We women are sick and tired of the dimples that seem to cling to our thighs; they’re not cute, happy dimples, but rather ugly “cottage cheesy” cellulite. We want beautiful, smooth legs that we can be proud to show off, and not feel that it’s necessary to wear shorts or a sarong over our bathing suits in order to protect spectators from such a dreadful sight. Unfortunately, there is no permanent cure for cellulite, but there are treatments available that may (and I do mean “may”) help some women get just a little bit of temporary improvement. Treatments for cellulite range from harmless and barely effective to potentially harmful with no proven effectiveness, but some are worth looking into.
What is Cellulite?
Believe it or not, the fat in cellulite is just plain old fat, the same as any other fat on your body. The term cellulite became popular in 1973 by an author and spa owner, and refers to the dimpled appearance of the skin seen in areas of the hips, thighs, and buttocks. As you may know, cellulite is more common in women because of the way a women's body distributes fat. Experts estimate that about 85% of women develop cellulite. Because men have thicker skin, which is much better at hiding the fat beneath, it’s not likely that you’ll see a lot of men with cellulite.
Cellulite is perfectly normal and isn’t a disease, therefore, there is no cure. There are, however, options available to reduce cellulite and its appearance. Sticking to a regular exercise routine, eating a healthy diet lower in calories and fat, and maintaining a healthy weight may work as a cellulite treatment for some people.
Losing weight will most definitely reduce the proportion of fat in your body, thus reducing the proportion of the fat that's trapped in cellulite, but you may still notice some amount of cellulite on your trouble areas. This is due to the fact that the appearance of cellulite is genetically predetermined and in some cases diet and exercise don’t make a significant improvement.
As you know, there is a number of creams available claiming to reduce and eliminate the appearance of cellulite. Generally, if a cream is to be effective the results are modest and usually not permanent, but some experts suggest if you’re determined to give the creams a try, it’s a good idea to look for those products that contain caffeine or theophylline. While some studies suggest that these ingredients may have an effect on cellulite and cause fat cells to dissolve, other studies disagree. Some experts even go so far as to say that applying a cream to your cellulite will not be effective since your skin was designed as a protective barrier – to keep things out. That being said, there are many people who have used cellulite creams and believe that they have seen results. If you want to try a cellulite cream, it’s strongly recommended that you purchase a less expensive cream, as usually the ingredients don’t differ from the more expensive brands.
A very well-know treatment for cellulite is Endermologie, a deep-massage, which uses a device that suctions the skin with a vacuum and kneads it with a set of rollers. Some studies have shown the deep-tissue massage can break up some of the fibrous bands, assist with circulation, and improve the appearance of the skin. While this treatment may work for some women, the effects don't last and you'll need regular maintenance treatments to keep the desired appearance.
Typically, Endermologie sessions can cost anywhere from $100 to several hundred dollars, and are performed weekly, usually taking about an hour per session.
Some people have seen excellent results with this treatment, but it can be costly, therefore, it’s best to go this route only if you have a significant amount of disposable income.
Mesotherapy, involves a series of injections into small pockets of cellulite. They contain a solution (a combination of homeopathic medications and supplements) that is supposed to break down fat and flush it away. While this treatment is widely accepted in Europe, it has not been scientifically studied in the United States and many experts are skeptical of its effectiveness.
Due to the lack of scientific proof, this treatment is not recommended, as the risk for side effects from several injections is certainly a possibility. Additionally, Mesotherapy can be quite expensive, with individual sessions costing perhaps hundreds of dollars.
To date there has been no proof that any combination of herbs or vitamins is known to be effective in treating cellulite. If you’d like to attempt this treatment, however, it’s a good idea to check with your health care provider first, since it can cause dangerous interactions with other medications. Don’t let the term “natural” mislead you; even natural substances can be dangerous.
The average woman may think that liposuction is the perfect remedy for cellulite since what they’re trying to do is eliminate fat and that’s what liposuction does, right? Unfortunately, liposuction is designed to eliminate fat that’s deep beneath the skin. As you know, cellulite is nearly right at the surface of the skin. Additionally, it’s the fibrous bands that give cellulite its dimply appearance, so eliminating the fat alone won’t really give the results you’re looking for.
So what’s the Answer?
In the end, there’s not a whole lot of evidence to show that any treatment is effective in treating cellulite. If you’re at your wits end and are determined to do something, it’s best to experiment with a treatment that poses no health risks. Keep in mind, however, that the results will likely be modest and you shouldn’t invest too much money – at least until a treatment is developed whose results are proven effective.
My advice is to do the best you can with diet and exercise – and creams if you choose – but the next time you get really discouraged, pick up a tabloid magazine and take a look at some of the photos of the “perfect” and “beautiful” celebrities; they have cellulite too, and they also have endless amounts of cash. If even the richest women in the world are dealing with cellulite there’s a good chance we average women will have to accept it (at least some amount of cellulite) too.
Susan Megge is the founder of http://www.40isbeautiful.com , a website designed to assist women as they approach and experience menopause. Susan, a health and fitness expert started experiencing symptoms of menopause several years ago and researched various avenues to deal with these symptoms naturally. This led to her discovery that exercise and fitness play a crucial role in making menopause a very manageable, and even wonderful time in a woman's life. Susan Megge is the author of “Being Beautiful Beyond 40, " a book dedicated to helping women to be inspired, confident and beautiful as they approach menopause.