable. If you haven’t been drinking your H20, here’s a good reason to start. In addition to making sure your skin stays hydrated from the inside (aim for 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water daily) some research suggests that lotion and vitamin creams may also help outer layers of your skin stay hydrated and improve appearance. Use a lotion on your skin that contains collagen, as well as vitamins E, A, C, and K to help firm up loose skin. When you apply the lotion massage it in. Massaging will improve blood flow to the area which helps your skin to appear firmer. Try massaging lotion to any loose skin once or twice a day.

4. Weight Train. Many moms miss the connection between lifting weights and tightening loose skin. They are afraid to strength train for fear of “bulking up” but what many women don’t understand is that strength training will actually help improve your over all muscle tone and will give you more lean muscle, resulting in a higher metabolism and a tighter, more toned look. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Lifting weights will improve your body composition (the percentage of lean muscle to body fat) and by improving your body composition, you will reduce fat not just along your waist and underneath loose skin, but all over your body

5.  Improve Skin Elasticity. When skin loses elasticity, it can no longer return to it’s proper size. Skin elasticity naturally decreases as we age, but this is an issue that women of all ages face. In terms of improving elasticity, research shows that this is mostly an inside job. Meaning, the foods we eat- and if you can’t get all the vitamins and minerals you need from whole foods, the supplements we take, can help….

  • Vitamin C:  Vitamin C is essential for producing collagen and elastin. Aging and exposure to sunlight or pollutants deplete the amount of vitamin C in skin, while consuming vitamin C boosts its levels. Studies show that women should get 75 milligrams daily. You can get about 100 percent of your daily intake by eating 1/2 cup of sweet peppers or a medium orange. Other good sources include broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, strawberries and cantaloupe.
  • Vitamin E: Vitamin E works inside your skin as an antioxidant. Reactive molecules known as free radicals are produced when skin is exposed to sunlight or other environmental stressors. Vitamin E neutralizes free radicals before they harm skin cells in the skin’s barrier. Since sunlight and free radicals also damage collagen and elastin, antioxidant protection helps maintain skin’s strength. The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin E is 15 milligrams daily. The best dietary sources are sunflower seeds, wheat germ, peanuts, almonds, and hazelnuts.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps regulate the growth of new skin cells. Since new cells form the skin’s protective barrier, they hold in moisture and maintain flexible skin. You also need vitamin B-12, folate and vitamin B-6 for their ability to lower blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine may block enzymes essential for the normal meshing of collagen and elastin, according to the Medical Biochemistry Researches. Other B vitamins, including biotin and niacin, also contribute to healthy skin. Since these vitamins come from diverse food sources, the best strategy is to eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of low sugar fruits, fibrous vegetables, lean protein.





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