Are you troubled by cellulite? Well, you’re not alone. Learn about the science behind cellulite and how treatment options stack up
By Kyle Gordon
How common is cellulite?
“Cellulite is extraordinarily common. Most women, if not all, have it to some degree,” says Dr. Vince Bertucci, president of the Canadian Society for Dermatologic Surgery. It is believed that approximately 90 percent of women have cellulite.
Does gaining weight cause cellulite?
“Weight is not necessarily a factor,” says Dr. Bertucci. “You can have people who are very thin and still have cellulite. Weight loss is not a treatment for cellulite.” Although not fully understood, cellulite is thought to be caused by the protrusion of fat against the skin while the connective tissue holds down other parts of the skin, leading to a classic orange-peel appearance. Unlike fat cells that cause us to fluctuate in size, these stubborn cells cannot be burned as fuel. Therefore, dieting and exercise won’t really help.
Treatment options for cellulite
According to Dr. Landells, there isn’t a whole lot we can do. Creams claiming to reverse the appearance of cellulite tend to be less effective than we’d like. Endermologie, a vacuum-like suction and massage roller that plumps the skin to smooth out dimples, and VelaSmooth, infrared and conducted RF energies that heat the skin to increases the metabolism of stored energy and shrink the size of the fat chamber, have not impressed Dr. Bertucci. Liposuction and Mesotherapy, injections of various chemicals such as phosphatidlycholine into the skin to disperse fat, have also proven a bust.
“This is an area of active investigation and there are a number of devices coming to the market that may be effective, but it’s too early to tell,” says Dr. Bertucci. “Cellulite is such a common thing, yet people become self-conscious and are willing to go to all lengths. Unfortunately, at this point in time, the promise holds more than the reality delivers.”