Cellulite: Can You Really Banish the Bumps?
Dimply, dumpy and bumpy - cellulite is likely the one summer accessory you wish you could just take off already. Since it’s scientifically impossible to wish cellulite away or scrub it off in the shower — damn you and your pesky logic, science! — we’re going to take a look at some of the things you can do to help rid yourself of this bikini season pariah.
Blame estrogen, genetics, lifestyle or voodoo, approximately 80 - 90% of women will encounter cellulite on their bodies at some point in their lifetime. Cellulite occurs naturally when fat cells get trapped between the skin and the fibers that connect the skin to the muscles. The fibers pull the skin down and voila! The dreaded dimpling begins.
Not that any explanation is going to make you feel better. In fact women hating cellulite has spawned an entire industry of exercise routines, topical “treatments” and cosmetic procedures — some with questionable results.
Exercise and a clean lifestyle is a great place to start and definitely a piece of the anti-cellulite puzzle, but losing weight is not always a sure-fire method to rid your body of the offending “cottage cheese.” Nor are topical creams, serums or scrubs promising to eliminate cellulite. In fact, most topicals claiming to treat cellulite instead treat the skin, temporarily improving the look of the area, but never actually treating the cellulite itself.
So what does work?
Truth be told, there is no cure… yet. But there are a handful of treatments that can offer up temporary results — some more tangible and longer-lasting than others:
Light or Laser Therapy: The most promising results are coming courtesy of a handful of treatments that use light therapy as a means to reduce the appearance of cellulite. One such treatment is called VelaShape. VelaShape uses light energy to pre-heat the offending area, then uses gentle massage to deeply penetrate the area with radio-frequency energy, redistributing and increasing the metabolism of the fat and connective tissue that creates cellulite. Other low-level laser and radio wave energy treatments include TriActive, Thermage and SmoothShapes. Check with your doctor to see which of these they would recommend.
Massage Treatments: Other patients seeking a non-invasive approach to cellulite reduction are turning to roller mechanical massage therapy. One popular FDA-approved device is Endermologie, which uses massage to increase blood flow to the offending area, loosening the connective tissue and redistributing the fat in that area. It also claims to produce healthier, smoother skin. The results are temporary and seem to vary from patient to patient, and typically one must undergo multiple treatments (like 10+) to see any real benefit. But there are some patients who seem satisfied with the results. In addition to using radiofrequency, VelaShape also utilizes suction and massage as does Endermologie. This mechanical disruption leads to collagen deposition to help firm the tissues.
Surgical Treatments: While liposuction isn’t right for everyone seeking cellulite reduction, a surgical treatment called Cellulaze is piquing the interest of doctors and patients. Since its 2012 FDA-clearance, the procedure has been showing considerable promise in longer-lasting (yet still temporary) cellulite busting properties. By making small incisions in the treatment area, and threading a laser fiber through a small tube and inserting that into the incisions, your doctor essentially liquefies the fat, sizzles away the septa bands that are causing the dimpling, and then gently massages it all out. Along with the less-than-appetizing description, recovery from Cellulaze may take between three to four weeks and there is typically bruising and soreness. The results, however, could last up to two years, with gradual improvement over the span of three to twelve months.