Cellulite treatments: What works and what doesn’t?

Cellulite affects most women. Treatment options can be effective, but usually need to be repeated.

As long as women have been conscious of the presence of cellulite on their bodies, the search has been on to find effective treatments. People have gone to great lengths to eradicate cellulite. Gaining a greater understanding of what causes it and the treatments available can help women effectively address cellulite. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, cellulite affects up to 85 percent of adult women compared to only 10 percent of men. Many people think that cellulite is simply fat, but it is much more complex. Cellulite is caused by the fibrous tethers, known as septae, that run through fat and pull on the fascia that lies underneath the dermal layer of skin. Women’s connective tissue isn’t as tightly formed as men’s, so their fat can push through more easily, creating the ridges and Òcottage cheeseÓ effect synonymous with cellulite. The Mayo Clinic says that no single treatment for cellulite is entirely effective. Most treatments, at best, can only temporarily improve the appearance of cellulite. Doctors use a variety of techniques to help reduce cellulite Ñ with results that can last a year or longer, states the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. ¥ Laser treatments: The ABCS says this treatment uses a tiny laser probe inserted just beneath the skin through a small incision. The laser heats tissues beneath the skin’s surface to release some septae, reduce thickness of the subcutaneous fat layer and stimulate the production of collagen. The procedure is typically performed using local anesthesia and down time is one to two days. ¥ Subcision: This procedure involves a dermatologist or plastic surgeon inserting a needle just under the skin to break up the tough septae, states the American Academy of Dermatology Association. The results may last two years or longer. ¥ Acoustic wave therapy: This features radio frequencies that can reduce the appearance of cellulite over the course of several treatment sessions. Some radio frequency treatments are paired with infrared light or electromagnetic fields, says ASPS. These energy-based treatments are delivered through the skin and are noninvasive. ¥ Topical treatments: Topical therapies use rollers or vacuums to ÒkneadÓ the skin and subcutaneous fat, helping to break down the tethers. Creams and lotions may only boost up collagen to mask cellulite underneath. As a result, they’re not typically effective at reducing cellulite. Women are urged to speak to a dermatologist or plastic surgeon about their options in regard to treating cellulite. 

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