What Exactly Cellulite?
Cellulite appears on the body as dimpled, puckered flesh most commonly affecting the thighs, stomach, hips, and buttocks of men and women. While it does in fact occur in both genders, it’s much more common in women as it affects 90% of all women and only gets worse with age.
In short, cellulite is caused by skin-deep fat deposits that put pressure on the crisscrossed tissue formations under the skin. These create unsightly and unwanted bumps on an otherwise typically smooth surface. Factors such as diet, body composition, age, gender, whether or not you smoke, and above all else, genetics, have a direct impact on an individual’s likelihood for developing this common skin condition.
Cellulite Treatment and Fat removal
Several therapies have been suggested for removing cellulite, but none have yet been confirmed by scientific research.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has reviewed a number of techniques that may be successful in reducing the appearance of cellulite by breaking up the bands of connective tissue under the skin’s surface.
Acoustic wave therapy uses a hand-held device to transmit sound waves. It may work, but it can take several sessions.
Laser treatment may improve the appearance of cellulite for a year or more. It involves inserting a small laser probe under the skin.
The laser is then fired, breaking up the tissue. This can also thicken the skin by increasing collagen production. The thickened skin may reduce the appearance of the cellulite below.
Subcision involves a dermatologist putting a needle under the skin to break up the connective tissue bands. Results can last 2 years or more, says the AAD.
Vacuum-assisted precise tissue release cuts the bands using a device containing small blades. As it cuts the connective bands, the tissue underneath moves up to fill the space under the skin, removing the appearance of cellulite. This may last for 3 years, but data on its success is limited.
Carboxytherapy involves inserting carbon dioxide gas under the skin. Side effects include bruising and discomfort after the procedure, but some cellulite might disappear.
Endermologie involves a deep massage with a vacuum-like device that lifts the skin. The United States (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved it as safe, but there is little evidence that it works, say the AAD.
Several sessions of acoustic wave therapy can help to treat cellulite.
Ionithermie cellulite reduction treatment involves covering the affected area with a special mud or clay, then wrapping it in plastic before applying an electric current. It is not proven to be effective.
Radiotherapy aims to reduce cellulite by heating it, but any results are short-term.
Laser-assisted liposuction removes small amounts of fat, but this may make dimpling worse. Research has not yet shown that it works to reduce cellulite.
Ultrasonic liposculpting targets and destroys fat, but again, research is lacking to show that it works.
Techniques that the AAD do not recommend include cryolipolysis, which freezes fat, mesotherapy, which involves injecting a mixture of substances under the skin.
Medications and creams
Some medications and creams have been proposed because they act on fatty tissues.
Caffeine dehydrates cells, making them less visible. This needs to be applied daily. Various caffeine creams for cellulite are available to purchase online.
Retinol may reduce the appearance of cellulite by thickening the skin. At least 6 months’ use is needed to see results. It is important to try a patch test first, because some people have experienced adverse effects, such as a racing heart. Retinol treatments are available to buy online.
Some researchers have proposed using medications that can improve cell metabolism and circulation, but these have not been tested or proven effective.
Alternative or supplemental therapies include caffeine, grape seed extract, or gingko biloba. These agents have been applied topically, orally, and by injection, but none of them have proven effective.
Some people wear compression garments to reduce the appearance of cellulite. These garments try to compress arteries and increase blood and lymph flow to reduce visible cellulite. Compression stockings and other garments may be purchased online.
Liposuction and dieting do not remove cellulite because it does not affect the structure of the connective tissue.
However, reducing fat intake will mean having less fat to push through the tissues. Eating a healthful, balanced diet and exercising may, therefore, reduce the appearance of cellulite.
A 2015 review of a variety of studies into the effectiveness of different techniques indicated that either the procedures did not work, or the research methodology was flawed.
For this reason, any promise to get rid of cellulite should be approached with caution.
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