There are many skin tightening techniques, ranging from home remedies to professional treatments targeted at shrinking loose skin after significant weight loss. Here are nine especially popular methods.
Here, we’ll explore nine tips for tightening loose abdominal skin (as well as skin on the arms, thighs, and buttocks) including a natural method that's also a secret weapon for facial rejuvenation.
9 Ways to Tighten Loose Skin on the Stomach
There are many skin tightening techniques, ranging from home remedies to professional treatments targeted at shrinking saggy skin after significant weight loss. Here are nine especially popular methods.
Red Light Therapy
“How could light firm up loose abdominal skin?” is a reasonable question. It may seem far-fetched that shining light on your belly can improve tone and help it regain its elasticity. Yet there’s plenty of scientific evidence that says red light is one way of addressing how to tighten loose skin in stomach areas.
The efficacy of red light therapy has been extensively medically reviewed.
The term “red light therapy” refers to both red and near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths. This natural therapy stimulates healing, energizes the cells, and stimulates the production of both skin's collagen and elastin. Red light therapy is non-invasive, easy to use, and painless, and you can enjoy treatments in the comfort of your own home using a light therapy device.
It's easy to use and is preferable to even minimally invasive solutions.
Red light therapy is a “long game” solution. It does not work quickly, and because of that, patience is necessary. But it pays off because red light therapy can effectively treat sagging and loose skin by supporting cellular health that results in improved firmness and elasticity.
Build muscle mass and strengthen core muscles to reduce the appearance of minor instances of sagging skin and belly fat. Exercise doesn't necessarily mean a significant amount of physical activity either. Resistance training, yoga, and pilates tighten and lift the core muscles, meaning the abdominal, side, and lower back. Exercise is a useful way to lose weight, although rapid weight loss can actually increase loose skin.
Chronic dehydration leads to cells that look like deflated water balloons – and deflated balloons sag.
Forget about plastic surgery. Instead, avoid sugary drinks, including fruit juice. To reduce sagging skin, drink about 12 8-ounce glasses of pure water daily. As your cells “plump up” with water they will function better and become fuller; although your excess skin may still be loose, it won’t sag as much.
Topical Skin Tightening Products
Prescription or over-the-counter skin tightening products including topical creams, lotions, and serums are an easy treatment for the self-consciousness caused by loose skin. Those that contain vitamin C or retinol may be especially effective because they boost new collagen production. These products, however, may not be the best option for people with sensitive skin.
Excess sun exposure without using sunscreen, smoking, and drinking alcohol all damage skin elasticity. Adopt healthy lifestyle changes, including wearing sunscreen, and giving up smoking and alcohol use.
Radiofrequency treatments are another collagen-boosting option that induces a healing response by heating up the water inside cells. This healing response stimulates skin's collagen production. The results are relatively quick and can last several years. A word of caution, however: excessive heat therapy can damage cells. A Radiofrequency treatment should always be administered by a qualified professional.
Sugar is a huge culprit in aging skin, according to a Dartmouth Medical School study called “Nutrition and Aging Skin.”
Sugar has been connected with oxidative stress that damages collagen fibers. Reduce or eliminate processed sugar and up-level your diet with leafy green vegetables. Eggs are another “skin superfood”. They contain lysine and proline, which are the amino acids that form collagen.
Laser therapy treatment boosts the production of collagen and elastin via heat. Though generally safe, (laser therapy doesn't require anesthesia), it may result in temporary redness and swelling. Although results are generally quick and effective, you’ll need multiple treatments, which can get expensive.
A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a type of plastic surgery that is used to remove loose skin. It is popular after bariatric surgery. As with any surgery, tummy tucks carry a risk factor – and are expensive. Although this procedure fully removes the effects of unwanted weight gain, it won’t improve skin elasticity or prevent excess skin due to weight gain and weight loss in the future.
Which of these skin tightening treatments is best?
While a tummy tuck immediately removes loose skin, it doesn't firm the stomach or support healthy skin. Other methods may have side effects, and/or don’t target loose skin on the stomach.
Red light therapy is, by far, the best noninvasive, safe, natural, and effective solution. Here's how it works and why it's so effective.
How Does Red Light Therapy Firm Loose Skin on the Stomach?
Red light therapy works by stimulating the skin to perform at its best.
Red light devices are fitted with light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs that deliver wavelengths of red and NIR light to the skin. According to hundreds of studies, the most beneficial wavelengths are red, ranging from 630 to 660 nanometers (nm); and NIR, from 810 to 850 nm.
