Cellulite: 3 Ways To Banish the Bumps?

Cellulite: 3 Ways To Banish the Bumps?
A woman getting a noninvasive cellulite treatment

Lumpy, dumpy and bumpy - cellulite is likely that one multi-seasonal 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—and they call us advanced!—we’re going to take a look at some of the things you can do to help rid yourself of this dimpled 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 are great places to start and definitely a piece of the anti-cellulite puzzle, but even they’re not always a sure-fire method to ridding your body of the offending “cottage cheese.” Nor is losing weight. Nor are topical creams, serums or scrubs promising to eliminate cellulite. No, in fact, most topical treatments claiming to treat cellulite instead treat the skin, temporarily improving the look of the area, but never actually treating the cellulite itself. #marketing

So what does work?

Truth be told, there is no cure… yet. But there are a handful of treatments that can offer up some temporary results — some more tangible and longer-lasting than others:

  • Light or Laser Therapy: The most promising results in the noninvasive department are coming courtesy a handful of treatments that use light therapy, mechanical massage and radiofrequency 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. Since this treatment is noninvasive, no anesthesia is required. It’s also safe for all skin tones. The cons, however, do exist, as Velashape requires 4 to 6 weekly treatments to get the full result, and some patients will need to do other sessions at the one - three month mark. Other low-level laser and radio wave energy treatments exist, so 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, there is a minimally invasive treatment that has piqued the interest of doctors and patients alike called Cellfina . This procedure and has shown considerable promise in longer-lasting (yet still temporary) cellulite busting properties for mainly the buttock and thigh area. Your doctor makes small subcisions in the offending area to access and cut the fibrous bands that cause dimpling. The bands are thus released and the area smooths itself out. Easy, right? Sure, it comes with a less-than-appetizing description, but the minimal downtime (one or two days with additional bruising that can last for 2-3 weeks) and the fact that Cellfina is performed in your surgeon’s office under local anesthesia, make this treatment very appealing. And results can be seen within the first week, as opposed to that other more invasive surgical option, and can last up to three years.

So while science has not yet advanced enough to simply “wish” cellulite away, there are options to smoothing out the dimples that vex you. A chat with your board-certified plastic surgeon can help you discern what treatment might be right for you.