Is Cellulite Reduction Possible?

What is cellulite and what causes it?

Cellulite is characterized by a dimpled appearance of the skin and is typically found on the hips, thighs, and buttocks.  It is much more common in women because of the way fat, muscle and connective tissue is distributed in women.  However, men can develop cellulite as well.  The lumpy, dimpled appearance of cellulite is caused by fat deposits that are pushing on the connective tissues under the skin.  This distortion of the connective tissues results in the dimpled appearance known as cellulite.

Cellulite is not a condition that requires medical intervention; it’s a normal occurrence in many people that is perfectly harmless.  Many factors contribute to whether you’ll be afflicted by cellulite.  Heredity, the thickness of your skin, gender, age, and the amount of body fat you’ve accumulated all influence your likelihood of developing cellulite.  The only real problem with cellulite is the fact that many people find it unsightly and want to be rid of it. 

Treatments aimed at cellulite reduction are available.


What “treatments” are available for cellulite removal ?

Cellulite Reduction
Cellulite Treatment is Possible

Most people who develop cellulite are anxious to find a “cure” or cellulite treatment that will give them skin as smooth and lump free as possible.  There are cellulite treatments ranging from dietary changes to creams, pills and mechanical devices.  These are all aimed at helping you get rid of cellulite or at least reduce its appearance.  Some of the more common therapies include:

  • Methylxanthines – Methylxanthines are chemicals present in many cellulite creams because of their ability to break down fat deposits.  However, there’s conflicting research on whether a cream can provide sufficient concentrations of these chemicals, for the length of time needed, to contribute significant breakdown of the fat stores.  Some studies have shown a reduction in thigh measurements, but whether a significant decrease in the appearance of cellulite is seen is not certain.


  • Dietary Supplements – Many of the dietary supplements being marketed for cellulite reduction contain ingredients such as ginkgo biloba, sweet clover, fish oil and grape-seed bioflavinoids.  These supplements claim to boost metabolism and improve circulation while breaking down fat deposits.  Whether these supplements help rid cellulite from your body, care must be taken that none of the ingredients pose a health risk or interfere with prescription drugs you may be taking.  As with any dietary supplement that is not sold as a drug, supplements for cellulite reduction are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


  • Massage Treatments and Endermologie – There are many different machines and massagers designed to knead and suction the areas affected by cellulite.  These massagers stimulate the affected areas and help break down the fat deposits.  They don’t do anything to rid the body of the fat itself, but they can help to break it down and redistribute it.  This redistribution can reduce cellulite, or at least its appearance.  There is also some research to suggest that breaking down the stored deposits of fat helps the body to eliminate it if used in conjunction with a weight loss plan .


  • Laser or Light Therapy – The FDA has approved two devices that combine light-therapy and suction (or massage), for cellulite reduction.  TriActive uses low-level laser treatment with suction and manipulation to break down the fat stores.  VelaSmooth combines laser and massage therapy.  These treatments can be very expensive, generally in the thousands of dollars and provide only temporary reduction in the appearance of cellulite.


  • Mesotherapy – Mesotherapy involves injecting drugs or other substances directly into the areas affected by cellulite.  This procedure is offered by some doctors and often involves injecting FDA approved drugs; however, the drugs are being used off-label, meaning they have not been approved for treating this condition.  It may be an approved drug, but it’s being used in a manner outside the parameters for which FDA approval was given.  Many times herbs and vitamins are added to the injection cocktail as well.  This is a very controversial treatment.  A 2005 report in the Journal of cosmetic and Laser Therapy states:  “Patients considering mesotherapy for cellulite must be aware that the substances currently being injected to treat this cosmetically disturbing, but medically benign, condition have not been thoroughly evaluated for safety or efficacy.”


  • Collagenase – This is an experimental treatment that is not yet routinely available.  Collagenase is an enzyme that occurs naturally in the body and is used to break down collagen, a component in connective tissue.  This option is still being researched to determine if injections of collagenase are beneficial in reducing the appearance of cellulite.  This may become an option for cellulite reduction .


  • Cellulite Diets – Special cellulite removal diets have been marketed claiming that specific combinations of foods can reduce cellulite by improving circulation and reducing inflammation in the affected areas.   Experts agree that eating a healthy diet can certainly improve your health and the overall appearance of your skin, but a specific diet aimed at reducing cellulite may not be necessary. 


  • Wraps – Many salons offer various types of wraps for the treatment of cellulite.  These wraps are probably beneficial in reducing fluid retention which would improve the overall appearance of the skin; and herbal wraps can detoxify the body, but as with most cellulite treatments, the effects are temporary. 


Can Liposuction help reduce cellulite ?

Liposuction involves vacuuming fat from under the skin.  This method is not recommended for the treatment of cellulite and in fact, it may worsen the problem.  Liposuction extracts the fat stores and by sucking out the cushion of fat just under the skin may result in even more dimpling.

What can be done about cellulite?

Exercise and the right diet program may be the best way to treat cellulite.  Eating a healthy diet and toning muscles through regular exercise can help keep the body smooth and taut.  If you decide to try other options, be cautious and informed, there are many unproven techniques which may rid you of nothing more than your money.

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