Dr. Sanjay Agrawal

Leading Pharmaceutical consultant and editor-in chief of IJMToday

What is cellulite?

Cellulite is a very common, harmless skin condition. In Cellulite,there is  formationof lumps and dimples in the skin.Cellulite is the name for collections of fat that push against the connective tissue beneath the skin. Cellulite looks like dimpled or bumpy skin. It’s sometimes described as having a cottage cheese or orange peel texture.It is commonly seen on thighs, hips, buttocks and upper arms.

Cellulite is most prevalent in women. Approximately 80% to 90% of post-pubertal women experience cellulite

What are the symptoms?

Cellulite looks like lumpy or dimpling skin. It may be visible at all times or only when skin is pinched. Cellulite most commonly affects   thighs, buttocks, stomach and upper arms.

Cellulite has four grades:

  • Grade 0: There isn’t any cellulite on the body.
  • Grade 1:  Skin is smooth when one stands up, but mild dimpling appears when one sits down.
  • Grade 2:  Skin has moderate dimples when on standing up orsitting down.
  • Grade 3:  Skin has severe dimples on standing up or sitting down.  Skin also features deep peaks and valleys (raised and depressed areas).

What causes cellulite?

The exact cause of cellulite is unknown.Cellulite forms when fibrous bands connecting skin to the underlying muscle tighten irregularly. This tightening pulls down on skin, and the normal layer of fat beneath the skin pushes upward. The result is a puckering appearance to the skin.

As the fat cells accumulate, the fat cells bulge toward the surface and the bands tighten, giving off the characteristic dimpled, cottage cheese, or orange-peel-like appearance to the skin.

What are the risk factors for cellulite?

Cellulite is much more common in women than in men. In fact, most women develop some cellulite after puberty. Cellulite is also more common with aging, when the skin loses elasticity. It tends to run in families, so genetics might play an important role in development of cellulite.

Weight gain can make cellulite more noticeable. An inactive lifestyle and pregnancy can increase chances of developing cellulite.

What are the different types of cellulite treatments?

While cellulite is a harmless condition, many people do not like the way it looks and seek treatment to prevent or avoid it from forming in the first place.

The most common treatments options for cellulite include:

  • Deep massaging to puff up the skin.
  • Acoustic wave therapy to break up cellulite with sound waves.
  • Laser treatment to help thicken the skin.
  • Mesotherapy, in which a needle injects drugs into the cellulite.
  • Subcision, in which a needle inserted under the skin breaks up tough bands causing cellulite.
  • Creams and lotions containing botanical extracts,caffeine or 0.3% retinol.
  • Spa treatments, which can temporarily make cellulite less noticeable.
  • Vacuum-assisted precise tissue release to cut tissue and fill out dimpled skin.
  • Radiofrequency, ultrasound, infrared light or radial pulses to heat skin.

Tips for avoiding cellulite include:

Self-care can make a big difference in improving the appearance of skin.

  • Maintaining healthy weight. Losing extra weight and toning of muscles may help improve the appearance of dimpled skin.
  • Regular physical activity.Activities that tone muscles may help improve the appearance of dimpled skin. They also help with circulation and lymphatic drainage.
  • Avoid smoking
  • Stay hydrated- Drink plenty of fluids
  • Healthy diet-Consume less alcohol, caffeine, refined food, carbohydrates and saturated fat.Diet based on fresh vegetables and fruits, whole-grains, fiber-rich foods and essential nutrients improves skin health.
  • Anti-cellulite creams.Various creams and other topical treatments may help in reducing the skin dimpling of cellulite by improving skin texture.

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