why does Loose Skin Appears After Weight Loss | Does Intermittent Fasting Get Rid of Loose Skin | What Happens to Your Skin When You Do Intermittent Fasting | Intermittent Fasting Schedule to Tighten Skin | Best Fasting Methods to Avoid Loose Skin
Intermittent Fasting and Loose Skin – Can it help fix this issue? Let’s dive in. Loose skin can make you look old and feel frustrated. Many people who lose a lot of weight substantially by following diet and exercise may often encounter skin sagging. Some people experience this issue as a side effect of the aging process as well. Whatever may be the reason, this unwarranted condition can shake your self-esteem to a great extent.
Also, people who are on weight loss goals often get to encounter loose and saggy skin around the areas like the neck, arms, lower belly, and inner thighs.
Fortunately, there are ways to deal with loose skin, and better skin health can be achieved. An intermittent fasting plan is one such way that can help you get tighter and firmer skin and a much youthful looking body.
Although intermittent fasting is an effective weight loss technique, it can help with tightening loose skin too. If you do not want to contemplate skin tightening surgery, intermittent fasting will be the best option. Since it promotes autophagy, a process of cell repair, loose skin can be reduced and may further be prevented by embracing intermittent fasting in the right way.
In this article, we will discuss what is the reason behind excess skin sagging, how intermittent fasting can improve your skin quality, and what are the strategies to maintain skin health as you age or lose weight.
Why Does Loose Skin Appear After Weight Loss?
Loose skin after weight loss can occur due to genetic influences. However, genes are not the only factor. Loose skin may occur due to lesser collagen fibers and elastin production too. Collagen and elastin are the body proteins found in the connective tissues. Your body is able to maintain its elasticity and firmness due to collagen and elastin. While collagen gives structure to the body along with keeping the skin supple and firm, elastin helps bring the skin back to its original shape after being stretched.
Some other potential causes of loose skin may be:
- Lack of whole foods in your diet
- Lack of enough minerals and vitamins in your body
- Losing much weight abruptly
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an arrangement of eating that alternates between periods of eating and fasting. It is a process of limiting your eating window to a specific time duration and fasting for the rest of the day. Scheduling the eating and fasting window may vary according to your convenience.
Intermittent fasting does not emphasize what you eat rather it focuses on when you eat. In this respect, intermittent fasting can be more precisely described as an eating pattern rather than a diet pattern.
Intermittent fasting puts your body into a fasting state for a prolonged period which makes the insulin levels drop gradually and allows your body to use energy from its glycogen reserve (stored glucose). When your body depletes the entire glycogen reserve, it begins to use the body’s fats for further energy. This leads to weight loss.
Intermittent fasting methods have several options to choose from. These may include the time-restricted eating method (such as the 16/8, 14/10, and 12/12 methods), the 5/2 diet, the alternate-day fasting (ADF) method, the eat-stop-eat diet, etc. All these methods can effectively cause significant weight loss so long as you reduce your calorie intake and do not compensate for the calories by ingesting more during the eating window.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Researches indicate that intermittent fasting has a myriad of health benefits. Some evidence-based health benefits are mentioned below.
- It improves the human growth hormone (HGH) level. A high human growth hormone level may lead to increased muscle mass and decreased fat mass.
- It boosts insulin sensitivity and lowers insulin levels and insulin resistance. A lowered insulin level facilitates fat burning, ultimately resulting in weight loss.
- It induces autophagy, a waste removal process that does the cellular repair of the body. This process results in the cells breaking down and removing the old and defective proteins that build up inside over time. Autophagy may help protect against diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Want to know more about autophagy? Read “Autophagy And Fasting: A Complete Guide”
- It improves metabolic rate which helps burn even more calories and promotes weight loss.
- It reduces insulin resistance thus decreasing the risk of type II diabetes.
- Intermittent fasting increases body resistance to oxidative stress and fights free radicals thereby lowering inflammation.
- It supports heart health by lowering the primary inflammatory markers of heart disease such as blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, triglyceride, and LDL cholesterol levels.
- Intermittent fasting is beneficial in improving brain health by reducing inflammation, and oxidative stress, and promoting new nerve cell growth. It may also prevent the brain from damage caused by stroke.
Does Intermittent Fasting Get Rid of Loose Skin?
When you gain weight, your skin tends to stretch out. Again when you lose weight your skin sometimes cannot shrink back and ends up leaving loose skin. This happens because when you are on a calorie restriction, your body loses muscle mass along with fat mass which in turn reduces the skin suppleness and elasticity and causes saggy skin.
Loose skin is also caused by several other factors such as aging, genetics, diet, chronic inflammation, sun exposure, and stress.
Good news, as per studies, intermittent fasting has been a popular method to help prevent muscle loss and encourage weight loss without causing skin loosening. The increased growth hormone helps promote muscle growth and fat loss. Further, intermittent fasting induces autophagy, a cellular repair process that can help prevent the elasticity of your skin.
What Happens to Your Skin When You Do Intermittent Fasting?
When you do intermittent fasting, your body enters into autophagy. Autophagy is a process that involves the body’s cells breaking down and destroying the old and defective proteins that build up inside the cells over time and regenerating new cells. As a result, your skin looks young, firm, and smooth. Autophagy also helps your skin retain its elasticity and tightness.
