Cellulite Treatments: What Works And What Doesn't


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Cellulite, a term for lumpy and dimpled skin around the thighs, hips, buttocks, and abdomen, can be a cause of distress when it appears. Although cellulite isn’t a serious medical condition and is just caused by normal fat pushing against connective tissue according to WebMD, its appearance can be unsightly and the condition has spawned numerous remedies in an attempt to solve the cellulite problem.

For those seeking treatment for cellulite, the question is, what works and what doesn’t?

There are numerous options and the most popular ones will be covered in brief here, but most experts agree that the best treatment for cellulite is simple exercise that includes aerobic training and strength training and a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fiber. For options outside of this common advice, here are the some common avenues to try, with caveats on whether they’ve shown to be effective or not.

Laser Treatment. This FDA-approved treatment for cellulite is often combined with radiofrequency to target tissue beneath the skin that is the cause of the cellulite. Treatment techniques can vary. For instance, VelaShape uses a triple-action formula of mechanical massage, radio frequency, and laser light, while another system uses a combined tissue massage with diode laser energy.

Mesotherapy is a treatment for cellulite in which medications—homeopathic, traditional pharmaceuticals, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids—are injected into the skin and the fat, breaking down the fat to relieve cellulite. It may slightly improve the appearance of cellulite but carries risks of infection, swelling, and soreness.

Liposuction is a surgical procedure designed to remove fat deposits from the body. Liposuction, though as WebMD notes, removes deep fat and not cellulite, which is just beneath the skin. It also carries risks of excess skin, swelling, infection, and scarring.

Cellulite creams have become a popular and easy way to attempt to treat cellulite. Many contain aminophylline, a prescription drug used to treat asthma which may have an effect on the appearance of cellulite by narrowing blood vessels and forcing water from the skin, which is dangerous for people with circulatory problems. There is also the risk of an allergic reaction to aminophylline. No scientific studies those far have shown that these creams are effective.

Cellulite is superficial fat, which the body loses last even if someone is vigorously exercising and eating a healthy diet. There are treatments, some more effective and some more costly than others, but experts still agree that the best way to treat cellulite is simple exercise that includes aerobic training and strength training and a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fiber.

Image via Wikimedia Commons