How To Get Rid Of Bingo Wings And Achieve Toner, More Sculpted Arms

Amaris B.

Archive Date:

August 2, 2019

The key to getting rid of bingo wings is to lose body fat at the arm area. But do you know what can truly help with targeted fat reduction?

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Blog last updated on:

January 4, 2023

We all know about the unflattering 'bingo wings'. They are loose flesh that hangs from the upper arms and wobbles as we move our arms around. They are the reason we shy away from sleeveless tops and why we always pose with our hands on our waist for photos.

Put your arms to form an L, shake them – what do you see? If the underside of your arms are jiggling and you're bothered by it, it's probably time to start doing something about this pesky feature.

Dr. Ivan Puah, medical director of Amaris B. Clinic, who has been performing body sculpting procedures for more than 15 years, explains more about bingo wings and how to get rid of them.

So, what are ‘bingo wings’?

As mentioned, bingo wings are loose flesh. The areas affected are under the triceps, on the upper arm. When the arms are raised, they tend to jiggle and become visibly noticeable. This often leads to an overwhelming sense of self-consciousness among people who have them - in both men and women, which can dent self-confidence.

An example of how bingo wings can come about is drastic weight loss, where the weight is lost so quickly that it didn't have time to shrink back to its previous size. As creatures of vanity, we do tend to be self-conscious of our appearance, always minding or worrying over problematic areas like the thighs and stomach, for example. Still, a study showed that three in four women are more concerned about their arms than other parts.

How do ‘bingo wings’ form?

The lack of muscle definition in areas where loose skin and fat reside can result in bingo wings. The areas under the arms are most susceptible to fat growth hence its common appearance thereabouts. Genetic predisposition is also a common cause, as with other factors such as ageing.

As we age, our skin loses its elasticity, and things start to sag. This happens to the skin on all our body parts, but it is more evident in specific areas such as the underarms. The perception that bingo wings only happen to overweight people, for example, is a myth - it can happen to anyone even if the individual is seemingly healthy. The reason is that they are essentially stubborn fat.

Six specific types of bingo wings

Rich Jones, a Personal Trainer, said to Daily Mail that there are different types of bingo wings and the SIX specific ones are:

“Classic” Bingo Wings (left) - These are commonly found on women whose upper arms lack tone and definition.

“Rump Lumps” (right) - These get their name from their appearance which is akin to a “small backside” and caused by extra weight that reside at the top of the arms and on the pectoral muscles.

The “Double Chubble” (left) - This is when there is a bingo wing on top of another and commonly found in highly overweight women.

“Jabba Flabba” (right) - Coined after “Jabba the Hutt”, a character from Star Wars the movie. This is the presence of rolls of fat that extends from the wrist to the upper arms, much like the appearance of the character it is named after.

“Arm Charms” (above) - Don’t be deceived by the name, it is anything but charming. Arm charms are basically the loose skin that came about as a result of a huge weight loss. This is also a common cause as people become more self-conscious about their physique and in seeking to look better; go about it perhaps the wrong way.

“Chap Flap” - Men do get it as well and typically this happens when they put on weight.

Images courtesy of Daily Mail articles here and here.

What you may already be doing that are unlikely to reduce bingo wings

Loading up on fibre and protein in your diet

Fibres and proteins may give your body a sense of satiety, managing your appetite and help you control your diet better, but this can only help you achieve overall weight loss. You can certainly keep up with this diet plan if your goal is weight loss, but it's not going to target stubborn fat tissues around your arms.

Working out

Cardio or strength training? Or are you doing arm exercises in a bid to reduce the appearance of bingo wings?

Unfortunately, these will not translate to targeted fat loss too.

A fitness plan involving cardio and strength-training is probably the best way to achieve weight loss and reduce overall body fat percentage. This can help you achieve leaner muscles, but you're likely to still find your stubborn areas more wobbly than the rest of your body.

Getting sufficient sleep

There are several reasons why adequate sleep is good for health. Our body repairs itself when we're sleeping, which is crucial if you want to ensure better wellness and healthier skin.

It seems like scientists are also drawing the link between having a sufficient sleep and improving metabolism. Studies show that cortisol (also known as the "stress hormone") spikes when you're not having enough rest.

When this happens, your body is instructed by the hormone to conserve energy by holding on to fat. Adequate sleep helps to balance your body's hormones, improving metabolism and regulating unhealthy food cravings.

Of course, this means that you should turn in early and get that beauty rest that you need, but if you're hoping that it'll help you lose those bingo wings – let's just say it's a fat hope.

Why is arm fat a much bigger problem in women than men?

Women, on average, have 6 to 11 percent more body fat than men. The likely reason behind this is to prime a woman’s body for childbearing, but it also means that women will find it more challenging to lose fat in areas where stubborn fat resides, like the arms. When it comes to fat gain, you can gain fat anywhere where fat cells are in abundance.

