4 Best Treatment Methods for Cellulite

Cottage cheese, dimples, orange peel… whatever you call it, cellulite is a common skin concern that plagues both women and men (it has to be noted that women are more prone to developing cellulite than those from the opposite gender). This condition can affect any individual, regardless of other factors such as age, weight or race.

Cellulite forms as a result of changes in the physiological structure of fat cells found between the upper layers of skin (the epidermis and dermis). What you have to know is that there are bands of fibrous connective tissues — known as fascia — that lie underneath the skin and run through these fat cells, connecting the epidermis and dermis to the deeper layers. Within these bands lie small chambers that allow fat cells to be stored.

However, when an individual consumes excess fat, the size of these cells expand and causes the small chambers to be crowded. When this occurs, the groups of larger-sized cells would push upwards against the upper layer of skin, creating a small bump. Meanwhile, the fascia that remains connected to the deeper layers of skin would pull the epidermis and dermis downwards, resulting in the small depressions that we observe. These bumps and depressions that create a dimpled appearance on the surface of the skin are what we know of as cellulite.


3 Factors that Increase the Risk of Developing Cellulite

While the development of cellulite is a completely normal process, there are certain factors that can increase the chances of its occurrence. These factors can be internal (such as hormones or inflammation) or external (such as lifestyle habits). Let us take a closer look at each of these factors.

1. Hormones and Ageing

Oestrogen, the female hormone, is one of the reasons that contribute to the development of cellulite. This is also why this condition is far more common among women than men. One of the functions of oestrogen is to stimulate fat storage. And since the level of oestrogen increases as we age, the amount of fat stored in the body rises as well. With more fat stored, the fat cells will become larger and push upwards towards the skin’s upper layer, thus leading to the dimpled appearance of cellulite.

2. Chronic Inflammation

When there are harmful stimuli — such as damaged cells or bacteria — present in your body, your body’s inflammatory response automatically kicks into gear by producing white blood cells as well as a group of proteins known as cytokines to help your body fight the stimuli. This inflammatory response plays an important role in your health, but it manifests into a problem when the condition turns chronic. Chronic inflammation can damage healthy cells, organs and tissues, as well as cause toxins to accumulate in fat cells. These toxins, in turn, will begin to break down collagen and elastin — proteins that keep your skin smooth and taut — and result in cellulite.

3. Inactive Lifestyle

Yet another reason for you to get up and about; the development of cellulite has been found to be exacerbated by a lack of physical activity. This arises from the relation between blood circulation and the occurrence of cellulite. When you lead an inactive lifestyle, your body will have poorer blood circulation and that causes the nutrients in your blood to not be able to reach the higher layers of skin. Since these nutrients help trigger the production of collagen, the lower number of nutrients would result in a lower level of collagen, thus compromising the skin’s elasticity and firmness, resulting in cellulite.


The Best Treatments for Cellulite

Tackling the appearance of cellulite is probably one of the hardest skin concerns to deal with in the beauty industry. The myriad of beauty advice you find online will recommend starting your cellulite-fighting journey by looking for topical products that contain specific ingredients such as caffeine and retinol. In the case that these products do not offer the effectiveness that you desire, the next method in line to get rid of dimpled skin would be to opt for professional treatments.

However, the truth of the matter is, there is no permanent solution to this condition. Topical products and procedures administered by a dermatologist might reduce its appearance, but these treatments are unable to fight the natural causes of cellulite such as hormones as well as a loss of collagen due to ageing. Therefore, when it comes to tackling this condition, it is important to maintain realistic expectations and understand that a combination of treatment with lifestyle changes would be vital in preventing your cellulite issues from worsening.

In this article, we will be discussing several professional treatment options you can consider to reduce the appearance of cellulite, including:

  1. Radiofrequency
  2. Laser treatments
  3. Lipomassage
  4. Acoustic wave therapy


1. Radiofrequency

This is a non-invasive procedure that uses energy to target fat and stimulate the production of collagen. When energy is delivered to the deeper layers of skin, it breaks down fat cells, thus reducing the dimpled appearance on the surface of the skin. The cells that have been destroyed are then naturally eliminated from the body as waste. In addition, the heat produced from radiofrequency energy triggers the body’s healing response, which involves producing collagen and elastin, thus firming up the skin and improving the appearance of cellulite.

