Does losing weight make your skin lighter or darker? What kind of changes can you see when it comes to your skin and weight loss or weight gain?
Weight loss does not directly affect the color of your skin or skin tone, and there currently is no research to support weight loss making your skin tone lighter.
However, there are many other changes that can occur to our skin as we lose weight or even gain weight.
There are also many changes that could occur with skin as you increase your percentages of healthy vitamin rich foods without even knowing it.
Let’s take a look.
Does Losing Weight Make Your Skin Lighter?
Losing weight does not make your skin lighter, because skin tone has no direct correlation with the amount of body fat contained under the skin layer.
Skin tone is determined by the amount of melanin, which is a pigment that gives skin its color.
The more melanin you have, the darker your skin will be. The less melanin you have, the lighter the skin will be.
Losing weight does not affect melanin production or distribution in the body, so it will not lighten your skin tone.
How Does Our Skin Get Its Color?
Our skin gets its color due to a pigment called melanin. Melanin is produced by cells in the skin called melanocytes in a process called melanogenesis.
The more melanocytes you have, the more melanin your skin will produce, and the darker your skin will be.
Some individuals have too much melanin in their skin, which causes their skin to be hyperpigmented.
This hyperpigmentation may cause some areas of the skin to appear darker than others or even blotchy looking in appearance.
On the other hand, someone with too little melanin can have hypopigmented skin.
These hypopigmented areas can be lighter than the surrounding areas, which can make those suffering from this self conscious of their skin.
Genetics also plays a role in the color of our skin and is mostly regulated by an enzyme called tyrosinase.
Individuals with darker skin tones have up to ten times more tyrosinase activity than those with lighter, paler skin tones.
Also, if you have parents or grandparents with dark skin, it’s likely that you will also have dark skin, but there is also a chance that you will not.
The same goes for people who are extremely pale and burn easily in the sun.
If one or both parents burns easily in the sun and is extremely pale, there is a high chance you will too.
However, if one parent has a darker skin tone and is less likely to burn and the other parent is very pale and burns easily, there is a chance you could inherit a mixture of the two.
Basically, when it comes to genetics, you never know what you are going to get from each parent, or their parents before them.
There is actually a strong link between skin tone and skin conditions and genetics.
For example, if your parents have freckles, there is a higher chance that you will have freckles as well.
The same goes for moles, vitiligo, and other skin conditions. Many skin conditions are genetic and can be passed down from generation to generation, such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
Does Losing Weight Make Your Skin Darker?
Your skin will not become darker just from losing weight just as your skin will not become lighter by losing weight.
Skin tone is determined by the amount of melanin in your skin, and weight loss does not affect melanin production or distribution.
There is simply no evidence available to show a correlation between a decreased amount of body fat and melanin production or distribution throughout the skin.
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However, obesity is often associated with insulin resistance, which can cause darkened areas to appear on the skin called acanthosis nigricans, however this does not occur in every obese individual and will not cause all over darkening of the skin.
If you feel your skin tone has lightened or even darkened as a result of weight loss, it may actually be that you are seeing some other changes that have occurred that may be giving the illusion of lighter or darker skin tone after weight loss.
Skin Changes That Occur With Weight Loss or Gain
Your skin tone does not change due to losing body fat underneath, but there are many other skin changes that can occur with weight loss or weight gain.
Your skin is amazing, and has the ability to expand and shrink as your body composition changes.
These changes are due to collagen and elastin.
The Role of Collagen and Elastin
Collagen are simply proteins that provide structure to the skin, and elastin is responsible for the elasticity of skin.
If you have ever gained or lost a lot of weight, you may have noticed that your skin does not always snap back into place as quickly as the rest of your body does.
This is because when you gain weight, your skin stretches to accommodate the additional fat underneath, but when you lose weight, the skin has a harder time with conforming to this new shape.
This is a reason why it is always a better idea to lose weight at a slower pace, so that you can give your skin ample time to adequately adapt to the changes you are making.
When gaining weight, the stretching of the skin can cause stretch marks, which are markings on the skin that appear as raised, red lines.
Stretch marks are not easy to get rid of, and more than likely they are permanent, but they do have the ability to fade over time and can end up being a lot less noticeable.
As someone who has gained and lose an extreme amount of weight, I can definitely say that stretch marks are no fun, but the good news is that over time, they do become lighter and a lot less apparent.
What happens when we try to lose weight? We change our diet.
Usually when we change the types of foods we are eating, we can increase healthy foods which can have an impact on skin health.
While losing body fat in itself will not cause changes to your skin color, and increase in healthy nutrients from foods can do wonders for your skin.
The following vitamins are essential to skin health and if you have been increasing amounts of these vitamins in your diet, you could potentially see an increase in skin glow:
- Vitamins A, B5, C, D, and E
- Omega 3’s
When you change the types of foods you eat and switch from unhealthy foods to more healthier foods, you could be including a higher percentage of these vitamins in your daily intake without even knowing it!
Increased Water Intake
If you are increasing the amount of water you are drinking, there is a high chance that you will see benefits of healthier skin.
Adequate daily water intake is important, and if you are staying hydrated, you could potentially see an increase in skin elasticity and overall hydration, which can make your skin appear to have a healthier “glow.”
If you are wondering if losing weight has the ability to make your skin appear lighter, it may upset you to know that weight loss has no direct impact on melanin production.
Genetics, exposure to the sun, and your race are mostly responsible for your skin tone, not the loss of fat underneath.
However, with weight loss likely comes changes to the types of foods you are eating.
If you are making changes to your diet and including healthier foods such as healthy Omega 3’s and certain vitamins, your skin can definitely reap the benefits.
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Here is a list of frequently asked questions regarding weight loss and skin tone.
Does Gaining Weight Make Your Skin Lighter?
Just like losing weight does not make your skin lighter, gaining weight will also not make your skin change color and become lighter, because melanin is responsible for skin tone, not fat cells underneath the skin layer.
Does Fat Make Your Skin Dark?
Fat does not make your skin dark. Melanin is what is responsible for your skin tone. The percentage of body fat under the skin has no direct link to how dark your skin currently is.
However, obesity is associated with high incidences of insulin resistance, which can cause dark spots to form on the skin called acanthosis nigricans.
Does Skin Hyperpigmentation Go Away With Weight Loss?
Losing weight in itself is not likely to remedy skin hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation, but there is a good chance that when you are actively trying to lose weight, the changes in your diet may improve certain skin conditions.