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Woman pinching area with cellulite on thighs

Cellulite

Cellulite can be embarrassing and make you hesitant to wear your favorite shorts, skirts, and swimwear with confidence.

Unlike excess fat, the common condition causes dimpling in the skin. Many patients are interested in treatment for aesthetic reasons.

How bad is my cellulite?

Cellulite Is Categorized Based on Severity

Grade 1

Mild cellulite resembles an orange peel texture. Dimples, ranging between one and four, are superficial and the skin might appear to sag slightly.

Grade 2

Moderate cellulite is often described as creating a lumpy appearance. The number of depressions in this category falls between five to nine.

Grade 3

Ten or more deep sunken areas can be seen in the skin. Skin will appear severely draped and is often compared to a mattress top.

But what actually causes cellulite?

Genetically Prone Women Typically Develop Cellulite

Structure of Connective Tissue

A thin layer of connective tissue separates the skin from the underlying fat. This tissue has a criss-cross structure in men, but in women it is vertically arranged. This allows fat cells to protrude and visibly push up against the skin.

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Hormones

Some researchers believe the estrogen drop associated with menopause affects blood flow to the connective tissue. Other hormones, such as prolactin, insulin, thyroid hormones, and noradrenaline, are also involved in the production of cellulite.

Aging

The skin naturally thins and becomes less elastic as we age. This can contribute to the development of cellulite.

Does cellulite affect many women?

Nearly Everyone Has It!

*According to the National Institutes of Health.

Can I Prevent It in the First Place?

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Although skinny women can develop cellulite, maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk. Strive for a diet low in fat and carbohydrates, and avoid excess salt, which can lead to puffiness throughout the body.

Massage & Exfoliation

Some women have found that regular massages and exfoliating the skin with a loofah or dry brush discourage the development of cellulite. These activities stimulate blood and lymph flow and smooth the surface of the skin.

Remain Active

Regular exercise not only helps to control your weight but also encourages proper circulation. And if you sit for long periods at work, try using a standing desk.

Can a doctor help?

A Quick Screening Can Identify Cellulite

Cellulite is easy to spot, so your doctor will simply need to perform a visual examination.

During a consultation, the doctor can also assess the severity of the condition and learn more about your particular concerns.

Then what steps can I take?

Treatments Range from Creams to Laser Therapy & Surgical Procedures

Lotions & Creams

Products containing retinol and caffeine have been found to be somewhat effective at improving the appearance of cellulite. Caffeine dehydrates cells, making the indentations less visible, whereas retinol thickens the skin over time.

Laser Treatment

During laser treatment, the doctor inserts a small probe under the skin. Fibrous tissue is broken up and the laser also promotes collagen production.

Acoustic Wave Therapy

Acoustic wave therapy involves the application of sound waves through a specialized handheld device. Several sessions are usually necessary to see a noticeable improvement.

Subcision

Widely recognized as the longest-lasting solution, this minor surgical procedure breaks up the tough bands of tissue which cause cellulite to form. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that the results of subcision can last up to two years.

How do I get started?

Begin with a Consultation

By assessing the severity of your cellulite, a dermatologist can make the best recommendation for your needs. Schedule a consultation today and start feeling confident in the appearance of your thighs.

Want More Information?

Contact a Doctor Near You.