Cellulite: Dimpled, puckered, indented skin that takes on a hill-and-valley appearance. Although it isn’t harmful, many of us would prefer to be without it. But what is it exactly? What does it do? We asked top plastic surgeons all there is to know about cellulite and how to banish the bulge for good.
The two types of cellulite:
Hard cellulite is more concentrated and closer to the muscle. It’s more common in athletic builds and is harder to see with the naked eye.
Soft cellulite doesn’t attach itself to the muscle but lives between the fibrous septae and the skin, which is why it gives a lumpy appearance. Because soft cellulite, which is more common, sits closer to the surface of the skin it’s the easier of the two to treat.
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Why it happens: One of the most common conditions that women of all ages, races and body shapes struggle with is cellulite. “While the entire process of why cellulite forms is not entirely understood (due to the nature of the condition), we do know that there are little microscopic fibers that connect from the deep part of the skin to fat. Those pull down the skin and the fat puffs around it, giving that dimpled or puckered look,” says Los Angeles plastic surgeon Steven Teitelbaum, MD. As skin loses collagen and elastin, it doesn’t have the ability to snap back into place, which can make cellulite more apparent.
The cellulite solution: Although there’s nothing noninvasive on the market that offers a permanent solution for getting rid of cellulite, there are things you can do, both at-home and at the doctor’s office, to reduce its appearance. First off, make sure your diet is packed with healthy foods and void of anything processed. A regular workout (at least three to four times per week) that incorporates exercises to burn fat and build muscle in the legs and butt, like squats and lunges, is essential.
If a revised diet and exercise plan doesn’t give enough change, seek out doctor-administered procedures. Newport Beach, CA, plastic surgeon Sanjay Grover, MD, says, “There are devices that utilize a combination of infrared light, suction, massage and radio-frequency energy to increase blood supply to the cellulitic area and to remodel collagen in the affected areas to improve the appearance of cellulite. Results may be temporary and require maintenance treatments.” San Diego, CA, plastic surgeon Joseph L. Grzeskiewicz, MD, adds, “One of the newer techniques to fight cellulite is Cellulaze.” It works by cutting the fibrous bands that cause cellulite with results seen immediately, which will continue to improve over the next three to 12 months. “It has some promise and can give some improvement in those with mild cellulite.”