Cellulite describes fat deposits visible beneath the skin that cause a dimpled appearance.
Cellulite appears most commonly on the hips, buttocks or thighs, but can also appear on the arms and other parts of the body.
Although a cosmetic concern to some, cellulite is not unhealthy.
The dimpled appearance of cellulite is due to loose areas of fat bulging out around the tight collagen fibers, similar to honey in a honeycomb.
Life events, such as pregnancy and aging, weaken the collagen fibers and cause the some of the "pockets" to grow in size. The altered structure of the skin causes the fat to appear as cellulite, even if the total amount of fat in the body remains the same.
Cellulite can appear on thin people with minimal body fat, though it is more common in people who are overweight. Its appearance is determined by genetics and is more common among women.
Some people spend a tremendous amount of time, money and effort trying to rid themselves of cellulite. However, no amount of weight loss, exercise, massages, wraps, creams, or vitamin supplements will entirely eliminate cellulite once it appears.
Cellulite Treatment Options
Talk to your doctor if you concerned about cellulite. Together you can develop a treatment plan that meets your aesthetic needs.
Lasers and Radiofrequency Systems for Cellulite Reduction
Recent advances in laser and radiofrequency technology have lead to the development of new and effective treatment options for cellulite.
There are several FDA approved devices that may be used for cellulite reduction and/or body sculpting.
- One system combines a vacum massage along with radiofrequency and infrared light waves
- Another system combines massage with a diode laser
- A third system uses radiofrequency waves that act at the deep and upper layers of the skin
All three systems aim to alter the structure of the collagen within the skin to give it a less dimpled appearance.
All of these devices require multiple treatments for optimal results. The duration of results varies depending on several factors, including the device used.
Liposuction for Cellulite Reduction
Liposuction has been touted by some as a treatment for cellulite. During liposuction, a surgeon inserts a narrow tube under your skin through tiny incisions and then suctions out fat cells. Though standard liposuction can reshape the body, it does not remove cellulite. In fact, standard liposcution can make cellulite appear worse.
However, new laser-assisted liposuction offers an effective and less invasive form of liposuction that can be used for cellulite reduction. This new approach destroys fat cells while tightening the skin and reducing the dimpled appearance.
Topical Treatments for Cellulite Reduction
Many skin creams, lotions and potions are sold over-the-counter as "cellulite cures", but there little or no scientific evidence to support these claims.
Some prescription-strength retinoids (tretinoin) may reduce the appearance of cellulite after months of use, but may cause some skin irritation. Talk to your doctor if you might consider a specific cosmeceutical or prescription-only medication to reduce the appearance of cellulite.