The Ultimate Guide to Cellulite: Part II How to get rid of Cellulite? Treatments and Preventions
Here’s the second part to the Ultimate Guide to Cellulite, you can find Part I here.
First things first, if you’re overweight, losing weight healthily and steadily will absolutely reduce the appearance of cellulite, as will toning up the area. However, there is no evidence to support that liposuction or losing weight actually reduces the amount of cellulite you have. This is because this removes deep fat tissue, not the fat cells just below the skin that are causing the problem. In fact, dramatic weight loss or liposuction may increase the appearance of cellulite because the skin will be loser. Always lose weight slowly and healthily and pair it with reasonable exercise. Eating a healthy, balanced diet, exercising and making sure you are properly hydrated may be your best bet when trying to tackle this subcutaneous fat.
“At this point, there is no outstanding treatment for cellulite.” However, there are several techniques that some women swear by. Bear in mind though, none of these treatments have ever been supported by scientific literature.
Physical or Mechanical Therapies for Cellulite
There are a variety of physical or mechanical therapies including; pneumatic massage, heat therapy, ultrasound, radio frequency therapy, magnetic therapy, endermologie and electrical stimulation. Whoa. Those sounds scary, lets go through them one by one.
Pneumatic compression massages can reduce the appearance of cellulite probably by reducing fluid in the area. However, the effect is very short-lived. As you’d expect, heat therapy or thermotherapy, is when you use heat to stimulate blood flow to the area – it has never been shown to reduce cellulite. Since ultrasound uses venous stimulation to improve circulation it is used for the treatment of cellulite. While there may be individual claims that ultrasound works, again, there is no empirical evidence to support this. Radio frequency therapy is a relative new attempt at curing cellulite. It uses deep and controlled heating of fatty tissues and is supposed to tighten the tissue and promote draining of fat through the lymphatic system by increasing circulation. Many people have claimed to see a mild, temporary improvement – but again, there is no significant scientific evidence that this works.
Your blood contains iron, so when magnets are placed on the skin it draws to blood to that area. Magnetic therapy draws on this principle and believes that the increased blood flow helps oxygenize the area and flush out toxins, thereby reducing cellulite. This seems to be one of the least popular cellulite techniques. Endermologie is a suction massage technique using two rollers that knead the skin as it is drawn into the machine using a low-pressure vacuum. The technique is supposed to improve the architecture of subcutaneous fat, increase lymphatic draining and circulation. There is evidence to show that the therapy changes the structure of connective tissue, but this doesn’t seem to have a significant effect on the appearance of cellulite. Electrical stimulation consists of applying electrodes to the skin and stimulating the underlying tissue with electrical impulses, this is supposed to increase muscle tone, flexibility of the skin and blood flow, thereby reducing the appearance of cellulite. There have been no published studies that provide evidence to support this.
Pharmacological Therapies for Cellulite
There are also drugs on the market that claim to reduce cellulite by acting on your fatty tissues. These include; aminophylline, methylxanthines, pentoxifylline, beta-agonists, alpha-antagonists, amino acids, ginkgo biloba, rutin, indian chestnut and aminophylline. These drugs can be administered in a variety of different ways, normally topically, orally or by injection, lets go through them individually.
Many cellulite creams contain aminophylline, a drug normally used for the treatment of asthema. The apparent effect of this drug on cellulite may be due to narrowing blood vessels and dehydrating the skin. This can be dangerous, especially for people with poor circulation and is definitely not a healthy way to reduce cellulite. It may also cause dangerous allergic reactions. Methylxanthines are found in many cellulite creams, most notably Neutrogena Anti-Cellulite Treatment. Methylxanthines, such as caffeine and theophylline, supposedly break down fats below the skin when applied topically. Some studies have found a very mild reduction in cellulite when using these creams.
Pentoxifylline is a drug that is supposed to increase circulation in specific areas, so it is marketed to reduce cellulite the same way as many of the mechanical techniques. Beta-agonists, which mimic the affect of epinephrine and norepinephrine, increase heart rate and blood pressure, and have been thought to act on fatty acids to reduce cellulite. Conversely, alpha-antagonists, or alpha-blockers, work in the opposite way to reduce epinephrine and norepinephrine. Many creams also include amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, the idea being that they will help build new muscle and stimulate metabolic processes that break down fat.
Ginkgo biloba is a tree native to China with various applications in traditional medicine. It is advertised to increase circulation and promote metabolism of fats. There is no evidence that it helps break down fats and even though it may improve circulation, it does not do this locally, so has no effect on cellulite. Rutin is believed to be an antioxidant and is supposed to reduce cellulite by flushing out toxins – there is no evidence of this. Finally, Indian Chestnut is also supposed to improve circulation locally, but again, no studies have proven it to be an effective treatment for cellulite.
Compression garments may be worn to reduce the appearance of cellulite and increase blood and lymph flow to the area. While there is no evidence that these garments actually reduce cellulite or permanently reduce the appearance, if your cellulite shows through clothing then they will definitely help to smooth out your skin underneath while you are wearing them.
Mesotherapy as a Treatment for Cellulite
Another treatment is Mesotherapy, which was originally developed to relieve the pain associated with inflammatory skin conditions. Mesotherapy involves the subcutaneous injection of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes. The idea is this may break down the subcutaneous fat reducing the appearance of cellulite. However, it may also cause swelling, infection and strange contours in the skin.
Lasers as a Treatment for Cellulite
Lasers are FDA approved for the treatment of cellulite, but again, there is no evidence that they work. The theory behind using laser energy is that it can break up the fibers behind the skin so fat can smooth out.
The market for cellulite reduction treatments is over $60 million! But the best cure still seems to be to live a healthy lifestyle. I really wish I could provide a miracle cure, but really, when is anything to do with health, exercise and physical appearance easy? In order to prevent your cellulite from getting worse, eat healthy, low fat foods (fruits, veggies, fiber), exercise regularly, and avoid stress, dramatic fluctuations in body fat, smoking and … tight underwear!
Stay tuned for part III of the Ultimate Guide to Cellulite where I will talk about the future of cellulite treatment and prevention.