Wave Bye-Bye to “Bye-Bye Arms”
OK, I’m mildly fascinated by what’s going on under my arms. Some people call it “bat wing” arm, but I prefer bye-bye arms (as they keep waving long after I do).
People of every size have this issue and I’m pretty sure gravity is to blame. Damn you gravity — you truly think keeping us from floating out into space is a fair trade for the folds, sags and wrinkles you cause?
Since we’re probably not going to fix the gravity problem, and it’s a big one, I’m focusing on how to fix the under arm sag. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who wants answers, considering upper arm lifts have jumped a whopping 4,378% in the past decade. So, here are the options to get you closer to your inner and outer Jennifer Aniston. (She’s my “arm crush” so of course, you can have your own. May I suggest Kelly Ripa, Michelle Obama, or Julia Louis-Dreyfus?)
Push the Reset Button: Brachioplasty, AKA upper arm lift. This is an invasive procedure where loose skin is trimmed from your under arm area and fat may be liposuctioned out. This should be reserved for those who have lost a substantial amount of weight, (like 80lbs or more). People who’ve lost 10-30 pounds or have some moderate sagging should probably not be using a surgical procedure to tone. The posterior scar brachioplasty or short scar brachioplasty are good options in this case.
If you have mild to moderate sag, you know, the kind that leaves your upper arms waving goodbye long after your guest has departed, you’ll probably want to look into the options below:
Suck it to me: Liposuction, specifically, SmartLipo. This method uses a small cannula and targeted laser to melt and suction out the fat — then a laser tip is passed over the area to tighten the skin from the inside. One treatment is often sufficient. Scarring is barely visible: the patient is awake during the procedure and can return to work the next day.
Don’t go running off to your doctor just yet because there are more options that are even less invasive. I’d say lift your arms to cheer, but that would just be depressing.
Chill out Batwoman: Coolsculpting. If one of the current Coolsculpting heads fits your upper arm area and you have a bit of fat volume to lose, but overall good elasticity, this could be a great option. Though there is not a specific arm head available, Zeltiq says it’s working on one. The procedure takes about an hour for each arm and isn’t painful. There’s no downtime and you can return to work the next day.
Turn up the Radio — Frequency: Thermage, Exilis, Venus Freeze and ultrasound frequency options like Ulthera. These devices use different frequencies and magnetic pulses to destroy fat cells and stimulate collagen. These options are perfect for people like me, who have minimal fat to lose, but need skin tightening for sag. There's no downtime and patients report a warm sensation. Patients have been known to see a decrease in the circumference of their arms and there’s no worry about nerve damage or numbness.
Work for it: Oh, I said it — EXERCISE! Though exercise does not tighten loose skin, it builds muscle and defines it more if there is little fat under the skin. The end result is toned arms. Once you’ve toned up, you can see what you have left to deal with. I’ve put together a list of the best exercises to tone under arms based on studies using EMG (electromagnetic) electrodes. They show which exercises produce the most muscle response and are therefore the most effective at toning.