Cellulite is a common nuisance that most people—women in particular—fear developing as they age or as the result of weight gain. But to more clearly understand what it entails, you first need to learn a little bit of anatomy.
Under your skin lies what is called “septae,” a network of strands of connective tissue that hold your body’s fat in place. Depending on your genetics, your septae may or may not be strong and woven tightly together. If the septae are weak and loosely woven, fat can peek out between them and cause rippling or dimpling on the surface of your skin. This physical symptom, which presents itself on your skin, is what we call cellulite.
Unfortunately, several causes of cellulite are outside of our control. Women are more like than men to have cellulite due to genetics that often result in having fewer and less tightly arranged septae. Females also have hormones that can affect the strength of their septae and the size of their fat cells, in addition to having thinner skin that more readily shows the effects of cellulite. Another cause of cellulite is aging. As your skin loses its elasticity and begins to thin, it becomes easier to physically see any inconsistencies in the texture of your fat cells and septae.
While weight gain is also known to make cellulite more conspicuous, it is by no means a determining factor; lean people can develop cellulite just as easily, depending on whether it runs in their family. However, leading an inactive lifestyle, which can lead to gaining weight, can increase the likelihood of developing cellulite. The changes undergone by a woman’s body during pregnancy also increase the chances of having cellulite.
To decrease your likelihood of developing cellulite, make sure that you eat a proper diet of nutritious foods, in addition to exercising regularly. In addition to the overall improvement it will have on your health, it can increase your metabolism, which can slow fat development. Be sure also to drink lots of water and stay hydrated.
There are cellulite treatment options, ranging from non-invasive to surgical. Weight-loss is the first option, though its results vary widely depending on the elasticity of your skin. If your skin has much of its elasticity and tends to return to normal after you lose weight, you could see a reduction in cellulite. However, if hormones and aging have reduced your skin’s resiliency, your skin can sag and make cellulite look more noticeable in appearance than before.
There are also topical Cellulite Treatments, such as anti-cellulite lotions and creams, that claim to have short-term improvements. However, their effectiveness is often called into question; most merely contain caffeine, vitamin A derivatives, retinol, herbs, or even aminophylline—a prescription drug used to treat asthma that can cause allergic reactions in some patients. Aminophylline in particular may produce temporary results by forcing water from the skin and narrowing blood vessels, but this can be dangerous for people with circulatory problems. Other topical treatments include massage, suction, and radiofrequency, which again produce temporary, short-lived results that rely on frequent sessions to maintain their results.
Despite popular belief, liposuction is actually not a preferred treatment option for cellulite. Liposuction removes fat from the subcutaneous layer of the skin—the layer below the fat layer where cellulite develops. In fact, liposuction has actually been known to worsen the appearance of cellulite in most cases.
Instead, Cellulite Laser Treatments such as Cellulaze often prove the most effective. Using a small laser tube that is inserted under the patient’s skin, pockets of fat are melted and the fibers of the septae are softened. While it often results in a reduction in cellulite, cellulite may not disappear completely. It also takes time, money, and patience, so you’ll need to go into the procedure with realistic expectations for what it can do to improve your skin’s appearance.
Before undergoing any major medical procedure, you need to have a complete, thorough understanding of your condition and treatment options. At Laser Lipo and Vein, we are happy to serve as a resource for our patients, providing all of the information needed to make an informed decision regarding your health and well-being. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment with our seasoned, knowledgeable cosmetic surgeons.