Cellulite is a problem that most women face. It occurs in the skin of upper thighs primarily and is also often seen on the abdomen, legs and pelvic area. It occurs after puberty. It is believed that hormones play a big role in cellulite. In addition to hormones, genetic factors such as gender, race and body type also play a role in the occurrence and severity of cellulite. Men do not have cellulite due to the difference in how they store fat.
Cellulite is fat that is stored just beneath the skin. And it is a type of fat that is not as susceptible to exercise. It will be the very last fat that you lose. That is why you see skinny women with cellulite. So, exercise will help some by minimizing the volume of fat and therefore lessening the appearance of cellulite but exercise will be unlikely to eliminate all cellulite.
But cellulite is not all fat. It is a mixture of fat, water and toxic wastes. There are other factors besides weight and/or lack of exercise that contribute to development of cellulite. And if you work on these factors, cellulite can be diminished to varying degrees.
Besides being overweight with an excess of fat in the upper thigh area, the following factors contribute to the formation of cellulite:
Not drinking enough water
High stress lifestyle
Diet pills, sleeping pills and diuretics
Standing/sitting in the same position for long periods of time
Most of the above factors contribute to lack of blood flow or the inability of the body to sufficiently flush out toxins. High stress and crash diets can contribute to an increase in hormones and can lead the body to consume and store saturated fats which will further inhibit circulation. Multiple sins can multiply the adverse effect since alcohol, caffeine and processed food toxins can be trapped in the excess saturated fat. Smoking will not only contribute to the toxins but will also cause damage to the connective tissues making it easier for the dimpling to form.
A sedentary lifestyle will also contribute to poor muscle and skin tone and to poor circulation.
Drinking lots of water will help eliminate toxins from your body. And exercise can help improve circulation which will also help eliminate toxins stored in the fat.
I have seen some comments that wearing underwear with tight elastic across the bottom can also restrict blood flow therefore causing cellulite to form. So it gives us a good excuse to wear thongs or boyshorts and to sleep naked. Every little thing might help!
Also, it is suggested that massage can help improve circulation therefore lessening the toxins stored in cellulite. Since I love massage, any extra excuse to get a massage works for me. Endermologie is a specific massage technique which claims to smooth out the appearance of cellulite. But of all the many therapies that have been tried, there is no scientific evidence published showing that any of these therapies work.
The most beneficial therapy is to control lifestyle factors such as exercising, drinking lots of water, eating healthy foods and avoiding smoking, caffeine, alcohol and diet pills. Liposuction extracts fat from under the skin and may be effective for some in cellulite reduction but I have heard many stories - some firsthand - that it may actually exacerbate the problem and cause more uneven bumpiness. So proceed with liposuction with extreme caution.
There is a recent technology that has been FDA-cleared (2005) for the temporary reduction of cellulite. It is a cosmetic laser for treating cellulite that combines mechanical, light, heat and radio frequency energy. There are some claimed successes. Syneron Medical developed VelaSmooth which was the first and medical device. Some women find VelaSmooth to be a viable alternative to liposuction as a means of coutouring upper thighs and buttocks.
VelaShape is a newer treatment that is also FDA approved (2007) that uses the same technology as VelaSmooth. VelaShape claims to be an improvement on the original VelaSmooth technology. The device has been refined and the power level has been increased. It has rollers that work to smooth the skins surface. This may be like combining Endermologie with laser treatment, so that the laser softens the tissue to be massaged, potentially creating smoother results in less time.
I found 17 reviews of VelaShape/VelaSmooth on realself.com. The average cost was over $3000 and 76% said it was not worth it or did not work. And note that the FDA clearance is for the TEMPORARY reduction of cellulite. So do you really want to spend that much money for a reduction that is temporary and also not consistently beneficial? But 24% did like the results and feel that it was worth it so it can work. Just proceed with caution.
Other cosmetic procedures such as Mesotherapy (a series of injections of vitamins, minerals and other medicines) have also produced inconclusive results. While each of these procedures has been FDA approved to reduce the appearance of cellulite temporarily, the effectiveness varies by procedure and by person. All methods require continued use over time in order to maintain any reduced levels of cellulite because if you are prone to cellulite, it is likely to come back.
Once again, the most cost effective therapy is to control lifestyle factors such as exercising, drinking lots of water, eating healthy foods and avoiding smoking, caffeine, alcohol and diet pills. We hate the dimpled appearance and many companies are anxious to take advantage of that. There many claims of cures. A word of caution: There are no supplements that have been approved as effective for reducing cellulite.
Now to the creams, gels and lotions . . .
Cellulite creams are certainly a lot less expensive and easier to use than the treatment above and seem to have similar, temporary results.
The ingredients in cellulite creams focus on toning and tightening the skin, increasing metabolism to fight fat and decreasing fluid retention. These creams reduce the appearance of cellulite by improving the elasticity of the skin. Continued use combined with improving the lifestyle factors listed above can produce positive results. The ingredients in these creams include caffeine (help reduce fluid under the skin), shea butter (skin toner), peptide molecules (stimulate collagen product which can smooth the skin), seaweed (to remove toxins) and other ingredients that may be effective.