Just how much skin is too much skin for most people? The answer depends most significantly on the location of the skin. Excess skin around the face is going to look different from excess skin around the abdomen–and they’ll develop for different reasons. That said, what one considers to be “excess skin” or too much skin tends to be quite personal–and your surgeon can help you figure all that out.
How Much Skin is Too Much Skin?
It’s possible you’ve heard of the term “excess skin.” But how much skin is too much skin? When does skin become a problem? The answer to that question depends most significantly on the area of the body you’re talking about. In other words, what counts as excess skin is going to vary based on each part of the body.
The face may have a certain threshold for excess skin that’s considerably lower than what counts as excess skin on the abdomen, for example. The trick is that it can be quite difficult to tell what’s excess skin and what’s a normal amount of skin–especially if there are other variables in the mix.
That said, there are some common areas where excess skin tends to accumulate more often and in larger quantities. These are also areas where excess skin tends to simply be a little unflattering. So how much skin is too much skin in these areas? Let’s take a look at where we might draw the line.
Excess Skin in the Face
One of the most common areas that people tend to develop excess skin is around the face. For most people, this is simple a natural result of the aging process. Gravity exerts a continuous downward pressure on your face. At the same time, your skin loses elasticity as you age, reducing its ability to bounce back. Combined, these forces contribute to create a significant amount of excess skin around your face.
The downsides of this excess skin include:
- Lines and wrinkles around the face. These lines and wrinkles can make you appear older than you feel.
- Lines and wrinkles that become especially apparent around the eyes (the eyes are an especially problematic area where wrinkles tend to collect).
- Excess skin can droop in several places. This is, ultimately, what causes issues such as jowls. This drooping skin can be especially unflattering.
- Drooping skin around the eyes can actually interfere with your ability to see properly.
Eliminating excess skin around the face usually requires surgery. For these particular ailments, procedures such as facelift or blepharoplasty (eyelid lift) are usually recommended. The results of eliminating excess skin usually succeed in making the patient look more youthful and active.
Excess Skin of the Abdomen
When it comes to the abdomen, excess skin can often be difficult to detect. In part that’s because many people will assume that any excess tissue around the belly is simply fat. So it can be difficult when to say that a certain amount of excess skin is “too much.” However, most surgeons will tell you that when you can grab more than an inch of excess skin from your belly, you’re a good candidate for surgery.
The surgery employed to address excess skin of the belly is called a “tummy tuck.” During a tummy tuck, surgeons will mitigate excess skin and add a bit of extra structure to the abdominal muscles (where necessary).
The results of a tummy tuck generally aim to:
- Help patients look more slender and fit
- Help patients restore confidence after weight loss or pregnancy
- Add structure to the abdominal muscles, so the abdomen overall looks more fit
The success of a tummy tuck generally depends mostly on the amount of excess skin that surgeons are able to remove, in addition to the contouring surgeons are able to perform around the area.
Why Do We Want to Eliminate Excess Skin?
So how much skin is actually too much? Usually, when it starts to look like something you’re not happy with. Around the face, this means the creation of lines and wrinkles. Sometimes it can mean skin that hangs over your jawline. Around your abdomen, it can mean excess tissue that behaves much like fat.
In both cases, patients typically feel quite uncomfortable with the way the excess skin looks and feels. Patients often desire to remove that excess skin (sometimes to achieve other goals as well, such as appearing more youthful). The point is that, typically, excess skin only becomes a problem when it interferes with how you tend to think about yourself.
Too much skin is only too much skin when it’s too much skin for you, no matter where it happens to be located.