WHILE it doesn't cause any physical harm, many women can attest to the psychological impact of cellulite and the fashion restrictions it poses for certain occasions like a day at the beach.
Consultant general laparoscopic and obesity surgeon and managing director for Mahogany Health and Fitness, Dr Alfred Dawes, points out that there are not many options to treat cellulite despite claims by some marketers that their products can get rid of it for good.
"Cellulites are deposits of fat cells below the skin," he explained.
The skin appears bumpy and puckered because the fat is pushing against the connective tissue. They generally tend to appear on the thighs, buttocks, breast and abdomen.
"There is nothing that can cure it. It's just the genetics of how women store fat — they store it underneath the skin as opposed to men who store it inside the abdominal cavity," he said.
But apart from genetics, other factors such as hormones, lifestyle and diet can contribute to the dimpled appearance cellulite gives.
"Unless you change your lifestyle, you will have recurrence of the cellulite," Dr Dawes said.
Although cellulite cannot be cured, its appearance can be improved with the following treatments:
1. Diet and exercise — "The only real cure is losing weight, keeping it off and toning your legs via exercise," Dr Dawes said. But once you manage to get rid of the weight, you would need to maintain your diet, as failure to do so will increase body fat again and cause the cellulite to re-appear. Be sure to eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and complex carbohydrates.
2. Liposuction — This surgical procedure is used to remove fat from the body. "What liposuction does is to basically break up the fat cells and remove them from the body by a suction, so it immediately reduces the tissue that is causing unsightly cellulite. The problem is that it can come back because of eating habits that we have. It's not a 100 per cent cure," warned Dawes.
3. Laser treatment — This works by melting fat and stimulating collagen production. "The laser treatment may help in terms of the smoothing of the skin," Dr Dawes said. He explains that the high frequency wave breaks up the fat cells and then the body reabsorbs it.
4. Massages and spa treatment — "It might be good for like if you are going to the beach and you want to look good for about like 24 hours or so. What they actually say is that the massage promotes the drainage of tissue fluids and this smoothes out the skin a little bit, but in terms of removing the cellulite, it will have no effect," the laparoscopic and obesity surgeon noted.
5. Creams and lotions — "In terms of the creams, they say that they dissolve the cellulite, but then again there is no concrete evidence that they do work. It may be that in rubbing the cream, they are massaging the area and promoting blood flow and removing the water that causes the lumpy appearance," Dr Dawes said. While cellulite creams and lotions might reduce the appearance of cellulite when consistently used, they will not be able to get rid of the problem for good.