Cellulite is unsightly and awkward, impacting primarily women. It exists in both thin and heavier people and can be really difficult to get rid of. That said, there are things that we now know about cellulite and things we have yet to discover. This includes what causes it, how to treat it, and how to keep it from forming in the first place. This is one of the topics that will be presented at SCALE 2019 Music City in Nashville, TN in May 2019.
Also known as cottage cheese, or orange peel skin, due to the look and texture, it is a condition that causes the skin to have a dimpled and lumpy appearance. It is one of the least desirable conditions that a woman, or the occasional man, can face – but it impacts 80-90% of women at some point in their lives.
Medical science tells us that the reason why women are more impacted by cellulite than men is because of the way their connective tissue, fat and skin come together. Medical News Today
describes what is known as the cause in layman’s terms that you can share with your clients:
The exact cause of cellulite is unknown, but it appears to result from an interaction between the connective tissue in the dermatological layer that lies below the surface of the skin, and the layer of fat that is just below it. In women, the fat cells and connective tissue in this layer are arranged vertically. If the fat cells protrude into the layer of skin, this gives the appearance of cellulite. In men, the tissue has a criss-cross structure, which may explain why they are less likely to have cellulite than women.
Fat deposits that push and distort the connective tissues beneath skin cause the appearance of lumpiness. Physicians refer to cellulite as edematous fibrosclerotic panniculopathy (EFP).
According to MedicalNet.com:
The dimpled appearance of cellulite is a normal variant — one way that many perfectly normal human beings look. Heredity, skin thickness, gender, the amount and distribution of body fat, and age can all influence the extent to which cellulite is present or visible. Cellulite occurs due to shrinkage or shortening of the fibrous tissue cords that anchor the skin. While cellulite is more common in women than men, men also can develop cellulite. Cellulite occurs in people of all races living all around the globe. Although female hormones may play a role in contributing to this pattern of fat distribution, cellulite is not treatable by hormone therapy.
There are, however, other treatments that are effective.
The American Academy of Dermatology has several treatments that they recommend to help the appearance of cellulite currently, with other treatments constantly being researched. Some of what they recommend as the most effective are: acoustic wave therapy, laser treatment, subcision, vacuum assisted precise tissue release, weight loss and exercise. There are also people that swear by massage treatments, creams and gels, and even oral supplements. As healthcare professionals in the cosmetic and aesthetic industry it is incumbent on us to make sure that the treatments we are recommending and providing to our clients are successful.
The treatments that are recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology have passed that test. Additionally, there is at least one study published that shows promise for ultrasound probes. This is a fascinating technology, for which the patent was renewed recently by Guided Therapy Systems LLC. According to the patent application it is:
A method and system for providing ultrasound treatment to a tissue that contains a lower part of dermis and proximal protrusions of fat lobuli into the dermis. An embodiment delivers ultrasound energy to the region creating a thermal injury and coagulating the proximal protrusions of fat lobuli, thereby eliminating the fat protrusions into the dermis. An embodiment can also include ultrasound imaging configurations using the same or a separate probe before, after or during the treatment. In addition various therapeutic levels of ultrasound can be used to increase the speed at which fat metabolizes. Additionally the mechanical action of ultrasound physically breaks fat cell clusters and stretches the fibrous bonds. Mechanical action will also enhance lymphatic drainage, stimulating the evacuation of fat decay products.
All of these treatments temporarily help reduce the appearance of cellulite, but none work for longer than a year or two. However, you can help your clients look and feel better by pairing these treatments with solid advice on how they can prevent, or reduce cellulite in the future.
The best way to prevent cellulite is to exercise and eat a diet low in fats to trigger weight loss. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, while this is not a certain preventative, weight loss and exercise will not hurt:
Weight loss. Bottom line:
Extra weight can make cellulite more visible. For some people, losing weight and staying at a healthy weight reduces the amount of cellulite they see. If you develop loose skin while losing weight, however, cellulite can become more noticeable.
Exercise. Bottom line:
Having more muscle makes your skin look smoother and firmer. Replacing fat with muscle can also make cellulite less noticeable.