Ideal ways to beat the dreaded cellulite (part 1)
How can we efficiently beat cellulite?
Talk about a war against women: Cellulite - referred to in some circles as the “C word” - affects women but few men. Some 85 percent of women - of all shapes and sizes—say they struggle with it.
“It doesn’t matter how thin or heavy you are; all females have a certain amount of cellulite,” says Dr. Rondi Walker, who practices at Walker Plastic Surgery in DC and is a clinical assistant professor of surgery at Georgetown University School of Medicine. “Female fetuses examined at four months in utero already demonstrate the development of cellulite.”
What causes cellulite and why don't men have it?
Cellulite is caused largely by three factors, says Dr. Nia Banks of the Beaux Arts Institute of Plastic Surgery in Lanham. First are the connective-tissue bands, or fibers, under the skin that are supposed to hold fat down where it belongs.
In women, these fibers are arranged like pillars. As we age, the bands stiffen. This is where the second problem—fat—comes into play. When fat pockets are squeezed between these rigid bands, they’re pushed up into the skin, like quilting in a mattress. Which leads us to issue number three, the skin itself: We lose collagen, a protein that gives skin its structure, every day.
As skin gets thinner, the fat pushing up through those bands becomes more noticeable.
The reason that men - even the ones who carry some extra pounds - tend to be cellulite-free (only about 10 percent of patients are male), is because their bands are crisscrossed, creating a mesh-like effect on the fat, like built-in Spanx. Estrogen and other female hormones have also been shown to play a role in cellulite development.
While nothing can get rid of cellulite permanently, there are more ways than ever to address the lumps and bumps that most commonly show up on thighs, hips, and buttocks. From lasers to creams, here are the most popular techniques for coaxing cellulite into submission.
Make cellulite go away with anti cellulite massages
Leaving the skin - skin fibers - fat combo aside, some experts believe that cellulite is due to poor circulation. As the blood vessels that bring nutrients to the skin begin to deteriorate—a process that can start as early as puberty—they leak lymphatic fluid into fat cells, causing the cells to puff up, cluster together, and push toward the surface of the skin.
Massaging dimpled areas is believed to help break apart the bumps, especially if you use the right ingredients. Some scrubs, contain ground coffee - and we've talked about how caffeine has been shown to tighten skin instantly (though mildly and temporarily). A scrub also exfoliates, a step that’s key: Dead skin cells can prevent any smoothing creams you’re applying from fully penetrating the skin.
Another form of exfoliating massage that’s been a treatment of choice in Europe is dry brushing with cactus bristles, a very fine natural fiber.
Expert dermatologists say that any effect of body brushing is fleeting because it doesn’t address problems under the skin: “It may lead to temporary swelling, masking surface irregularities associated with cellulite.” So, body brushing does have its benefits but you're not going to see them for a lot of time.
Endermologie, another option offered at many spas, kneads the skin with a rolling suction device in an effort to break up cellulite, boost circulation, and stimulate collagen production.
“Supporters of Endermologie believe that increasing circulation reduces subcutaneous fat and increases blood flow and lympathic draining, so excess fluid and fat cells are eliminated,” says Dr. Banks. “But the other train of thought is that Endermologie simply causes swelling so that cellulite is less noticeable. Most patients are pleased with the results, but they require ongoing maintenance—shortly after you stop, everything goes back to how it looked before.”
Most women need multiple sessions, which cost about 50-150 dollars each, to maintain results.
Anti cellulite creams that reduce cellulite
A review of multiple studies published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology found that cellulite creams can reduce thigh circumference, though by an average of only about 0.2 inches. While we’re not talking Heidi Klum legs in a bottle, it’s a slight improvement.
“Any effect of topical creams on the appearance of cellulite is temporary,” says Dr. West. “There’s no evidence that any of these products penetrate deeply enough into skin to confer a significant effect.” That said, besides caffeine, topical ingredients believed to smooth and tighten temporarily include coffee berry and aminophylline. One of the most effective - and insufficiently used - anti cellulite ingredients is retinol (what skin ailment can’t it cure?), which West says thickens the epidermis and improves skin texture.
Studies have shown that caffeine and retinol work better together.
Read more ideal ways to beat cellulite with anti cellulite treatments and anti cellulite exercises.