Skin-Care Tips

How to treat cellulite (and why there is no real cure)


CEllulitis occurs on the body as often as freckles, acne and stretch marks. To read: highly… Experts estimate that roughly 90 percent of women have it, regardless of weight, diet, or activity level. “Cellulite is not considered a skin disease or abnormality in a dermatology textbook,” says Dandy Engelman, MD, board-certified dermatologist. Instead, she says it’s biologically how women’s bodies exist because of the complex network of tissues, fascia and fat cells under the skin.

While this condition is relatively rare in men because the fibrous septa – the connective tissue that connects muscle and skin – has a stronger cross-pattern, in women the fibrous septa run perpendicularly, which simply allows the skin to have more dimples. It is important to note that there is no proven “cure” for cellulite because it will require changes in the biological structures of the body. However, there are a number of cellulite-smoothing solutions you can choose from (if you like), from creams and home remedies to more advanced office treatments.

What is cellulite?

You can recognize cellulite by the dimples, bumps that usually appear on the legs, buttocks, abdomen, and thighs. But, unlike stretch marks (which occur when the skin literally stretches) or acne (which can happen in both teens and adults – clogged pores cannot be distinguished), cellulite manifests itself for no particular reason.

While it is generally considered a topical medical condition, cellulite is actually related to what happens below the surface. As briefly mentioned above, Ann Chapas, M.D., board-certified dermatologist at Union Square’s Laser Dermatology Unit in New York, compares the tissue complex to a mattress with fibrous septa connecting to the deeper layers of the fascia beneath the surface that provide the top layer of skin support. “As the belts get tighter, they push the grease to the surface, so you get an uneven, uneven look,” she says. This happens for three main reasons.

As you age, your skin loses collagen (this starts at age 25), as it also slows down collagen production, which leads to skin thinning and elasticity. “So when you have a loss of collagen in your legs, the fat behind the fibrous bands becomes more visible,” says Dr. Chapas. Circulatory problems can also lead to cellulite because the skin is not getting the oxygen and nutrients it needs. “[Once the skin has thinned]”People with varicose veins or circulation problems are generally more likely to suffer from cellulite.”

Secondly, hormonal changes also play a role in the appearance of cellulite. “Fat is very sensitive to estrogen, so when we are premenstrual or fluctuating in estrogen levels, these hormone-sensitive tissues react,” says Dr. Engelman. Contraception or pregnancy can cause physical changes in your body, including cellulite, as fluctuations in hormones affect the size and structure of your fat cells. “Fat is like breast tissue — you get soreness or swelling in your breasts when you’re about to have your period, and so does cellulite. Sometimes it seems less obvious than others. ”

Finally, while cellulite can affect people of any weight, weight fluctuations can affect how severely it appears on your body. “When we gain weight in adulthood, the fat cells get larger, so if you swell this fat layer, the dimple will be more visible,” says Dr. Engelman. Fun fact: you are born with all the fat cells you will have throughout your life, and they swell and shrink like balloons. When fat cells expand next to tough fibrous bands, it can cause dimples in the skin, point is basic biology.

Numerous Cellulite Treatments

While an increasing number of women are working to normalize cellulite (just look at #cellulitelove, which has over 1,500 Instagram posts), others may be looking to reduce its appearance, which can be done with a range of office and home treatments. However, there is a lot of products and services that claim to be “miracle cures” for cellulite that won’t really make much of a difference.

Nothing will make you get rid of cellulite completely and forever. If your cellulite is something you want to change, although there are several effective treatments to help reduce the appearance of lumps, be aware that you are unlikely to get rid of it completely. To make sure you don’t waste your time and money on things that don’t work, keep looking at all the information about these treatments.

1. Topical issues

For smoothing out cellulite easily, some skin care ingredients can make the skin thicker and firmer. “Anything that promotes collagen production, such as retinol and retinoids, can help thicken skin and minimize the appearance of cellulite,” says Dr. Engelman. But she notes that the amount of collagen you have to make in order to really suppress the fatty layer where cellulite lives is significant, so it will take a while to notice the difference (and the difference will be minimal).

