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March 17, 2020

Cellulite – Facts & Myths

Everyone has it, everyone hates it and everyone’s on the quest to eradicate the dimpled nuisance that plagues our butts, bellies and thighs. Although nearly 90% of women experience cellulite sometime during their lifetime, misinformation about it is just as common as the condition itself. To help demystify this common skin woe and set the record straight, we are here to answer the burning questions bothering you.

Cellulite is simply fat — FALSE

Cellulite is mostly fat that has been damaged and is the result of poor circulation and drainage. Women’s fat cells are held in supporting fibres that are not as closely interconnected as men’s, and having an inactive lifestyle results in the fibres tightening their hold onto fat cells which leads to that stubborn, ugly dimpling we call cellulite. So do watch your weight and don’t be a couch potato or slave to your work desk!

Cellulite is hereditary — TRUE

Just as some families are susceptible to certain diseases, the possibility of extreme cellulite being present is no different. Heredity is non-modifiable risk factors for having cellulite. But hormones, diet and lifestyle play an important role too, so if your mum and grandmother have or had cellulite, it doesn’t mean to say that you can’t influence it. Therefore, the sooner you take care of yourself, the better you’ll end up looking.

Having cellulite means you are overweight — FALSE

This is one common, big fat myth (pun intended) that can be very frustrating for those people who are not overweight. Over 80 percent of women in the western world have cellulite to some degree, including skinny people and even supermodels! (Tyra Banks and Kendall Jenner both admitted to having cellulite). Keep on top of your weight to avoid extreme fluctuations or weight ‘yo-yo’ which stretches the connective tissue in your skin and makes cellulite worse. And if your weight’s fine, don’t try to lose more in a bid to reduce cellulite; the chances are it won’t make much of a difference.

Cellulite worsens with age — TRUE

Unfortunately, for the majority of us, this is true. Cellulite starts to form as soon as oestrogens levels increase at puberty, and it should be remembered that it is a degenerative condition. As the years pass, we tend to be less active, put on weight and the skin thinned out, all contributing factors to the worsening in appearance of any existing cellulite. Fat cells get bigger, supporting fibres become stretched, circulation decreases, more fluid gets trapped and the resultant puckering effect on the overlying skin worsens. To stop unnecessary amounts of toxins building up in trapped fluid, cut down on the worst offenders: caffeine, alcohol and nicotine.

Drinking water will improve cellulite — NOT EXACTLY

It won’t fix the condition but keeping yourself well hydrated is pertinent for good skin health. Most of us are more dehydrated than we think and it’s the outer organ, the skin, that usually suffers the most, as the water you do have is preferentially directed to keep the vital internal organs happy. Aim to drink 1.5 litres of water a day to maintain a healthy lymphatic system to remove waste products and keep water levels in your skin at an optimum level.

Exercise will smooth out cellulite — TRUE

Although it won’t get rid of it, as even athletes and regular gym goers can have cellulite, the fact that combining both cardiovascular and weight training exercises improves circulation, removes excess fluid and tones muscles, with skin looking smoother regardless of the cellulite. To stimulate your circulation and boost lymphatic drainage you need to think of your diaphragm and stomach muscles as a piston, so you need to aerobically exercise your whole body for around half an hour up to five times a week for best results. Include dancing, cycling, sit-ups, squats and leg curls and finish with long stretches.

A healthy diet will prevent cellulite — PERHAPS

A healthy diet is always a good idea, but it doesn’t mean that you won’t get cellulite at all. We do know that anti-oxidants neutralize free radicals, which are implicated in the cause of cellulite and improve micro-circulation. Essential fatty acids such as Omega 3 and 6 are also anti-inflammatory and reduce cells sticking together. Feast on lots of coloured fruit and vegetables, especially broccoli and blueberries, along with fish oil in your diet, while steering clear of junk food and artificial sweeteners.

Does cellulite creams help — NOT EXACTLY

No cellulite creams in the current market can get rid of cellulite but there are certain caffeine, collagen and lipid rich preparations that can improve the skin texture and bring you a whole lot closer to having ultra-smooth skin. Retinoid have long been considered one of the most miraculous ingredients for smoothing the texture of the skin, softening lines and wrinkles. This vitamin A derivative penetrates deep within the dermis and evokes stimulation right where collagen fibres are created and can therefore be somewhat useful for improving the appearance of cellulite.

Liposuction is the only answer — FALSE

The cottage cheese appearance of cellulite can be tackled with a focus; targeted treatment engaging acoustic shockwaves emitted by the FDA approved X-Wave system from BTL Aesthetics. Shockwave Therapy has been used for over 30 years in medical rehabilitation practices but has only recently found its way into the aesthetics space. The science behind it is actually quite simple. A hand-held device works your skin with extremely fast (and loud) pulses of sound waves in a jackhammer manner. These sound waves induce vibration and create a lot of movement to help break down the fibrous bands in your skin and its deeper tissues while ensuring unrivalled level of patient comfort and safety (Adatto et al., 2011). By triggering blood flow, X-Wave improves sluggish blood circulation, stimulates collagen remodelling, releases skin puckering and enhances elimination of toxins around the cells. In a nutshell, your body’s detoxifying and healing systems are called upon, and the resulting effect is smoother looking and firmer skin because the entire area has been shaken up.

If you’re troubled by both unwanted fat deposits and cellulite, fat freezing with the FDA approved CoolSculpting system can be safely combined with X-Wave to produce synergistic effects and better outcome.