CELLULITE….What the …. is it? How Do I Get Rid of it?

If you have cellulite you are certainly NOT alone. Most women and many men have the same problem. Some have a very mild case of it so it is not very noticeable and some have severe cases of it that they do not feel they can wear shorts or even tighter clothing for fear that the cellulite will show through the clothes.

Some researchers and physicians believe cellulite is a normal fat distribution that occurs more in women than men and can be linked (not necessarily caused by) to hormones, genetics, diet, and lifestyle choices (such as smoking, obesity, dehydration and lack of exercise).

Cellulite is an enlargement of normal adipose cells in the superficial layer of our skin. Everyone has these fat cells but when they enlarge and stretch the skin and tether the normal intermittent fibrous bands in our skin, the end result is a dimpling appearance in our skin.

Cellulite typically becomes noticeable during adolescence during weight gain and increase in circulating hormones. This does not occur in everyone and even occurs in people who are thin.

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to prevent cellulite specifically if you are predisposed to it with the genetics of your body type and fat cell type. However,….sensible lifestyle choices of regular exercise, not smoking tobacco, adequate hydration, and healthier food choices of dark green vegetables and fewer carbohydrates will all help to deter and minimize the sometimes inevitable development of cellulite. Maintaining a healthy (not thin but healthy for your genetics) weight is key.

The treatment options are varied and many, and again unfortunately not very effective. There is currently an FDA approved laser for the treatment of cellulite but the results are minimal and subjective in my opinion. Liposuction while it improves the contour and shape to perhaps make cellulite appear less noticeable, it can actually also worsen the appearance of cellulite! Mesotherapy, injection of various medications and vitamins have not been proven to reduce cellulite and fat and can cause more irregularities, swelling, skin changes, and infection.

Spa treatments and external massage and wraps are temporary. The results are most likely due to temporary removal of the water content of the superficial and deep skin and fat layers.

Creams and lotions are extremely tempting but costly and a waste of your money!

What lies ahead for cellulite treatment? I know I sound like a skeptic and a naysayer, but the truth is there is ongoing research for certain wavelengths of light (lasers) that may disrupt fat cells and cause them to shrink but these are only at the research stages.

DR KOO’S ADVICE: Try to prevent cellulite from worsening by staying within your ideal weight zone to begin with; make healthy food choices and engage in regular aerobic exercise with weight training incorporated. This doesn’t mean you can’t occasionally eat or drink what you like, but key concepts are limits, portions, and continue to make the right choice EVERYDAY NOT JUST WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE DIETING.