Aside from collagen-stimulating ingredients like retinoids, caffeine can help reduce cellulite (albeit temporarily) by reducing swelling. “Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor that reduces swelling and redness from sub-surface buildup when applied topically,” says Dr. Chapas. Hot tip: Combine a topical cream with a massage that Dr. Engelman says will give you the best results at home.

How long does it take to work: Several months depending on the renewal of skin cells.

Cost: $ 10 and up.

2. Dry cleaning

Dry brushing involves massaging cellulite with a real brush on dry skin to smooth the skin easily. “Dry brushing your teeth promotes circulation and lymphatic drainage, which helps reduce inflammation and strengthen connective tissue, which in turn can minimize the appearance of cellulite,” says Dr. Engelman. “Doing this every day may continue to look better, but it helps the lymphatic drainage in that area more than changes the structure of the skin,” she says. In other words: this is not the best way to get rid of cellulite.

How long does it take to work: Regular treatments may show slight improvement in skin condition, but this is temporary.

Cost: $ 10 and up.

3. Lymphatic massage.

Over the past year, lymphatic massage has become popular throughout the country. These body treatments use a deep massage technique to drain the lymphatic system, because it has been found that then the lymphatic system becomes stagnant and cellulite can form. They work by increasing blood circulation, which leads to a temporary tightening effect on the body.

How long does it take to work: You can see a slight immediate effect on cellulite, but it only lasts for a few days. Dr. Engelman says that for the best results in fighting cellulite, you need to get regular treatments (every month or every two months). But the results will be minimal and will do little for the deeper pits.

Cost: From $ 100 to $ 200 per procedure.

4. Office procedures

Contouring: Treatments like Trusculpt Flex help smooth out mild to moderate cases of cellulite with devices that use a combination of heat and massage. “This type of procedure is very good at keeping skin tight, but it won’t completely eliminate or improve cellulite,” says Jason Emer, MD, board-certified cosmetologist and cosmetic surgeon. It usually takes four to six treatments on average with a couple of weeks between treatments to see results. Prices can range from $ 100 to $ 500 per procedure.

Radio frequency: Certain office body shaping treatments such as VelaShape and EmTone work with a combination of suction massage, infrared light and radio frequency to eliminate cellulite. “The combination of suction and massage rollers promotes circulation in your body,” says Lisa Guida, beautician and founder of Erase Spa. Although VelaShape has been around for several years and is known for its relatively effective performance, Guida notes that this is not forever. Typically, you will get the best results after three to six sessions, which can be divided over a week to 10 days, but you will need to continue doing this every year or so for maintenance. Dr. Emer notes that radiofrequency treatments are used to maintain and slow the growth of cellulite, “but they don’t reverse the growth of cellulite if you’re not very diligent” and get regular treatments (which cost between $ 200 and $ 500 per area). A newer option, NuEra Tight, improves skin texture using RF waves without the uncomfortable level of heat others might give you. “Basically, it goes deep under the skin to smooth it out by adjusting the structures of the dermis,” says Dr. Engelman.

Injections: The newest cellulite solution on the market is called QWO, and since July 2020, it has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of moderate to severe cellulite in the buttocks (expect it in your dermis office next spring). The researchers explain that it works by helping the fibrous septa dissolve, allowing fat to move more evenly throughout the area, and removing wrinkles and dimples in the skin. “It reduces the type of dimple cellulite, which results in a smoother appearance,” says Arash Ahavan, MD, board-certified dermatologist. “The injections also induce collagen production, which leads to increased skin elasticity.” He notes that this type of cellulite treatment is long-term and low maintenance, and estimates it costs between $ 3,000 and $ 5,000.

More invasive procedures: Cellfina and Cellulaze are other more invasive options. “Cellfina uses the world’s first motorized needle traversal, which works very well,” says Dr. Emer, noting that they are designed to remove pits in the buttocks and back of the thigh. Dr. Engelman compares the two procedures to liposuction, but instead of sucking out fat, they work by cutting fibrous bands with tiny vibrating soft tissue under the skin. Both usually cost between $ 3,000 and $ 6,000.

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