Cellulite is a common source of low self-esteem and frustration for anyone struggling with those unwanted waves and dimples on their thighs, buttocks, and stomach, but separating fact from fiction can be a difficult task when it comes to it to defeat cellulite . With treatments ranging from surgery to herbal teas, M&F spoke to Dr. Michele Green, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist in New York City, to make sense of it all.
Fact: More women than men develop cellulite
"According to the American Academy of Dermatology, cellulite affects 90% of adult women in the United States," says Dr. Green. “There is a genetic predisposition for women to develop cellulite. Women naturally distribute and store more fat in their thighs and buttocks than men. There are also differences in the distribution of muscle and connective tissue between men and women. But while fat cells contribute to the appearance of cellulite, individuals of any weight, height, age, and gender can develop cellulite.”
Fiction: Everyone notices your cellulite
While we all constantly strive for perfection, the presence of cellulite shouldn't affect your ability to go to the beach, have fun, or feel confident. In fact, research from Goldincision, a cellulite treatment developed for doctors in Brazil, suggests that the insecurities surrounding it are often compounded by women themselves rather than potential male partners. Of those surveyed, only 8% of respondents believed that men reacted more negatively to cellulite than women.
Fact: Cellulite is harder to relocate than fat alone
Many people put a lot of time and energy into trying to burn cellulite like regular fat, but it's actually harder to shift. “Cellulite occurs when the fibrous bands known as septae; the connective tissue that connects muscle and skin allows fat to protrude, causing the skin to deepen," explains Dr. Green. "As these fat cells grow and expand, they bulge toward the skin's surface while the fibrous bands against the fat cells retract. Therefore, it is influenced by three biological factors: fibrous ligaments, skin laxity, and fat cells. While losing weight can help soften the appearance, it cannot be cured or permanently eliminated. Cellulite is a complex condition influenced by factors such as hormones, aging and environmental stress.”
Fiction: There are many quick fix solutions
While antioxidant-rich supplements like green tea can help reduce cellulite, the notion that you can get rid of it simply by popping pills or drinking tea is wrong. "Any tea or pill that claims to be a quick detox solution for cellulite doesn't work," says Dr. Green. "Many "detox" teas and supplements claim to help with weight loss, and many people believe that fat is directly related to the development of cellulite. But while losing weight and toning muscles can help improve your looks, it won't get rid of it completely. Furthermore, the healthiest and most effective way to lose weight is through a healthy diet and daily exercise, and taking "detox" teas alone will not help weight loss. Sometimes slimming can increase skin sagging or sagging skin and worsen the appearance and make it more noticeable. Cellulite is a complex condition involving a variety of factors, including genetics.
Fact: You may be able to improve appearance without medical intervention
"There are no permanent solutions to cellulite, but there are anti-cellulite creams that help temporarily improve the appearance of cellulite," says Dr. Green. “These creams typically contain ingredients like caffeine, retinol, vitamin E, vitamin C, and botanical extracts like ginkgo, centella, and pineapple. These ingredients aim to hydrate and plump the skin, improve firmness and improve elasticity. Continued and diligent use of anti-cellulite creams is key to improving one's appearance, and improvements likely require at least three months of consistent use. However, Green says anti-cellulite creams may not be appropriate for more severe cases.
Fiction: The medical establishment has no answers
With professionals like Dr. Green, who are at the forefront of helping people achieve better outcomes, now is an exciting time for current and future treatments. "VelaShape is a non-invasive body shaping treatment that reduces the appearance of cellulite," says Dr. Green. “VelaShape uses infrared (IR) light and bipolar radio frequency (RF) energy in combination with vacuum suction and deep tissue massage. This heats up the fat cells and connective tissues, allowing new collagen and elastin to regenerate to improve skin texture. The combination of suction and deep tissue massage helps stretch the fibrous bands that contribute to the appearance of cellulite. The advantage of this quick procedure is that it does not require downtime, but the results are temporary and require maintenance treatment.”
She adds that “Thermage FLX is a gold standard skin tightening procedure that uses radio frequency (RF) energy to stimulate collagen synthesis. Skin sagging or sagging can worsen the appearance, so tightening the skin on the buttocks and thighs with Thermage can improve the fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging that naturally occur with age. This non-invasive RF treatment has no downtime, can be combined with other treatments such as VelaShape, and can be performed yearly for best results. QWO was the first FDA-approved injectable cellulite treatment containing the active ingredient Clostridium histolyticum-aaes collagenase, an enzyme that breaks down the fibrous bands that cause cellulite to form pits. Endo Aesthetics, the maker of QWO, recently ceased production of QWO, but its FDA clearance remains, so it is possible that QWO will return or develop another version of collagenase-based treatments in the future.”
So there you have it. There is no quick fix, but you can find real improvements by taking care of your body, managing your hormones, muscle tone and weight, and trying a number of established treatments and procedures without resorting to liposuction. But most importantly, remember that you are your own biggest critic, so don't let cellulite hold you back this summer!