Did you know that Americans spend about $10 billion a year on cosmetic treatments to improve the look of cellulite? Everything from topical cellulite creams to surgical procedures contributes to that total. But how much do we know about this so-called enemy, anyway?
What is Cellulite?
Cellulite is nothing more than fat deposits under the skin. These fat deposits are completely normal and there’s nothing unhealthy or abnormal about them, even though most of us aren’t fond of the appearance.
If Cellulite Normal Fat, Why Does it Look Different?
The dimpled “cottage cheese” look of cellulite is caused by the fat layer pushing up against their neighboring connective tissues—typically in or under the skin layers. The fat, in less-than-flattering terms, essentially bulges through the tissues. Imagine a water balloon filled with Jell-o. Now imagine pressing it up against a net. This gives you an idea of how our normal fat and normal connective tissues join forces to create the dreaded cellulite.
These deposits are most noticeable below the waist, in the lower limbs and buttocks. Having cellulite does not mean that you are overweight. Approximately 90% of all females over 18 have or will develop cellulite in their lifetimes.
What Causes Cellulite?
Cellulite can be hereditary. Since it is a normal part of our body make up, if other women in your family have it, chances are you’ll have it, too. There are also many other physical and lifestyle influences that can cause you to develop cellulite, including:
- Poor diet
- Fad or yo-yo dieting
- Lack of physical exercise
- Slow metabolism
- Hormonal changes (menopause, pregnancy, birth control)
- Dehydration—chronic dehydration of the body can cause fat cells to store water
- Thickness/elasticity of skin—the less elastic the skin, the more it can pucker or dimple
- Total body fat
What Can Be Done About Cellulite?
There are many options for combatting cellulite. Some are effective and some are not, so be sure to do plenty of research on your own if you plan to try any of them. Here is our list of “leave it” and “love it” cellulite treatments.
- Topical creams can actually contain less-than-safe ingredients and are just plain ineffective. As we’ve discussed, cellulite is formed in the deeper fat and tissue layers beneath the skin. Applying a cream to the skin’s surface simply won’t help.
- Liposuction was not designed to reduce cellulite, and it doesn’t. It can exacerbate the problem by leaving the skin looking more dimpled and rumpled.
- Massage and spa treatments are short-lived. Many of these treatments only remove excess water from the body or use massage to increase circulation and temporary suppleness of the skin. This can make the skin look firmer and less-dimpled but, in a day or two or less, it resumes its natural appearance.
- Mesotherapy from Europe involves injecting vitamins, minerals and other substances into the tissues just under the skin. While it may have some effectiveness, it also carries serious risks of inflammation, infection, and irregular results.
- Erchonia’s Verjú laser system is the only low-level laser device on the market to receive FDA market clearance for the appearance of cellulite. The effectiveness of this laser has actually been proven through a double-blind, multi-site, placebo-controlled study. You can find certified physicians around the country who use Erchonia’s Verjú laser system to help patients combat cellulite. A Verjú procedure is non-invasive, and consists of harmless laser beams being swept across the affected areas for 30 minutes, followed by 2 minutes of massage. There are no side effects or downtime after the procedure. What makes this treatment so effective is the low-level laser’s physiological effect on the fat cells and skin tissue. Some fat is actually flushed through the body’s natural detoxification system, and the laser stimulates collagen production in the skin, leading to better elasticity and strength in the connective tissues that lend a hand to cellulite’s appearance.
- A healthy lifestyle is what most experts and scientists agree is the best cure for cellulite. Even with the effective assistance of the Verjú system, exercise, a wholesome diet, and plenty of water intake will help you maintain and continue to improve results. The best exercise programs for reducing cellulite include a combination of aerobics and strength training.
If you have cellulite, just remember that it’s completely normal and you’re in good company—about 90% of post-adolescent women, and even some men have it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a run for its money with low-level laser treatments and a commitment to a healthy lifestyle.