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Dear greco02,

You can tone and tighten your skin with exercise, but only to a certain extent. Skin is elastic, just like a rubber band. If you apply tension to it, it will stretch (like a pregnant woman's belly skin). If you release the tension, the rubber band (and skin) will contract back to it's original state. But if you stretch it too fast, or too much, it will eventually break. When skin "breaks", you get stretch marks - that means the skin has lost its elasticity.

As long as your skin has good elasticity, you can continue to lose weight and your skin will gradually tighten and tone (much slower than the disappearing fat). But if your skin has lost its elasticity (for example if you have stretch marks), then the skin will not tone no matter how much you exercise. In that case, the only option would be surgery to remove the extra skin.

So everywhere my skin is covered with old, white stretch marks, there's no hope of it getting any firmer? I'm planning for several procedures (lower body lift, thigh lift, breast lift and augmentation, and upper arms), but I kept thinking I needed to wait and see how much firmer my skin would get on its own. If there's no hope of the skin firming naturally, I am ready to go foward with surgery!

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Hello Pink Stella,

I wouldn't really use the word "firmer", but you are essentially right. Everywhere you have a lot of stretch marks, that skin will not really tighten or tone significantly with weight loss, and the best treatment would be surgical removal of the loose hanging skin. But that is completely different than "firmess" which has more to do with the underlying muscle tone. You will definitely continue to get firmer as you work out because the underlying muscles will keep getting healthier and toned, and you will be losing the fat layer between the muscle and skin, so you can feel the firmness better. As long as you continue to lose weight and get fitter, it is too early to consider plastic surgery reconstruction. Once you have lost enough weight to reach a plateau at your goal weight, then I would recommend consultation with an experienced plastic surgeon to discuss your surgery options.

Good luck.

By the way, I really like that weight loss ticker - pretty cool.

Sincerely,

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Oy, that's just wonderful news...sigh...

In addition to being morbidly obese, I also gave birth to three kids, so I have a TON of stretch marks everywhere, including my legs and arms. It's not a pretty picture at the moment!

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Thanks for your feedback! I am definitely planning on waiting until my weight has stablized for at least 6 months before moving forward with surgery, but I was thinking I need to wait a couple of years after that to give my skin time to firm on it's own. My new, athletic lifestyle is resulting in muscle tone and definition, but, unfortunately, years of obesity have damaged my skin beyond what I can repair myself. I look forward to the results plastic surgery can bring!

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