You aren't alone if you develop a familiar-looking 'orange peel skin' or dimpling in areas like the buttocks and upper thighs. As reported in Scientific American, cellulite affects 90% of women and 10% of men, mostly in modern countries.
Contrary to popular belief, cellulite doesn't only affect overweight people. On the contrary, even someone with a low body mass index can have cellulite.
What is cellulite, at what age does it tend to appear, and what are the latest cutting-edge treatments that will enable you to zap it into oblivion?
What is Cellulite?
Cellulite is simply fat cells that push up against the skin, while the tough connective bands that tether the skin to the muscle beneath it pull downwards. The result is an unsightly dimpling that it is impossible to 'exercise away' or eliminate by simply losing weight.
Science shows that cellulite is fat; no more, no less. It isn't a special type of fat or a disease. In women, this layer of fat and connective tissue is arranged vertically, increasing the chance of the fat layer protruding.
In men, fat cells are arranged in a criss-cross structure, which is why men generally have less dimpling.
There are several factors that can contribute to the appearance of cellulite, including genetics, being overweight, and having decreased estrogen levels.
As women get older, estrogen levels begin to decline. Usually, you start noticing cellulite between the ages of 25 and 35.
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Why Are Lower Estrogen Linked to Cellulite?
When estrogen levels decrease, women lose receptors in their blood vessels and thighs, affecting their circulation. Less oxygen and nutrition flow to these areas, and the result is a decrease in the production of the basic building block of skin: collagen.
At around the same time, fat cells increase in size and protrude through the collagen. This process can occur not only in the buttocks and things but also in the knee and hip ('saddlebag') zones.
Targeting Cellulite with the Help of a Plastic Surgeon
If you want to eliminate cellulite quickly (in a matter of hours) and efficiently, the top approach has got to be Cellfina. It enables you to have complete dimple-free buttocks and thighs in just a few sessions.
Cellfina, which is FDA-approved, essentially involves disrupting the tough bands that cause dimpling using a non-surgical, minimally invasive device. The latter uses a microblade technique to break up and loosen the connective bands beneath your skin.
What Does Cellfina Treatment involve?
Your plastic surgeon will usually apply a marker to the areas to be targeted, then inject a numbing agent into the skin. The Cellfina apparatus will then be applied directly to each dimple, and a microneedle will break up the band.
Your doctor then similarly targets each dimple. You can expect a slight swelling for between one and three weeks, but after about a month, you will notice that the targeted dimples are gone.
Minimal downtime is involved. You can usually drive yourself home after the procedure and commence your usual workout routine in seven to 14 days (or as advised by your doctor). The effects last for up to three years, though you may need a touch-up after this time.
If, in addition to cellulite, you have small areas of stubborn fat, then treatment such as BodyFX (which blends radiofrequency energy, deep tissue heating, energy pulses, and light vacuum pressure) may be ideal for you.
This treatment sends high-voltage energy to fat cells to stimulate the production of collagen. It zaps fat cells away and targets the bands that cause cellulite, it can also smoothen areas like the buttocks. It is not painful at all and takes around 30 minutes per session.
Of course, if you are targeting several areas at once—including the buttocks, knees, abdomen, back, and love handles- you will need several sessions. Usually, patients are advised to have between six and 12 sessions.
You will then be advised to follow a healthy diet and to stick to your workout so that fat does not return. You can always return for a little more 'zapping' if it does.
Acoustic Wave Therapy
This therapy also involves the use of a handheld device. However, this time, soundwaves are used to tighten skin and break up dimpling.
Like Cellfina and body contouring, downtime is next to nil, and it can be considered a "lunchtime treatment."
Around four or five sessions are required, and often, therapists recommend complementary treatments for optimal results.
Talk to your surgeon about complementary treatments if you have additional areas you would like to treat—including areas of stubborn fat in places like the arms, back, thighs, knees, and belly.
Some patients opt for Cellfina alongside other bigger operations, such as liposuction. Others opt for another non-invasive treatment called CoolSculpting, which targets areas of stubborn fat by literally 'freezing' fat cells.
Your doctor will best be able to help you address issues you are unhappy with and suggest the best schedule for the different procedures you choose to have.
Does Diet Matter?
As mentioned, cellulite is mainly caused by genetic and hormonal factors, and even slim people can have dimpling in typical areas like the buttocks. However, as a whole, sticking to a healthy, Mediterranean-style diet is a good idea because gaining weight can lead to fat cell formation.
Aim to consume a high-fiber diet comprising fruits and vegetables, lean protein, pulses, whole grains, and healthy Omega-3-rich essential fats.
Cellulite is a bugbear for the vast majority of women. It can be caused by genetics and hormone levels. The good news is that there are many effective ways to say goodbye to cellulite and keep it off. These include Cellfina, Body FX (body contouring), and Acoustic Wave Therapy.
All these treatments are non-invasive and long-lasting, though you may need a touch-up after a few years if you notice that dimples reappear.