It’s Not Too Late for a Tighter Tummy

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Just like how the skin on your face ages, so does the skin on your body. And the stomach is one area where time takes its toll. From thinning skin to crepiness and laxity, a lack of tautness can make a drastic change in the look of the stomach. “Loose skin, often the result of pregnancy, can be quite difficult to get tight again,” says Miami dermatologist Janelle Vega Mayoral, MD.

Nine times out of 10, loose skin on the stomach is the result of weight-loss or pregnancy, and the older you are when either of these events happen, the more likely it is that collagen and elastin in the skin have experienced some damage. Sun exposure can also cause the quality of the skin to change with time. Genetics are partially responsible for skin-related changes as well.

When the stomach is laden with lots of loose skin, working out and skin-tightening treatments won’t do much to rectify the problem. And even if your body is thin with little extra fat but with loose skin, the excess still needs to be trimmed away, which is known as a mini-tummy tuck. “The reason is because excess skin still exists and has to be completely removed,” says Pittsburgh plastic surgeon Leo McCafferty, MD. “The only way to correct the problem is to excise the loose skin.” By creating an incision down at the pubic bone (which will be hidden by underwear and bathing suits when fully healed), the skin is pulled from the top down and the excess is snipped away. “Once the skin is pulled taut and into position, it stays like that forever unless a healthy lifestyle isn’t followed,” he adds. To further enhance the silhouette, the internal stomach muscles are also tightened during the procedure.

For the most part, loose skin is accompanied by excess pockets of fat, but there are women who experience just laxity, usually on those that are thin with little or no extra belly fat. The radio-frequency-based skin tightners used in-office can help get rid of flabby skin. “Machines like Body by Thermage and Accent Your Body distribute radiofrequency energy at a deeper level to heat the skin so that collagen is generated for a more contoured, tighter shape,” says Dr. Vega Mayoral. Collagen-stimulating treatments like eMatrix that work on a more superficial level can improve skin texture by regenerating collagen. 

Crinkly, wrinkly skin may keep you from showing your midsection but there a few tricks that can make the skin look seemingly better. Keeping the skin well-hydrated won’t cause it to look dry and parched. Also, using a self-tanner can camouflage the look of any crepiness and stretch marks that may be more obvious because the skin is naturally lighter in color.

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