Cellulite, or that bumpy dimpled looking skin, is pretty familiar to most women. In fact, according to dermatologist Dr. Benabio, 98 percent of all women and girls past puberty have it.
Cellulite is caused by irregular deposits of fatty tissue in the connective tissue layer under the skin.
Cellulite is not like regular fat, though being overweight can make it look worse. You can be skinny and still have cellulite.
It is really how the fat is loosely held in the tissue of women that gives it that lumpy look. In men, fat is held more tightly together so men usually do not have cellulite. Plus, female hormones contribute to the development of cellulite along with heredity, skin thickness and age.
What can you about cellulite?
Numerous treatments to reduce cellulite can be tried but according to Dr. Benabio, “the best treatments for cellulite have at most shown mild improvements in the appearance. Unfortunately, in almost all cases, the improvements are not maintained over time.”
Various creams that contain chemicals called methylxanthines such as caffeine and aminophylline have the potential to break down fat stores. However, the creams do not have a high enough concentration or ability to penetrate deeply enough in the skin to reach the cellulite.
According to Medicinenet, studies have shown only small reductions of cellulite.
Some products contain a variety of ingredients that claim to boost metabolism and circulation. Medicine.net says there are no valid clinical studies to support the use of supplements for the treatment of cellulite.
Additionally, these products are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since they are sold as dietary supplements. It is important to be careful when taking them to avoid health risks or interaction with other medications.
There is a special massaging machine developed in France called Endermologie that uses rollers and a suction system to knead the tissue and in theory release the cellulite fat deposits.
You can see a photo here.
Treatments are expensive and 10-12 are needed to see any improvement. The FDA has approved the Endermologie for the temporary improvement of cellulite but Medicine.net reports that the effects are temporary, as the machine just seems to redistribute the fat rather than actually alter it. Maintenance visits are also needed.
These treatments are even more expensive than Endermologie and similarly require continued maintenance treatments.
• Mesotherapy Injections:
Certain drugs have been used off-label, injected into the cellulite tissue to reduce their appearance. They may include various herbs and vitamins.
Dr. Benabio warns that “although it has worked for some, the results are unpredictable and can cause adverse side effects such as bruising or pain.”
Removing fat using liposuction may actually make cellulite appear worse by removing the underlayer of fat that cellulite is cushioned against. Dimpling may appear worse after liposuction, so is not recommended indicated Medicine.net.
Overall, maintaining a normal weight, eating a nutritious diet and practicing regular exercise go a long way in making us healthier and feel better about how we look.
We may still have cellulite, but it is hard to fight female genetics. Spending money and time on treatments that are only temporary doesn’t make much sense.
Cellulite. MedicineNet.com. Web. Apr. 29, 2012.
Cellulite: What Is It? How Can You Treat It?. Digital Doctor. Web. Apr. 29, 2012.
Is There a Cure for Cellullite? Digital Doctor. Web. Apr. 29, 2012.
Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues. Other articles by Michele are at www.helium.com/users/487540/show_articles/
Edited by Jody Smith