Loose Skin After Pregnancy: 9 Tips To Firm Your Skin [2022 Updated]

Lakshmi Vemuri

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Ramakrishnan, G., Ph.D

loose skin after pregnancy

Pregnancy can be joyful and overwhelming at the same time. With all the physical and emotional changes a pregnant woman has to go through before and after pregnancy it is no wonder that postpartum depression affects up to 15% of all pregnant women[1]. But weight retention, loose skin and feeling out of shape can also add to postpartum blues.

So, here are some interesting facts about skin. Even at its thickest point, our skin, despite being the largest organ, is just a few millimeters thick. It makes up to 1/7 of our body weight[2]. It weighs between 7.5 to 22 pounds depending on the individual’s body mass and height. This demonstrates how important the skin is for our metabolism and body.  So it is important to prevent and get rid of saggy skin. So let us first know what causes loose skin and how to prevent it.

Best Ways to Get Rid of Loose Skin After Pregnancy

  1. Vitamin C for Collagen Boost
  2. Healthy Diet of Proteins and Fats
  3. Cut the Sugar Intake
  4. Lose Weight Slowly
  5. Vitamin E for Healthy Skin
  6. Pump up the Water Intake
  7. Build Muscle Mass for Firm Skin
  8. Breastfeed the Baby
  9. Skin-firming Creams to Tighten Skin

What Causes Loose Skin?

Loose skin is natural to change and is a part of pregnancy, I mean how can one not have loose skin while their body tends to expand to make space for their baby? During pregnancy, our skin stretches to adapt to a growing bump. So it is natural to have loose skin around the stomach once you give birth to a baby. Gradual loss of the elasticity of skin leads to loose skin. But with some effort, you can have that normal skin. But it also depends on factors like age, weight, and genetics. Here are some proven ways to prevent excess amounts of loose skin.

How To Prevent And Tighten Loose Skin?

Benjamin Franklin rightly said an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Did you know that the last organ in the body to get the essential nutrients is the skin? So for firm skin, you will need to consume a balanced diet, hydrate your body, increase collagen synthesis and maintain a workout routine. 

Vitamin C For Collagen Boost

Vitamin C is essential for producing collagen and L- carnitine. Loss of elasticity in the skin is linked to less collagen. Collagen is an essential part of connective tissue and plays a vital role in wound healing. It is also known to generate antioxidants like vitamin C. The recommended daily value of vitamin C for pregnant women[3] is 85mg per day and 120mg per day for lactating women. Vitamin C not only helps in increasing firmness of the skin but also overall development of the baby. Along with citrus family fruits, red and green pepper, broccoli, and brussel sprouts are all rich in vitamin C.

Healthy Diet Of Proteins And Fats

Healthy fats and proteins can build muscle, moreover proteins also have collagen in them. A healthy diet can reduce or even banish those stretch marks. Stretch marks are a by-product of rapid weight gain. So by eating a healthy diet weight gain can also be curbed. A balanced diet should contain whole grains, lean proteins like fish, beans, chicken, plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as dairy products to meet daily calcium needs. With a healthy diet, the elasticity and flexibility of the skin get improved. This will help your skin to get back to normalcy post-delivery.

Cut The Sugar Intake

Avoid sugar as much as you can. Sugar is an enemy if your goal is to achieve great skin. Sugar increases the inflammation in our body and produces the enzymes that break down collagen and elastin. Moreover, you can minimize nausea by cutting down on sugars. You can always enjoy natural sugars from fruits to keep your sugar cravings at bay. Moreover, high sugar intake can lead to weight gain[4] which in turn contributes to loose skin when trying to lose weight.

 Lose Weight Slowly

 Losing weight too soon can do more harm than good. By shedding rapidly you may lose muscle, and slow down metabolism. You might invite nutritional deficiencies as well. Furthermore, by losing weight rapidly, along with fat, there would be muscle loss. By losing muscle, our body loses the ability to support a tight and toned body. You can lose weight faster in many ways. By eating slowly, eating proteins and healthy fats, cutting on sugars and starches and last and most importantly physical exercise. Many studies have reported that gradual weight loss is sustainable for long-term goals, whereas rapid weight loss is a risk factor for weight regain later[5].

Vitamin E For Healthy Skin

Every dermatologist swears by vitamin E as both its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties make it popular for its uses for skin. Sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, almonds, blackberries, avocado, wheat germ oil are all some great sources of vitamin E. Pregnant women need 15mg per day[6], whereas lactating women need 19mg per day. Vitamin E boosts skin elasticity and boosts collagen. You can also apply topical vitamin E solutions on stretch marks to achieve skin regeneration.

Pump Up The Water Intake

We all have seen our favorite celebrities stress the importance of hydration. Staying hydrated is crucial to keep your skin elastic. Whereas, tightening loose skin is all about boosting and maintaining skin’s elasticity[7]. And the easiest way is by consuming 8 glasses of water each day so that our skin cells function well and repair and recover from the stretch marks. In addition to this, it reduces water retention around your belly, Plus, you burn calories. You do not have to sip water all day. You can sip some hot herbal teas, detox water, or even better cucumber or lemon water.

