Is This Loose Skin or Fat? (Photos)

Hello, I've been working out for the past 2 years, with a clean diet (junk food 1-2 days a week). I weigh 157lbs, body fat % measure via calipers is 9%, i'm a 21 yearold male. My forearms, and everywhere else is really tiny (which makes me think that my bodyfat is 9% (but stomach says otherwise). I can pull out my stomach skin really, really far. I want to know if I should keep going how I am (weight training) and eventually will clear up? Or do I need some surgical procedure (If so, which one)

Doctor Answers 4

It is loose skin

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Your pictures show very loose skin, minimal fat.  It is likely that you have abnormal elasticity as mentioned by others in response to your questions.  If this has not been brought to your attention before, talk your family doctor to make sure your overall health is good.

Loose Skin

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Congratulation on your fitness.

Unless you have lost massive amounts of weight this is most certainly Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. That is an abnormality of collagen and connective tissue causing this hyperelasticity. 

Patients with this syndrome have a full life expectancy, but may have some medical issues one of which is likelihood of difficulty healing wounds which adds significant risk to an elective operation with a very large incision. 

I would bet that if you weren't pulling on the skin that there would be no visual abnormality, which also makes it hard to recommend surgery. If everything worked out well you would probably look the same, have a huge scar, but the skin wouldn't be as loose. 

Best advice--see your primary physician.

Thanks, best wishes.


Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Loose Skin

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Without seeing you in person, it is impossible to give you specific answers.  However, based on your pictures, it appears that you have a skin issue and not a fat issue.  Exercise is not going to tighten that skin.  Non-invasive procedures are not going to tighten that skin.  We would really need to see a picture without you pinching your skin.  If you have loose skin at rest, then an abdominoplasty will likely be your best answer.


Good luck.

Loose Skin

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A picture at rest would help the most.  Based on the pictures you have posted, I don't think you need any surgery.  I do wonder if you have a variant of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, as your skin appears to stretch out quite a bit.  

Don't freak out - more than likely you're just at the extreme end of normal variation in terms of skin elasticity.  You may want to see a physician to look into this, however. 

Warmest Regards,

Asif Pirani, MD, FRCS(C)

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.