Although not a serious medical condition, cellulite is one of the most disturbing and difficult to handle skin problems, affecting mostly women and occurring, usually, after puberty. Scientifically called adiposis edematosa, cellulite is not the same as cellulitis, the inflammation of the skin that can lead to severe complications.

WHAT IS CELLULITE?

The easiest way to define it is “orange peel skin,” as cellulite makes skin look lumpy and dimpled. Affecting the areas where the underlying fat deposits are more pronounced, the condition is thought to be the result of a series of factors, although the main cause is still unknown.

Most noticeable on thighs, buttocks and abs, cellulite forms when fat cells accumulate underneath the skin or enlarge and push against the dermis. The connective tissue cords that tether the skin to muscles maintain a relatively constant length, pulling the skin down, so when the volume of fat tissue lying between the dermis and muscles increases, the uneven appearance occurs.

CAN CELLULITE BE REMOVED?

Over 80% of all women develop cellulite at a certain point in their lives, so it’s only logical for the condition to be seriously investigated by companies producing skin care products or offering skin care treatments. However, despite the large number of solutions available and despite the remarkable results claimed and advertised by these treatments, few are actually able to reduce the uneven aspect and restore the healthy skin appearance.

Still, this doesn’t mean that cellulite is untreatable. A complex approach to this problem can be effective, as long as it takes into consideration its potential causes. Given that cellulite is triggered by a combination of factors, including hormone levels, fat accumulation, impaired blood and lymph circulation, sedentariness and inadequate eating habits, any treatment that claims to remove cellulite or to diminish the orange peel aspect should target a wide range of causes.

Unfortunately, creams, gels and other topical products are rarely effective, as even if they could improve cell function in the superficial skin layers and enhance circulation and the removal of toxins and excess water from these cells, they’re unable to work in the deeper layers. In fact, fat cells are distributed in several layers, so applying a treatment that targets just the skin’s surface is rarely efficient.

A better approach is to use a combination of lifestyle changes and internal and external treatments. Switching to a healthier diet of minimal processed foods, unhealthy carbs and fats; being more active in order to drop excess fat and enhance circulation; and getting cellulite massages can all help in smoothing the skin, but more advanced therapeutic options are more likely to bring better results. Such options include heat therapy, radio frequency therapy, ultrasound therapy, magnetic therapy, endermology, radial waves therapy and electrical stimulation.

Drugs that target the fat tissue underneath skin can also be used, alternatives being numerous: methylxanthines (such as caffeine, beta-agonists, adrenaline), pentoxifylline, alpha-antagonists, rutin, ginkgo biloba and amino acids. Also, according to recent studies, a combination of bipolar radiofrequency, infrared heat and pulsatile suction therapy provides a beneficial effect on improving the skin’s aspect and reducing the circumference of the thighs and abdominal area by smoothing the tissue affected by cellulite.

by  Andreea Macoveiciuc