Can you Treat Cellulite?

Cellulite is a topographic skin change that occurs in most women after puberty.  It shows up as dimpling and unevenness in the skin of the pelvic region, abdomen, and legs.  Many don’t realize it is as common as it is, but it is thought to occur in 80-90% of females.  Although it is rare, it can happen in men as well.   When it is present in men it is often associated with an androgen-deficient disease like Klinefelter’s hypogonadism, or in men post- castration or going through estrogen therapy.

What causes cellulite?

This is often the question on women’s minds.  There is no simple answer, but it is believed to be due to a complex interaction of hormones and genetics.  Estrogen actually plays a dominant role in the formation of cellulite.  Other hormones that play a role include insulin, catecholamines, thyroid hormones, and prolactin.

Changes in the circulation and composition of the area is also been cited to impact the development of cellulite.  It forms when fat deposits sit side by side with tough collagen fibers that are anchored to the muscle beneath.  When the fibers pull tight or the fatty area grows large, the fat deposits may bulge.  Furthermore, cellulite is related to the structure within the skin so even slender women can have cellulite.


Who is most at risk for cellulite?

1. Genetics: if your mother has cellulite then unfortunately you are more likely to have it as well

2. Race: white women are more likely to have cellulite than Asian women

3. Age: your risk Increases with age and hormonal changes associated with pregnancy

Factors that put you at higher risk but that you can control are:

·         Yo-yo dieting

·         An excessively high-carb diet

·         Increased total body fat

·         Being inactive

·         Fluid retention or being dehydrated

·         Frequent exposure to UV rays can make your skin thinner and less resilient, making the appearance of cellulite even worse

Can cellulite be treated?

One of the easiest way to target cellulite is with weight loss.  Decreasing your fat composition can decrease tension on the skin, reducing the appearance of cellulite. Topical retinol creams, as well as methylxanthine, or caffeine, creams have also been shown to have an impact. The creams are thought to act by breaking down fat but some studies question whether these substances effectively even penetrate the skin.  Many medispas and dermatology practices use machines that combine suction and massage to temporary reduces the appearance of cellulite, but this is only a short term solution.