So you just had your baby and you’re anxious to get your pre-pregnancy body back. But when you look in the mirror, you still see folds of skin on your belly, waist, and upper arms. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Loose skin after pregnancy is a challenge that many new moms face.

Eventually, your body will work to revitalize itself, but there are steps you can take to speed up the recovery process.

To help you achieve a speedy recovery, we’ve created a guide detailing the best ways to restore, rejuvenate, and tighten loose skin after pregnancy so you can get back to your pre-baby body in no time.

14 Ways To Tighten Loose Skin After Pregnancy

ways to tighten loose skin after pregnancy

1) Minimize Stretch Marks While You’re Pregnant

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s certainly true when it comes to rejuvenating loose skin after pregnancy.

Following the same steps that will help you minimize the appearance of stretch marks during the first nine months of your pregnancy will go a long way toward keeping your skin tight after your baby is born.

We recommend a product like Mustela's Stretch Marks Cream or Stretch Marks Oil. Both products work to nourish the skin on your hips, thighs, stomach, and bust so that your skin can naturally expand and stretch without scarring.

The increased elasticity these products provide makes it much easier for the skin to regain its normal shape after your baby is born.

2) Eat Healthy To Improve Skin Elasticity

Your skin gets the nutrients it needs to maintain its elasticity from the foods you eat.

Unfortunately for your skin, it’s one of the last organs to receive vitamins and minerals. If you don’t get enough nutrients, your skin will become deprived of what it needs to stay soft and resilient.

To promote elasticity and tighten loose skin after pregnancy, eat a healthy diet including plenty of fruits, vegetables, fats, and lean protein. The vitamins and minerals in a well-balanced diet will contribute to the flexibility and health of your skin. This flexibility can help your skin return to normal after your baby is born.

Fruits and vegetables like broccoli, strawberries, and spinach provide vitamins C and A along with other healthy nutrients and minerals.

Vitamin C is essential for collagen production which gives your skin its firmness. Vitamin A acts as a humectant, drawing water to the surface where the moisture helps your skin remain supple.

Healthy fats like sunflower seeds, almonds, and hazelnuts contribute vitamin E and other antioxidants that work to eradicate toxins and free radicals. Lean protein like fish, chicken, and turkey supplies your body with vitamin D, which contributes to your skin’s ability to stretch.

3) Lose Weight Slowly

loose weight slowly to tighten loose skin after pregnancy

After your baby is born, you may be super excited to lose the weight you’ve gained over the past nine months. Keep in mind, though, that losing weight too quickly can make the problem of loose skin even worse.

If you shed weight too fast, you will lose both fat and muscle. Losing muscle robs your body of its ability to maintain a tight, toned shape. Less muscle also reduces your metabolism and makes it more difficult to lose weight further down the road.

Whether you do cardio, yoga, or some other type of exercise, aim to lose one to two pounds per week. That rate of weight loss makes for a much healthier body and is sustainable over the long term. It may not seem like much at first, but it will add up over time.

4) Reduce Stretch Marks After Pregnancy

Woman applying Mustela's Stretch Marks Serum on pregnant belly

If you’ve worked to reduce stretch marks during your pregnancy, you’re well-prepared to combat loose skin postpartum. That said, you may still have to deal with small lines and skin discolorations after your baby is born.

Don’t get disheartened, though. All the work that you put into minimizing stretch marks while you were pregnant will make your recovery a lot easier.

In the months after your baby is born, your hormones will change again like they did when you first got pregnant. The chemistry in your skin will change too. Because of these changes, what worked for you while you were pregnant might not work after you give birth.

That’s why you need a product like Mustela's Stretch Marks Serum that is specially formulated to moisturize postpartum skin in order to help minimize the appearance of recently formed stretch marks, while also giving your skin a plump look and feel.

Ingredients like avocado peptides and Elastoregulator® will improve your skin’s elasticity and leave it feeling soft, supple, and comfortable.

5) Stay Hydrated

Tightening loose skin after pregnancy is all about promoting and maintaining elasticity. That elasticity depends, in large part, on staying hydrated. And the only way to stay hydrated properly is to drink at least eight cups of water every day.

In addition to keeping your skin elastic, drinking water helps your body burn calories and reduces water retention in your abdomen. All these things together can make the appearance of loose skin less noticeable.

6) Apply A Skin-Firming Product Every Day

Pregnant woman using Mustela product

The firmness of your skin depends, in large part, on the underlying muscle. The muscle provides support and works to pull the skin tight. That’s why it’s so important to strengthen those muscles with exercise.

But you can also increase skin tone by working from the outside in. The best way to do this is to apply a skin-firming product like Mustela's Body Firming Gel or Bust Firming Serum. The natural ingredients in these products work together to supercharge rejuvenation and recovery.

For example, centella asiatica increases tone and improves firmness of loose skin. Peptides promote elasticity and relieve tightness caused by stretching. Sophora japonica helps to visibly remodel body contours after childbirth.

We recommend massaging the firming gel or serum into your stomach, hips, thighs, and bust twice a day. Do this for one month to help rejuvenate and tighten loose skin after pregnancy.

7) Breastfeed Your Baby

Breastfeeding benefits both you and your baby. Breast milk is an extremely healthy source of nutrition for newborns. It helps them grow physically and mentally and keeps their immune system functioning at 100%.

Breastfeeding your little one also helps you lose weight and tighten loose skin after pregnancy. When you breastfeed, your body uses a larger portion of the calories you consume every day to make milk.

As a result, your body stores fewer calories as fat and may even dip into your existing body fat to keep milk production up.

That’s great news for new moms because it means that you can lose weight faster and tighten loose skin after pregnancy just by doing what comes naturally.