The testosterone hormone may be more commonly associated with men, but women do have them as well. It supports the body’s ability to build muscle and energy, among others. When testosterone level drops, your body may be more inclined to store fat while resisting the need to build muscles, and this excess fat will show in areas like the arms. Stress, lack of sleep and unhealthy lifestyle habits are just some contributing factors to plummeting testosterone levels.

Why can’t dieting, exercising, and sleeping more help get rid of bingo wings?

Dr. Puah says that dieting, exercising, and adequate rest can help lose weight or reduce overall body fat percentage. These are essential activities to achieve general health and wellness. However, they're not useful when it comes to targeted fat reduction or body shaping.

"When one loses weight, one loses fat and other tissues indiscriminately," he explains.

"Based on each individual's genetic predisposition, susceptible areas may lose more tissues while stubborn ones would see less obvious results."

In other words, if your stubborn fat area is around your arms, losing weight will not help make that particular area look better or more proportionate compared to the rest of the body.

Bingo wings reduction with fat freezing/cryolipolysis

Fat Freezing, or cryolipolysis, is a popular treatment among those looking for non-surgical fat reduction solutions.

Fat Freezing works by delivering a precise, controlled cooling technology onto targeted areas to freeze fat cells underneath the skin while leaving the skin unaffected. Frozen fat cells die and are naturally metabolised by the body.

While some have achieved optimal results from fat freezing, some unlucky ones end up suffering from a little known side effect called Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia (PAH). PAH is a side effect, albeit rare, of fat freezing treatment. Those who suffer from PAH will notice that the treated area gets more prominent weeks after the treatment. The affected mass is usually large, well-demarcated, and slightly tender. This effect doesn't just feel uncomfortable but looks bad too.

This is a risk that many patients are unaware of, but it appears to be getting quite common (this could be because there have been more reports in the last few years).

Dr. Ivan Puah from Amaris B. Clinic shares his experience in treating patients who suffered from PAH. He shares his story:

"I was assessing a young lady who had fat freezing, also known as cryolipolysis, on both arms eight years ago, presented with disproportionately enlarged fat 'lumps' on both her treated areas soon after. The fat' lumps' had grown in size over the past years, making her arms look rather strange. It had affected her so much that she dared not wear any short-sleeved or sleeveless attire all these years.
I still remember another patient who suffered from PAH who came with his father for consultation not too long ago. During the consultation, his father mentioned that he was distraught with guilt since his son developed this condition a few years ago, as he was the one that brought him for the fat freezing treatment. His son suffered from depression after that. He blamed himself ever since."

Unfortunately, PAH, once developed, is permanent and can only be treated with liposuction.

How is bingo wing liposuction performed?

Stubborn fat is notorious for apt reasons, and one of them being that they are hard to rid off. This is where VASER Liposuction (VASER Lipo) comes in.

VASER Lipo is an improved version of liposuction. It employs ultrasound wave technology to liquefy fat, effectively removing stubborn fat. Performed under local anaesthesia, it is also safe to remove fat on targeted areas without causing harm to surround connective tissues. This makes it ideal for most notably for the rising number of people seeking treatment for bingo wings, as experienced by Dr Puah. Additionally, Dr Puah has developed the MDC-Lipo Sculpt® approach for patients, removing fat and sculpting the body according to a patient's needs.

Aside from removing fat tissues, VASER Lipo can also stimulate collagen production, which tightens skin for a more youthful appearance. For the arms, it results in a more toned appearance. Perhaps most appealing is that VASER Lipo is a one-time procedure with minimal pain and discomfort compared to traditional liposuction. Results can be maintained with a healthy diet and lifestyle.

It is important to note that only doctors accredited by the Singapore Ministry of Health are allowed to perform liposuction in Singapore.

‍Am I a suitable candidate for liposuction of bingo wings?

You are suitable if you:

• Are 18 years or older

• Are physically and mentally healthy

• Do not have underlying medical condition

• Fulfil the BMI criteria set by MOH Singapore

• Have excess fat on the underside of the arms which you are wanting to remove

• Have reasonable skin laxity

The most important thing to bear in mind is to have reasonable expectations of the results that VASER Lipo can achieve. This should be discussed with your doctor who is in the best position to advise.

What can I expect during the recovery period?

Some swelling and bruising can be expected post-procedure. To reduce the swelling, a compression garment will have to be worn for the duration as recommended by your doctor.

Taking time off from work may be also recommended, the duration of which varies with the individual. Typically it is between TWO to THREE days but those who work in physically demanding environments involving heavy lifting for example, may be recommended to take longer time off from work.  Strenuous physical activities like exercise, should also be avoided for at least TWO weeks to facilitate quicker and safer recovery.

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