Cellulite is a skin condition in which the underlying fat deposits give a lumpy and dimpled appearance. It is more commonly seen in the thighs, buttocks, and abdomen. Appearance of cellulite usually starts after puberty. It is also known as cottage cheese skin, or orange peel syndrome. Women are more commonly affected by cellulite when compared to men. Although the condition is not harmful or serious, it may affect an individual's looks and cause worry.
The actual cause of cellulite is not clear. Many theories have been suggested for the development of this skin condition. This includes hormonal changes, dehydration, dieting, slow metabolism, unhealthy diet, thickness of skin, and genes. Stress and inactive lifestyles also increase the risk of cellulite.
A number of treatment options are now available for controlling cellulite. Unfortunately, many of these methods are not scientifically proven to be safe and effective. There is no evidence that determines whether these options can be used long-term.
The most common treatment options available include:
- Cellulite creams – These creams claim to dissolve the fat deposits thus helping in making the skin smooth and supple. These creams may be harmful for some while it may cause allergic reaction in others.
- Massage – Many people depend on body massages and other treatments offered in the spa for smoothening out the dimpled and lumpy skin. These offer temporary respite from cellulites but do not remove them completely. The effect on the skin is supposed to be due to removal of fluid from the region of cellulite rather than dissolution of fat deposits.
- Liposuction – Fat deposits under the skin are removed surgically in this procedure. But in most cases, liposuction just removes the fat accumulated deep under the skin while the deposits just under the skin remains untouched.
- Mesotherapy – In this procedure, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes are injected into the tissue under the skin. This help in breaking down the fat deposits and thus improves the look of the skin. But in some people this may cause swelling and infections.
- Laser treatment – Laser is used to melt the fat accumulation beneath the skin and also stimulates the production of collagen in the skin. This gives a better look to the skin devoid of dimples.
- Body wraps – Specific body wraps are offered to treat cellulite. These wraps claim to decease fluid retention in the areas of cellulites giving a better appearance to the skin.
A number of other physical and mechanical methods, including electrical stimulation, magnetic therapy, ultrasound, heat therapy, pneumatic massages, radio frequency therapy and radial wave therapy, are also used in the treatment of this condition. Compression garments are also used to improve the look of the skin.
None of the above-said methods are proved to be very effective in any of the studies. Regular exercise and a healthy diet seems to be the permanent solution for controlling cellulite.