8) Exfoliate Your Skin

Exfoliating is the process of removing dead cells from the surface of your skin. This promotes new skin growth, which is, by nature, healthier and tighter than old surface skin.

Exfoliating also improves blood circulation to the surface layers of your skin, which increases skin regeneration and promotes elasticity. All of these benefits help to tighten loose skin after pregnancy.

You may already exfoliate your face and neck as part of your daily skincare routine. But the easiest way to exfoliate loose skin is to grab a loofah or bath brush during your shower and give a bit of extra attention to your belly and thighs.

You can also dry-brush loose skin before your shower when your skin is firmer, but be gentle or you may actually damage the skin you’re trying to heal.

9) Maintain A Healthy State Of Mind

meditation to relax and tighten loose skin after pregnancy

It’s definitely frustrating when you’re trying to tighten loose skin after pregnancy and results don’t come as quickly as you’d like. But don’t give up. Stay calm and maintain a healthy state of mind. You’ll get there eventually.

Here are some tips for finding your best mental state:

  • Remind yourself to be patient — your body just went through a significant trauma
  • Practice deep breathing when you feel yourself getting frustrated
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Enjoy the outdoors as much as you can
  • Play with your baby
  • Focus on making your newborn as happy and as comfortable as possible
  • Nap when your baby naps so you don’t exhaust yourself
  • Meditate

Prioritizing your mental and emotional well-being will contribute to all of the physical work necessary to tighten loose skin after pregnancy.

10) Try Skin Wraps

If you need a quick fix for a special occasion, try a skin wrap at your local spa. Skin wraps contain ingredients like:

  • Powdered kelp
  • Sea salt
  • Clay
  • Nourishing oils
  • Algae
  • Minerals

These spa treatments also detoxify your skin and help you relax and reduce stress. But they are only temporary — they aren’t a permanent way to tighten loose skin after pregnancy.

11) Add Strength Training To Your Exercise Routine

Mom lifting exercising with baby to tighten loose skin after pregnancy

Losing weight slowly and repairing elasticity are great ways to reduce loose skin after pregnancy. But removing fat and tightening skin only go so far. You also need to add muscle mass to “fill up” the space in your skin.

To maintain muscle tone while losing weight, we suggest incorporating weight training into your exercise routine.

Don’t worry, you won’t bulk up like the boys do! For women, weight training has more of a tightening effect, which is exactly what you’re looking for when dealing with loose skin.

There are plenty of effective options for strength training — including dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, and even bodyweight exercises — so find a method that you enjoy and get to lifting.

When you’re first starting out, resist the urge to go heavy right away. Your body has been through a trauma of sorts and needs time to recover. Use light weights at first — or even just your own body weight — and increase gradually over several months.

It’s better to play it safe than to risk an injury that might prevent you from losing the weight you want and rejuvenating your loose skin after pregnancy.

12) Take A Collagen Supplement

Woman taking a Collagen Supplement  to help with loose skin after pregnancy

Collagen is the main structural protein in your skin and other connective tissue. It, therefore, plays an important role in rejuvenating loose skin after pregnancy.

You get collagen in your diet when you eat protein — beef, chicken, pork, fish, and some vegetables and grains — but you may not ingest enough to provide your skin with the amount it needs to heal.

To ensure that your body gets the right amount of this protein every day, you can add a collagen supplement to your diet.

If you’re breastfeeding and are worried about how collagen will affect your milk supply, rest easy. Collagen is made up of amino acids that occur naturally in your body. Because of that, your body — and your baby’s body — is very familiar with digesting and metabolizing this nutrient.

Additionally, collagen is just protein, so adding a supplement would be like eating a high-protein diet — it won’t have a negative effect on your breastfeeding.

If you choose to add a collagen supplement to your diet, start small and work your way up to the recommended daily allowance for postpartum nutrition.

13) Include Beta-Carotene In Your Diet

The healthy diet we outlined earlier is a good all-around way to rejuvenate loose skin after pregnancy. But, like taking a collagen supplement, you can also add other vitamins and minerals to your diet to boost your skin’s elasticity.

Case in point: beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a red-orange pigment found in plants and fruits such as carrots, broccoli, grapefruit, and apricots. Your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which is important for...healthy skin!

So if you’re in the process of treating your loose skin, add beta-carotene to your diet — either by eating more beta-carotene-rich foods or taking a supplement — to ensure your body has the vitamin A it needs to repair itself properly.

One of the many nice things about beta-carotene — especially for nursing mothers — is that your body only converts what it needs. The rest is processed out of your system. You can rest easy that the beta-carotene supplement you take won’t harm your baby in any way.

That said, start with small doses and increase slowly up to the recommended daily allowance for postpartum, nursing mothers.

14) Get Plenty Of Sleep

woman sleeping

After giving birth, your body uses a lot of its resources and energy to repair itself and get things back to normal (including your loose skin). To ensure that your body has what it needs to bring you back to your pre-baby form, it’s important to get plenty of sleep.

Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. When your precious little one first comes home, it can be difficult to find time to relax and get the sleep you need.

Here are some suggestions that will help you fall asleep faster and stay that way longer:

  • Avoid caffeine after lunch
  • Make your room as dark as possible
  • Choose the right mattress
  • Keep your room cool

For more tips on how to sleep better — before, during, and after your pregnancy — check out Mustela’s article 13 Ways To Sleep Better While Pregnant.

Get Into A Routine

After your newborn arrives, the bulk of your time will be devoted to them. But you can still find a few minutes here and there for yourself.

Use that time to create a skin care routine from the tips on this list to help you tighten loose skin after pregnancy. Soon, you’ll feel great and your body will be back into the shape you love!