Cellulite. Just the word brings fear to the hearts of women everywhere. Fear of short shorts, fear of swim suit season, fear of sitting on a hard surface. If you have cellulite you know exactly what I’m talking about. But you’re not alone. Ninety percent of women suffer with some degree of cellulite. Millions of dollars are spent each year on products that purport to treat cellulite, most with disappointing results. In this blog I want to explain the causes of cellulite and also why most products don’t work. Finally, I want to talk about a procedure that does work.
Cellulite is extremely frustrating.
We see women all the time who eat right, exercise, have great bodies, but can’t make progress on their cellulite. This is because cellulite isn’t a problem caused by too much fat, it’s a problem with the structure of the skin. This is why women have cellulite, but most men don’t: their skin structure is different.
Cellulite has 3 components:
1. a general thinness of the skin, which worsens with age
2 pockets of trapped fat cells which cause the bulges of cellulite
3. fibers that connect the skin to the tissues below it, causing the dimpling associated with cellulite.
Image from http://www.cellulaze.com/about-cellulite.php
There are thousands of products and procedures available that claim to improve cellulite.
You can buy all sorts of creams, serums and lotions. Some of these products can produce a temporary improvement in the appearance of cellulite. They work by increasing the thickness of the skin by increasing its hydration. The first problem with these products is that as soon as you stop using them your skin (and cellulite) returns to the condition it was before you started using them. This means that you need to continuously apply the product to have any lasting result and that means a continuous stream of money out of your pocket. Another problem with the creams is that they only give a modest improvement in the appearance of the cellulite and they don’t do anything to improve the appearance of the deeper dimples.
There are also several noninvasive options to treat cellulite.
Most of these employ some sort of mechanical manipulation (rollers and or suction) and some also use light or laser therapies as well. Endermologie is a treatment that uses rollers and suction. This purportedly works by increasing the blood flow to the cellulite and stimulating collagen production. Each treatment takes 35 minutes and it costs about $100 per treatment. Ten to 12 treatments are needed before you see any results and fourteen are recommended to see full results. Monthly treatments are required to maintain results. Velasmooth uses the rollers and suction and also RF (RadioFrequency). The procedure supposedly increases the oxygen by heating the skin and this increases the metabolism in the fat cells in the treated area, leading to a reduction in the fatty tissue that contributes to cellulite. Eight to sixteen treatments are needed to see results and it also requires monthly maintenance with each treatment costing $150-$200. But, do they work? Before and after photos can be impressive and convincing, but hearing from someone who’s had it done can be even more so. RealSelf.com is a forum site where patients can share their experiences. They can rate a procedure as “worth it” or not. VelaSmooth has a 34% “worth it” rating. Endermologie fares a bit better with 61% rating it as “worth it.” The problem with these treatments is that they don’t do anything to change the main problem causing cellulite: the structure of the skin.
Why Cellulaze works…
Cellulaze is different. It targets the three causes of cellulite where they start, underneath the skin. This minimally invasive procedure involves passing the exclusive 3D SideLaze laser underneath the skin to melt the pockets of fat, smoothing the bulges. The laser is then used to cut through the fibrous connections, allowing the dimples to lift. The laser also stimulates collagen production and tightens the skin in the process. Just a single treatment is all that is needed to notice a significant improvement in the appearance of cellulite. The downside is that it does require patience, really good results may not be appreciable for up to 6 months *. That being said, improvement of the cellulite can continue for as long as a year after the procedure. The results can last, at least a year’s worth of improvement is expected *. There is some downtime associated with Cellulaze. Most people are back to work in 2-3 days and back to full exercise 3 weeks after the procedure. Cellulaze boasts a 71% “worth it” rating on RealSelf. At Imagen, we have performed hundreds of Cellulaze procedures with great results *.
Regardless of which treatment option you choose, you need to have realistic expectations. Significant improvement is possible, but no treatment is perfect. Be sure to do your research, both into the procedure and the provider. Ask to see their before and after photos, not those provided by the manufacturer of the device. To see Before and After photos of our patients at Imagen, please click here.Jennifer Tighe de Soto, MD is a cosmetic surgeon who is board certified through the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine. For more advice from Dr. de Soto on body sculpting and other aesthetic treatments please visit www.omahaliposuction.com where you can read her blog and see before and after photos of actual patients.