Tighten up sagging skin
Just because your stomach may be flat doesn’t necessarily mean that the skin on your midsection will be tight and firm, and vice versa. Skin elasticity is determined by both age and genetics. Even if you work out and watch your weight, it’s still possible to have flabby, crepey or saggy skin on your stomach. While many doctors and fitness experts recommend pacing weight loss to prevent your skin from becoming loose, there are a wide variety of treatments available that can help to tone and tighten the skin.
1. Noninvasive Option: Skin Tighteners
There are a handful of different skin-tightening treatments like Cellulite Procedure from Thermage, Titan, Accent Your Body, ReFirme and VelaShape available today, but overall, most of them work in the same way—by using a laser or energy to target collagen synthesis, which in turn promotes tighter skin. According to Fairfax, VA, plastic surgeon Yongsook Victoria Suh, MD, a skin tightening treatment is best for those with the slightest bit of loose skin and a small amount of body fat. The more collagen within the skin, the tighter and more flexible it is. “Each machine uses a different modality (the type of energy or laser used) but they all target collagen production,” she says. “The skin on the abdomen is thick and the harm done to it from pregnancy and weight gain is usually large, so multiple treatments may be necessary and benefits may be limited.” Keep in mind that many of these treatments offer only temporary results that are often unpredictable, and usually need follow-up sessions to be maintained.
But many doctors, like New York City plastic surgeon Alan Matarasso, MD, warn that skin tightening treatments are not a replacement for the results that only surgery can offer up. “They won’t remove fat cells or eliminate excess skin like surgery can, and there isn’t any long-term scientific data on the results,” he says.
2. Surgical Option: Remove the Excess Skin (Mini-Tummy Tuck)
If you have a relatively tight stomach above your belly button but not below it, a mini or modified tummy tuck may be an option. “I typically recommend this procedure to those with no laxity or only laxity in the muscle below the belly button,” says Chicago plastic surgeon Peter Geldner, MD. Through a small, short incision at or above the pubic area that stretches a few inches across the lower abdomen, your plastic surgeon will contour and shape your stomach by tightening the lower muscles that have become slack before excess skin is removed. Keep in mind that while a mini tummy tuck is still considered major surgery, the recovery time is typically shorter and the pain factor, post surgery, is somewhat easier than a regular tummy tuck.
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