Build Muscle Mass For Firm Skin

This is one of the best ways to tighten loose skin. Did you know that the firmness of our skin largely depends on the underlying muscle? Muscles support and work towards pulling skin tight and firm. So this makes it important to build muscles to have a toned body. One can build muscles through muscle strengthening exercises like resistance training, dumbbell workouts, and cardio workouts like squats, lunges, and pushups. Make sure to engage all major muscles in your weekly workout. You also need to give adequate rest to muscles. By building muscle mass one can minimize the appearance of saggy skin.

Breastfeed The Baby

Breastfeeding is not only great for your baby but also for your skin. Did you know that large amounts of calories are consumed when making milk? Our body stores very few calories as fat or even use up our existing body fat to keep up with milk production. This is why breastfeeding your baby can make you lose weight[8] and tighten that loose skin. By just doing what comes naturally as a part of motherhood you can shed those pounds.

Skin Firming Creams To Tighten Skin

When it comes to skin firming products there are tons of options out there. But the key ingredients you need to look for are retinoids, peptides[9], collagen, and vitamin C. Retinol aka vitamin A is widely used for its benefits in recovering the damaged skin and improving its firmness. Retinoids also improve skin texture. Retinoids inhibit the enzymes that break down collagen. Whereas, peptides are amino acids that build blocks of protein. Peptides improve elasticity and reduce tightness that’s caused by stretching.

The Role Of Diet In Achieving Healthy Skin

Following a healthy diet with proper nutrition is very important. As your metabolism is highly dependent on your diet, make sure what you eat is good for your skin. Foods such as fatty fish, walnuts, avocados, sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, and broccoli are some of the best foods you can eat, for healthy, shiny, and tight skin. If you are looking to get rid of saggy skin after pregnancy, you can also try including tomatoes, soy, green tea, dark chocolate, and red grapes in your regular diet.  While following a healthy and nutritious diet, also ensure that you avoid refined sugars and unhealthy fats, since they tend to harm your skin’s health.

Non-Surgical Cosmetic Procedures For A Better Skin

There are many surgical procedures that can help you attain beautiful and tight skin again after your pregnancy. However, they also come with their own set of side effects in the long run. It is better to proceed with nonsurgical cosmetic methods which are capable of producing good results, while also being easy to apply. Here are a few that you should consider when you are trying to cull loose skin:

  • Chemical Peels
  • Ablative Laser Resurfacing
  • Ultrasound Skin Tightening
  • Radiofrequency treatments
  • Neuromodulators

Consult a reputed doctor before choosing any of these methods. Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of each method and take the call.

Final Words

Prevention is better than cure. Try to follow a healthy diet regime while you are pregnant. It helps you maintain your metabolism rates and have a healthy life. While it is not easy to avoid loose skin completely after your pregnancy, it is very much possible to reduce the level of sagginess. Also, stress deteriorates your skin’s health. So, try meditating every night before you sleep

+ 9 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. Pearlstein, T., Howard, M., Salisbury, A. and Zlotnick, C. (2009). Postpartum depression. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, [online] 200(4), pp.357–364. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3918890/
  2. ‌Nih.gov. (2019). How does skin work? [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279255/
  3. ‌Nih.gov. (2017). Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin C. [online] Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
  4. ‌Goran MI;Plows JF;Ventura EE (2019). Effects of consuming sugars and alternative sweeteners during pregnancy on maternal and child health: evidence for a secondhand sugar effect. The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, [online] 78(3). Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30501650/#:~:text=We%20found%20evidence%20that%20sugar,diabetes%2C%20preeclampsia%20and%20preterm%20birth.
  5. ‌Ashtary-Larky, D., Ghanavati, M., Lamuchi-Deli, N., Payami, S.A., Alavi-Rad, S., Boustaninejad, M., Afrisham, R., Abbasnezhad, A. and Alipour, M. (2017). Rapid Weight Loss vs. Slow Weight Loss: Which is More Effective on Body Composition and Metabolic Risk Factors? International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, [online] In Press(In Press). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5702468/
  6. Nih.gov. (2017). Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin E. [online] Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/
  7. ‌Akdeniz, M., Tomova‐Simitchieva, T., Dobos, G., Blume‐Peytavi, U. and Kottner, J. (2018). Does dietary fluid intake affect skin hydration in healthy humans? A systematic literature review. Skin Research and Technology, [online] 24(3), pp.459–465. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29392767/
  8. ‌Jarlenski, M.P., Bennett, W.L., Bleich, S.N., Barry, C.L. and Stuart, E.A. (2014). Effects of breastfeeding on postpartum weight loss among U.S. women. Preventive Medicine, [online] 69, pp.146–150. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4312189/
  9. Ganceviciene, R., Liakou, A.I., Theodoridis, A., Makrantonaki, E. and Zouboulis, C.C. (2012). Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermato-Endocrinology, [online] 4(3), pp.308–319. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583892/
Lakshmi Vemuri

Medically reviewed by:

Lakshmi Vemuri holds a bachelor’s degree in Dentistry. She is also a published author of several Food and Wellness books. Lakshmi has a profound interest in alternative medicines, various forms of physical exercise, mental health, diets, and new inventions in medical sciences. Besides being a dentist, Lakshmi is passionate about gardening and is an environmental enthusiast

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