Cellulite: What It Is And How To Treat It

If you are one of the millions of people worldwide who are battling excess body weight then you have probably heard of cellulite. Cellulite is a common skin condition in the form of unsightly, lumpy, bumpy, dimpled flesh, usually found on the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, and hips. The condition is most often found in women, but men can have it as well. While not life-threatening on its own, cellulite is a common symptom of obesity, which can lead to severe health problems.

A recent survey showed that over 70% of Australians have complained about the presence of cellulite on their bodies. Fortunately, there are things we can do to moderate, and even remove the effects of cellulite. Clinics are now employing cutting-edge cellulite treatments that can make a big difference in one’s appearance and health! Let’s learn more about cellulite and the methods being used to combat it.

Causes – Being overweight is commonly associated with the presence of cellulite and there is most certainly a relationship there, but even people with average body weights who are physically fit can experience it in the parts of the body that are most susceptible, like the buttocks and thighs. Cellulite is related to the fibrous connective cords that tie the underlying muscle mass to the skin, with the fat layered in between. When fat cells increase, they rise up against the skin layer, while at the same time the long, fibrous cords pull down, creating an uneven surface. This action is what is thought to cause cellulite’s unsightly dimpling and lumpiness. Hormones may also have an effect on the development of cellulite, as well as the possibility that some people have a genetic disposition for it. An individual’s skin texture, body type, and skin structure are also suspects. There is still much more to be learned about this very common condition.

Prevalence – Cellulite is much more commonly found in women than it is in men. Many women find that they begin to develop areas of cellulite immediately after puberty. This is thought to be because body fat is distributed on a woman’s body with greater concentrations in the thighs, buttocks and other areas that are commonly affected. Growing older also exacerbates the presence of cellulite because of the loss of skin elasticity the ageing process brings with it. The people who suffer from cellulite deposits the most are those who are overweight. An inactive lifestyle combined with unhealthy eating habits is bound to lead to excess fat and cellulite along with it, making the condition another sign of the risk inherent in obesity.

Treatments – There are a variety of treatments ranging from non-invasive to invasive. 

  • Weight Loss – The best way to combat cellulite is to melt it away with the rest of the excess fat by following a sensible diet and exercise plan. This will definitely help matters, but cellulite is notoriously stubborn, and may need further treatment to remove completely.
  • Massage –  Some health and beauty practitioners believe that vigorous massage can help reduce cellulite by removing toxins, reducing excess fluid, and increasing lymphatic flow in the areas afflicted. One popular treatment is called endermologie, a handheld medical device that is used to knead the skin between specially designed rollers. Unfortunately, although a safe way to alleviate the effects of cellulite temporarily, the deposits are prone to reforming after some time has passed.
  • Acoustic Wave Therapy – This scientifically advanced technique begins with a technician first applying gel to the cellulite-affected area, then running a handheld device called a transducer over it. The transducer projects sound waves through the skin to break up the stubborn cellulite deposits. While thought to be fairly effective, it will take multiple treatment sessions to bring noticeable improvements.
  • Laser Heat Treatments – This is an ablative, or wounding treatment that employs the application of special lasers to the cellulite affected site. A thin fibre is inserted beneath the skin which is heated with a laser. The intense, controlled heat melts away the bands of fibrous fat that cause the dimpling effect. This treatment is able to reduce the unsightly effects of cellulite for up to a year. The science is currently being improved upon so even better, longer results are hoped for.
  • Radiofrequency Heat Treatments – This nonablative treatment uses high-frequency radio waves to direct heat generated by an electromagnetic current at the affected tissue, which causes the denaturation of the proteins and collagens in the cellulite. This effect also requires multiple, frequent sessions before any noticeable improvements can be discerned. 
  • Mesotherapy – This procedure involves a series of injections into the cellulite-affected body regions. There are a variety of substances in the injection such as hormones, caffeine, herbal extracts and enzymes. The treatment is still undergoing study.

We hope this article helps you make a better-informed decision about treating cellulite.

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