Autophagy also boosts the performance of your body cells including the fibroblast that make collagen for your body. Collagen is indispensable for the elasticity of your skin as well as for providing structure to it. However, with age, your body’s collagen production reduces due to a build-up of waste clogging up the cell. This results in skin loosening, wrinkles, dark spots, etc.
Autophagy helps clean up cellular wastes that cause a lack of collagen and elastin production. The increased collagen and elastin due to autophagy helps in keeping the firmness and elasticity of the skin. Thus by increasing the body’s capacity to produce more natural collagen, you can boost your skin elasticity and tightness. This can also reduce fine lines, and regenerate skin cells more efficiently.
How to Use an Intermittent Fasting Schedule to Tighten Skin?
There is no such exact time frame of intermittent fasting that helps induce autophagy. Autophagy in some people can be induced as early as in 12 hours within the fast however, according to research, autophagy in most of the cases tend to occur between 24 to 48 hours of fasting.
Experts believe that the process of autophagy initiates only after 18 to 20 hours of fasting. Here is an autophagy-inducing timeline.
- Within 12 hours of fasting – The body continues to deplete glycogen reserve
- After 12 hours of fasting – The body enters ketosis, where it begins to tap fat stores for energy
- After 18 hours of fasting – The body starts entering the autophagy process, replacing old and damaged cells with newer ones
- After 48 hours – The body’s growth hormone becomes 5 times higher
- After 54 hours – Body insulin drops and your body becomes insulin-sensitive
Extended periods of intermittent fasting should not be done frequently as it can be exhausting. Instead, you can consider alternate-day fasting or one-meal-a-day (OMAD) fasting types.
Performing physical exercises like cardio and resistance training during intermittent fasting may also encourage autophagy naturally. While fasting and exercising, your body starts to deplete glycogen stores fast and then uses body fat stores and protein for energy.
Incorporating water fast for a prolonged period may also help improve skin health, especially in treating loose skin by letting your body take complete advantage of autophagy. During this period the damaged cell are cleansed away and allow the process that helps keep the skin retain its firmness and elasticity.
Short-term fasting plans may not help in reaping the skin-related benefits of autophagy. However, if you want to gain the maximum benefits of autophagy with a short-term fasting method, you need to incorporate some autophagy-inducing activities along with your fasting schedule such as:
- Doing workouts on an empty stomach
- Eating autophagy-inducing foods like tea, blueberries, dark chocolates, etc.
- Following a keto diet
However, before deciding on any of the diet plans, you must consult with your doctor first to figure out whether fasting is suitable for you. If you have any health conditions that require a certain amount of food all through the day, then intermittent fasting is not for you.
Will You Have More Loose Skin if You Lose Weight Fast?
It is recommended to lose weight slowly and steadily rather than losing rapidly. Massive weight loss can lead to more skin loss because when the body loses weight faster, the skin does not get time to tighten itself up.
Further, quick weight loss usually causes muscle loss too. When you rapidly lose muscles from an area, you tend to lose the stiffness and toning of the skin from that area as well. But gradual weight loss focuses on fat loss and also prevents lean muscle mass loss.
Drinking enough water and staying hydrated during weight loss can be beneficial. Since the skin is the largest organ of your body, and is made of 64% water, dehydration can reduce its elasticity and firmness. As per studies, staying hydrated improves the elasticity, thickness, and density of the skin. The daily hydration requirement can range from 2.5 liters to over 3 liters per day in adults under normal conditions, whereas it can go up to 6 liters in case of extremities like high heat and intense physical activities.
Best Fasting Methods to Avoid Loose Skin
If you are new to intermittent fasting, you should start with 12 to 14 hours of fasting and then gradually increase the time period to 16-18 hours. 16 hours of fasting daily can be good for your skin, but it will not help induce autophagy. A minimum of 18 hours of fasting is required to kick up autophagy.
You can even try to build up a 20/4 fasting schedule to promote autophagy. It will provide you with some extra hours for promoting autophagy during the day. The alternate-day fasting method also works well to promote autophagy when you fast for the entire day.
Prolonged water fasting for 48 to 72 hours can work best because it maximizes autophagy to tighten the loose skin effectively. However, you must refrain from doing this on a frequent basis because these can be tough and strenuous on your body.
One of the most important things to keep in mind while intermittent fasting is to incorporate enough protein into your food during the eating window. Protein is essential for preventing muscle loss and encourages muscle growth. It also promotes skin tightening.
The Takeaway – Intermittent Fasting and Loose Skin
Intermittent fasting is one of the best ways to promote weight loss and tighten extra skin. Among all the methods of intermittent fasting, alternate-day fasting and prolonged water fasting are some of the best methods to help induce autophagy that helps prevent loose skin.
While slow and gradual weight loss techniques are effective to prevent loose skin, it is also essential to maintain the right balance between promoting autophagy and calorie restriction because extreme calorie restriction may cause muscle loss. You must ensure having enough water daily, consume sufficient protein during your eating windows, and incorporate lifestyle changes to yield better results. Finally, with consistency and determination, it is possible to lose weight that too keeping the skin healthy and unharmed. Don’t forget to incorporate important nutrients into your body, such as Collagen, Vitamin C, and maintain a healthy diet in the long term to see lasting results.