Sep - Oct 2019

Skin Care Ideas for The Bariatric Patient

By Judith S. Thomas, DNP


By now, you’d like to think that you have your post-surgery weight loss routine down pat. You know that you have to prepare your foods properly, eat right, stay active, maybe even workout at a gym and be ready to stick with it. You’re all set, right?


Well, maybe there’s more to it. You could be forgetting about something that could help you to look and feel better. What about taking care of your skin? Now that you have invested in improving your quality of life by losing weight, it is important that you take care of the largest and one of the most important organs of your body. Keep in mind that your skin is most susceptible to hormonal and environmental changes during weight loss and is susceptible to dryness, sagging and early aging.


During your weight loss, you should take every precaution to maintain adequate nutritional intake. You should begin by maintaining adequate daily hydration. It is recommended that drinking at least eight 8 ounces of water per day promotes increased blood flow to the skin cells. The increased blood flow to the skin cells promotes increased oxygenation, which in turn provides healthier, more vibrant skin. In addition to hydration, it is important to eat foods which will support healthy living, especially maintaining healthy skin. A diet supported with an emphasis on high quality protein intake will encourage the development of collagens in the skin tissue. Collagens cells help support the skin tissue and minimizes sagging skin which usually accompanies significant weight loss. It is also important to adhere to the required dietary allowance of vitamins in your diet by taking your multivitamin and mineral supplement including your vitamin A, C, E, iron, biotin, and zinc which support skin, hair and nail growth and help to promote skin cell regeneration.


Another recommendation to care for your skin while losing weight is to maintain good hygiene. You should avoid bathing in extremely hot water which can cause excessive dryness of your skin. Generally, you should bath or shower daily with a moisturizing soap to remove impurities from the skin without leaving your skin dry. It important to apply moisturizing lotion/creams after bathing or showering which are high in emollients/lanolin and fortified with vitamin E to lock moisture in the skin. Massaging the skin is also helpful as it encourages increased circulation of oxygenated blood to the skin tissue, which promotes healthier more vibrant skin.


Last, but not least, are the things you should avoid such as tobacco use and excessive alcohol intake. Smoking reduces oxygenation to skin tissue, resulting in dull, dry and unhealthy skin, in addition to increasing susceptibility to cancers. Excessive alcohol intake reduces hydration as alcohol deprives the skin of hydration from water intake. Excessive consumption of alcohol also causes liver disease which reduces the organ’s ability to perform effectively, which could result in malabsorptive digestive disorders.