Cellulite has often been termed “the curse of women” because so many suffer from the annoying orange peel skin dimples and fat deposits on their hips, bums and thighs. Unfortunately, too many women also throw thousands and thousands of dollars down the drain on totally ineffective “treatments” and useless products. That is because most people don’t really know what “cellulite” is, or what causes these odd dimples on the lower body trouble zones…
What Exactly Is Cellulite?
Cellulite, or gynoid lipodystrophy, is a condition in which the skin appears dimpled, bumpy and “orange peel-like”. It’s caused by changes in the structure of the fat cells and connective tissues that lie underneath your skin’s surface. These changes can cause your fat cells to become very large and push outwards into the connective tissue under your skin.
Additionally, changes in the blood supply to cellulite-affected areas may result in extra fluid collecting in the tissue. This gives your skin the bumpy appearance that is associated with cellulite.
It’s often categorized based on its severity:
Grade 0: No cellulite.
Grade 1: Smooth skin when standing, but orange-peel appearance when sitting.
Grade 2: Skin has orange-peel appearance when standing and sitting.
Grade 3: Skin has orange-peel appearance when standing with deep raised and depressed areas.
Who Is Likely to Get Cellulite?
By most estimates, 80% to 90% of women will get cellulite at some point after puberty. The condition gets more common as we get older. As women age, the skin gets thinner and looser, so cellulite is more likely to show. Cellulite is also more likely to show on lighter-skinned women.
Men can get cellulite as well, but it is less common. Researchers think men have a slightly different structure underneath their skin that prevents cellulite from occurring. But some men still get the dimply-skin condition.
Can You Get Rid of Cellulite?
Unfortunately, there is no way to permanently remove all of the cellulite on the backs of your thighs, abdomen, or butt. There are ways to make it less noticeable, and there are ways to get reduce severity, but there is no “cure” for cellulite.
An active lifestyle and a healthy diet may help you to minimize the appearance of cellulite. Additionally, if you maintain a healthy body weight, you may be able to minimize the severity of dimpling that shows up on your thighs or abdomen. Muscle toning exercises for the thighs and belly may also help to shape the areas where cellulite appears, making it less noticeable.
If you are overweight, losing weight may help, but not always. In some people, weight loss helps to prevent or minimize the appearance of cellulite. But in others, losing weight can actually cause the condition to become more noticeable. Loose skin, which often happens after significant weight loss, can make cellulite more noticeable.
Of course, fear of cellulite shouldn’t factor into your decision to achieve a healthy weight. Not everyone who loses weight will end up with cellulite. But if you have cellulite before you lose weight, there is no guarantee that weight loss will make it disappear.
What Other Treatments Are There For Cellulite?
Very few cellulite treatments work as well as you want them to. While certain medical treatments have been FDA-approved to address the appearance of cellulite, most of them are not permanent solutions. Doctors will also often advise against liposuction, as it can involve serious medical risks and complications.
Dermatologists and plastic surgeons who do treat the skin condition say that it is important to have reasonable expectations when you investigate different cellulite treatments:
- Creams containing caffeine can help to dehydrate fat cells, while creams containing retinol may thicken the skin, making cellulite less obvious.
- CoolSculpting is an FDA-cleared procedure that can diminish the appearance of cellulite by freezing fat cells underneath the skin.
- Acoustic wave therapy is non-invasive technique uses shock wave energy to improve circulation and skin elasticity.
- Laser treatments is minimally-invasive technique utilizes laser or light-based devices to tighten the skin. Your doctor will numb the skin and then insert this device underneath it, working to disconnect the tight fibers that create a dimpled appearance, while also melting bulging fat.
- Cellfina involves inserting a needle just under the skin to break up the tough bands that form the appearance of cellulite.
- Carboxytherapy involves injecting carbon dioxide gas beneath the skin to minimize the appearance of cellulite.
- Ultrasonic liposculpting uses ultrasound to target and destroy fat to reduce evidence of cellulite.
- Lipomassage is performed at a spa, using a vacuum-like tool to lift up your skin.
Overall, it may not be possible to completely avoid cellulite. However, eating a healthy diet, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight may help keep it at bay.