As the light absorbs into the tissues, it stimulates several important beneficial processes at the cellular level.
Red Light Therapy Increases Cellular Energy Production and Reduces Inflammation
The performance of individual cells (specialized functions, replication, and self-repair) directly affects the systems of which they are part. When red light is shone onto skin, it absorbs into tissue and stimulates mitochondria. These are tiny organelles inside cells that produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary cellular fuel.
A condition known as mitochondrial dysfunction occurs when the mitochondria don’t produce enough energy, often because of chronic inflammation. As a result, the cells struggle to survive. This is at the heart of accelerated aging and many skin disorders.
Struggling cells can get a boost from red light, which reduces inflammation and stimulates the mitochondria to produce more ATP.
Red Light Therapy Boosts Elastin and Collagen Production
Loose skin often results from significant weight loss. However, it can be worsened by the normal aging process as collagen production slows. A 2008 paper in the scientific journal Photomedicine and Laser Surgery explains how red light can help.
The study found that two types of cells are especially responsive to red light. In the paper, researchers Joseph Tafur and Paul Mills state that:
- Fibroblasts, which are the cells responsible for collagen and elastin synthesis; and
- Epithelial cells, which are the stretchy cells on the skin's surface that act as the barrier between the body and the environment.
Red Light Therapy Boosts Circulation
Firm skin relies on blood and lymph circulation. Blood brings nutrients to the skin, while lymph fluid removes waste to help protect skin cells.
A 2018 study by Austrian researchers found that red light therapy stimulates growth of endothelial cells, which make up the inner layer of capillaries of the blood and lymphatic systems.
Red light therapy also offers many other health benefits, including aiding with weight loss. Explore these benefits on the PlatinumLED Learn page.
Red Light Therapy Supports Muscle Growth
Building muscle mass creates a firm surface to support skin. An extensive 2016 review, which observed results from over 40 studies, revealed conclusive findings: a combination of red/NIR light therapy boosts muscle growth to develop firm, skin-supporting muscles.
As a bonus, red light therapy after a workout can support muscle healing and reduce post-workout pain, which can supercharge your fitness.
How to Tighten Stomach Skin Using Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy can be used wherever you have loose skin, including the face, neck, upper arms, thighs, and stomach. Here’s what you need:
- A powerful LED red light therapy device that delivers red/NIR wavelengths together
- Consistency and patience
A high-light-output device will “push” light photons into the tissues. Look for irradiance, which is a measure of light output in milliwatts per square centimeter (or mW/cm²). The higher the number, the more powerful the device.
The mid-sized 153 mW/cm² PlatinumLED BIOMAX 600 is great for stomach firming.
Smaller, underpowered devices mean a longer wait until your loose skin firms up. Also, you’ll spend a lot more time treating larger areas.
The best results come by using a combination of red and NIR light together. The PlatinumLED BIOMAX series features a proprietary combination of five different red/NIR wavelengths for a synergistic treatment of every layer of the skin and underlying tissue.
A daily 10- to 20-minute treatment will continually support new, healthy cells and production of new collagen and elastin for constant skin regeneration and, over time, firming.
Remember, your skin did not stretch overnight. You may see improvement in firmness and elasticity as soon as a month, and you'll continue to see improvements with ongoing treatments.
Red Light Benefits For Your Skin and Beyond
While you’re firming up your belly skin, you can take advantage of the powerful anti-aging and skin health benefits of clinically proven red light therapy. It has been used to:
- Significantly reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Fade sun spots (age spots), correct hyperpigmentation, and treat fine lines
- Treat acne and minimize the appearance of acne scars
- Promote wound healing
- Treat chronic skin disorders including rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema
- Anti-aging treatment
- Regrow hair
- Reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks
Take a look at our other resources to learn more about many more uses for red light therapy.
To recap, red light may be the best medically reviewed, non-surgical option for firming up your stomach. It stimulates cells to produce more energy; boosts collagen and elastin production; improves circulation; and reduces cell-damaging oxidative stress and inflammation.
Combining red light therapy and positive lifestyle modifications including diet, exercise, and hydration; avoiding skin-damaging products; and good skin care practices is the most effective way to achieve long-term success.
If you’re ready to enjoy firmer stomach skin (no matter your age), check out the industry-leading BIOMAX series panels from PlatinumLED Therapy Lights.