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Plastic Surgery Blog

How Does Weight Loss Affect Your Face?


In October of 2016, the CDC reported that obesity in American adults is at the highest rate it has ever been. Almost 40% of adults and 19% of youth are obese. This does not count the percentage of the country that is overweight, and there has been a 30% increase in adult obesity from 1999-2000 to 2015-2016. This has an enormous impact on public health and the health of individuals. Weight gain and weight loss also has a real effect on the skin and especially on the appearance of the face. People who want to maintain their youthful attractiveness should know the toll weight gain and loss takes on the face and facial skin.

Young skin is soft, plump, and elastic. The plumpness is there because of subcutaneous fat, and collagen and elastin give the skin its elasticity. With age we all lose subcutaneous fat, the skin thins, and collagen and elastin break down. The is particularly obvious around the eyes because the tissue is naturally thin there. That's why we judge how old people are by how many crow's feet they have.

When people gain weight, their fat cells increase. The body naturally converts extra calories to fat, and those fat cells fill out the lines and wrinkles and mask aging, particularly in the face, but all over the body as well. For this reason carrying a little extra weight will make most people look younger, if not sexier. Fat also tends to mask pores and acne or other scars.

Weight loss can be healthy and liberating, but it rarely makes your face look younger. When you lose weight and those fat cells increase, the overlying skin is revealed for what it is - less full and less elastic than when you were younger. Your skin will look saggier, and lines and wrinkles will seem deeper. Losing 5 or 10 pounds, or even 20, will not make an enormous difference in how your face looks, but losing 100 pounds definitely will. Fat stretches out the skin, and people who have lost large amounts of weight will often have to have skin flaps on their abdomens or arms removed and tucked in order to have smooth, non-sagging skin again.

Another complication is weight fluctuation. Most people's weight fluctuates over time. They gain ten pounds and lose five or lose twenty and gain ten. If you do this on a regular basis, it will take a toll on your skin's elasticity. This will be particularly noticeable around your chin and jowls because that is where the fat tends to be stored in the face.

The best thing you can do to prevent aging because of weight gain and loss is to maintain your weight within the normal range over time, of course. If you are like most Americans and have not done this, however, there are ways to restore youthfulness in your face, including Botox, dermal fillers, and microneedling. If you are concerned that your face is looking older, and you'd like to turn back the clock, call us at Bancroft Feldman. We would be happy to discuss the options you have for dealing with sagging skin or wrinkles anywhere on your body or face. You do not have to look old before your time! We can help. 

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