Cellulite - Causes and Treatment
Cellulite refers to the collection of fat (enlarged fat cells under the skin actually) under the skin and above the muscle that makes the skin look lumpy like chunks of cotton balls. This is not really a condition that needs to be worried about but it surely doesn’t help the skin look good. (rather it gives a bad appearance of the skin). If you are worried about it and if cellulite under your skin is bothering you about your appearance, you can try getting rid of it.
Normal skin has some layers – epidermis, dermis, hypodermis. Epidermis is the top most layer of the skin and under it lies the dermis and below that is the hypodermis. Under hypodermis, you can find the muscle in the body. In the dermis and hypodermis layers, fat cells normally exist and this is how the skin is. In some people, more often in women than men, the fat cells in the dermis and hypodermis layer start accumulating fat and grow big. As the fat cells grow larger, they push out the epidermis layer of skin and make it look like lumps resulting in the condition ‘Cellulite’.
Where does cellulite appear?
You can find cellulite on thighs and buttocks most often. Cellulite can grow on the breasts, abdomen and arms.
Symptoms and Grades of Cellulite
There aren’t any specific symptoms of cellulite apart from the fact that it causes skin to look like having lumps of cotton balls under it. Depending on how big these lumps and valleys on the skin are, formation of cellulite under the skin has been classified into 4 grades.
Grade 0 – No cellulite seen under the skin. Skin looks smooth at all times.
Grade 1 – A little dimpling of skin appears only when you sit but these go away when you are standing. That means, a little bit of squeezing of the skin (when you sit) can make the cellulite show up.
Grade 2 – The dimples are visible while standing and sitting.
Grade 3 – Dimples are visible significantly at all times and usually that will start affecting you mentally with its appearance.
What causes cellulite?
Long story short; the cause of cellulite is not known exactly. There are some theories from medical professionals on what ‘might’ be causing cellulite. The layers of skin and the muscle below them are connected with fibrous bands. These bands sometimes tighten pulling the layers of skin closer. Along with that, if the fat cells grow in size, they push the skin out causing cellulite to show up.
It is also theorised that these fibrous connections are different in men and women. The nature of how they are in women could be a reason for the formation of cellulite. Also, some believe that production of estrogen in women increases the odds of developing cellulite, especially during adolescence or pregnancy.
How to reduce cellulite?
As the cause is not exactly known, following the suggestions/recommendations to reduce cellulite is the first option. A few things that you can try to reduce cellulite include:
- Regular workout if you are obese or fat, focusing on the area of cellulite formation. Usually working out the muscles in the area where fat is accumulated, helps in burning the fat, flattening out the area.
- Massages – Good body massages can also help in making the appearance of the skin better but this won’t actually reduce cellulite.
The US FDA has approved a few procedures that help in reducing the cellulite under the skin.
- Cellfina® – This procedure helps in treating the cellulite on legs and buttocks. The procedure is found to be effective for up to 3 years.
- Cellulaze® – This procedure uses laser treatment that attacks the structure of cellulite. Cellulite is believed to be more of a structural issue (of the skin and the connecting fibrous bands) than fat problem.
- QWO® – A prescription medicine is injected into the cellulite to treat moderate to severe cellulite condition. (Grade 2 and Grade 3).
Cosmetic surgeons and cosmetic gynaecologists use different methods to treat cellulitis including:
- Deep massage
- Acoustic wave therapy – using ultrasound waves to break the cellulitis structure.
- Laser treatment such as Cellulaze.
- Liposuction – This is in fact a different procedure done for a different purpose but sometimes, your cosmetic surgeon may think this might help.
- Mesotherapy – Similar to QWO where medicine is injected under the skin
- Subcision – Using a needle under the skin to break up the cellulite
- Creams and lotions containing caffeine or retinol
- Vacuum assisted procedure to cut tissue and even out the skin
Cellulite is not a bad medical condition and there is nothing to worry about physical health wise. But, it can affect you mentally if you are worried about how you look. Cellulite on butts or bums and thighs is a concern for many women and they want to get rid of it. Effective treatment options are available at our DG Cosmetic & Gynecology Clinic, Chennai performed by Chennai’s most prominent Cosmetic Gynecologist, Dr. Deepa Ganesh. You can call +91 98401 65658 for an appointment or fill out our appointment form to get a call back.