Cellulite is a complicated issue, and one that is equally as challenging to treat. First, it’s stubborn – especially cellulite on thighs and cellulite on legs, which are marked by a telltale “orange peel” appearance to the skin.
And anyone can have it, even those who are considered traditionally fit or thin. That’s because cellulite isn’t caused by fat. Instead, it is caused by the relationship of fat cells and connective tissue in the skin. Underneath the skin’s surface, these connective cords pull down toward the muscle, while fat cells simultaneously push up, causing a lumpy or dimpled appearance.
There are a lot of devices and potions out there that claim to make your cellulite totally disappear. However, because cellulite happens to skin on a deeper level, it’s extremely tough to treat. Therefore, to help you sort through the mess, here is what you need to know about the best cellulite treatments.
There are three different levels of cellulite, which doctors determine based on the visibility of the cellulite. A patient’s cellulite level helps to determine which treatments will be the most effective.
Level 1: can only be seen when flexing muscles in the affected area.
Level 2: can be seen when muscles are at rest.
Level 3: the skin has dents, cobblestones, and hills that are visible at all times.
Exercises, Diet, Creams, and Massage
The simplest form of treatment for cellulite is diet, exercise, and hydration. While cellulite can’t exactly be prevented, to a certain extent it can be minimized through massage therapy to stimulate blood flow. But when estrogen levels increase and collagen levels decrease, certain areas of the body become more susceptible to forming cellulite. Of course, simple doesn’t always mean easy. Overhauling an entire lifestyle may actually be the most difficult approach for some people, even if it is the least expensive and longest lasting.
When it comes to the use of devices to reduce or remove cellulite, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has placed them into three classes:
- Topical treatments
- Simple non-invasive instruments
- For surgeons only
Class 1 – endermology machines, which are essentially roller devices.
They suck up the skin and iron it out. You need one or two sessions a week for ten weeks before you start seeing results. But you can use endermology machines — when combined with diet, exercise, and hydration. The main downside of this approach is that you must continue regular treatments in order to maintain smoother skin.
Class 2 – devices may not require a physician to operate them, but all practitioners do require training.
These devices are mainly for laser treatments. Some combine pressure with laser light.
During one minimally laser treatment called Cellulaze, a tiny laser fiber is inserted beneath your skin. When the laser is fired, the laser energy breaks up the tough bands beneath the skin that cause us to see cellulite. This treatment can also thicken your skin, which is important. Skin often thins where cellulite forms. Thickening the skin can help reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Thermage is skin tightening treatment uses radiofrequency, which heats up your dermis to stimulate collagen production and improve blood flow. The result is a smoother skin surface.
After this procedure, patients have cited improvements in the appearance of cellulite as well as overall tightness and firmness of skin. Thermage uses radiofrequencies, which tighten the skin and improve its tone as part of a one-time treatment that lasts 18-24 months.
BTL Unison uses a combination of thermal and mechanical energy to leave skin visibly more elastic and smoother with reduced dimples. There is no downtime or pain and the treatment delivers immediate results.
The mechanical portion during a BTL Unison treatment helps breaks up those fibrous bands and can improve circulation. Simultaneously, the thermal effects of the radio frequency boost skin’s elasticity and collagen production.
As Class 1 and 2 treatments are noninvasive and cumulative, it often takes months to see results. On the plus side, however, there’s no downtime whatsoever with them.
Class 3 – devices are surgical tools that cut the septae, holding the fat into position, and then kill the fat cells. They are generally considered to be minimally-invasive.
Cellfina is the first and only FDA-cleared minimally invasive treatment that is clinically proven to improve the appearance of cellulite for at least two years.
The treatment uses a needle-sized device to cut some of the above-mentioned fibrous tissues to smooth out dimpling. You’ll also have some temporary bruising but will start to see results in about a week. If you have a few specific spots that you’d like to treat, this might be for you. It’s designed to target individual dimples in the skin.