What are the Benefits of Radiofrequency?

Due to its non-invasive nature, patients usually report a pain-free experience or only a mild discomfort. There is no downtime, which means you will be able to resume your normal activities after the procedure.

What happens during the procedure?

Depending on your pain tolerance, a topical numbing cream may be applied to the targeted area. Next, a lubricant will be applied to the area to act as a barrier between the skin and the radiofrequency device. The device will then be applied all over the targeted area, after which a soothing gel will be put on the skin to calm down any redness.

How many sessions are required to achieve results?

There are several different brands of devices available to administer the radiofrequency procedure. The number of sessions required for you to see visible results will depend on the particular brand of device used. Typically, you will need four to 10 treatments, after which a monthly treatment is suggested as maintenance.

Are there any side effects after the procedure?

You might experience minor swelling, bruising and redness — all of which will fade within a few days to several weeks.

Who is this procedure ideal for?

Radiofrequency is most suitable for those with moderate cellulite and are not significantly overweight.


2. Laser Treatments

Laser treatments are minimally-invasive procedures that involve the use of light energy to break down tough fibrous bands under the surface of the skin that emphasise the appearance of cellulite. The light energy will also melt the fat cells that create the dimpled appearance on the surface of the skin. By eliminating the fibrous bands and fat cells, it will help to smooth out the dimples and reveal a more contoured figure.

What are the benefits of laser treatments?

Compared to radiofrequency, laser treatments will provide you with longer-lasting results. This is due to the light energy’s ability to melt fat cells, break down the fibrous bands as well as stimulate the production of collagen. This triple-effect combination enables your body’s internal system to keep the cellulite at bay for a significant period of time.

What happens during the procedure?

A local anaesthetic will be applied to the skin to numb the targeted area. Next, a thin tube will be inserted into the skin through a small incision. The laser fibre will then be threaded through the tube, allowing the heat from the laser to melt the targeted area’s fat cells, break down the fibrous bands and stimulate the production of collagen.

How many sessions are required to achieve results?

Only one session of laser treatment is required due to its ability to provide longer-lasting results. Generally, the results from one session will last for at least a year. However, the longevity of your individual results can be affected by other factors such as pregnancy or weight gain.

Are there any side effects after the procedure?

You may experience mild swelling or bruising that will last for about two weeks, while the incision made during the procedure will take roughly one week to heal. However, you may return to your normal activities after one to two days.

Who is this procedure ideal for?

This would be best for those who are not significantly overweight and with moderate cellulite on their hips, thighs or buttocks.


3. Lipomassage

This non-invasive procedure is a natural massage technique that uses mechanical rollers to increase the body’s cellular activity. In turn, this will encourage the metabolism of fat cells that are responsible for the appearance of cellulite. As one of the most popular methods to counter the appearance of cellulite, this treatment can be found in established aesthetic centres like Geo Aesthetics.

What are the benefits of lipomassage?

First and foremost, lipomassage has been found to help with fat loss from the increased metabolism of fat cells. The deep massage action from the applicators has been found to help improve blood circulation by close to 200% and this would help the body rid toxins and other harmful build-ups. Secondly, the treatment would tighten and tone your skin by ramping up the production of collagen and elastin, improving the appearance of your skin in a quick number of sessions. Thirdly, the non-invasive treatment will not cause any side effects. Certain individuals might experience mild discomfort while the procedure is being carried out, but a majority of them finds this within their pain threshold. Lastly, the treatment does not result in any downtime, allowing you to resume your normal activities following each session.

What happens during the procedure?

You will be asked to put on a pair of goggles as well as a special Lipomassage suit before your doctor proceeds with the treatment. Next, glycerin will be applied onto the targeted area as a lubricant to allow the applicator to glide smoothly across the skin. Typically, each session would last anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the treatment area.

How many sessions are required to achieve results?

To observe visible results, the magic figure would be in the estimate of six weekly sessions done across a period of a month and a half. But to attain your desired skin complexion without any sign of cellulite, it could take around 15 sessions with monthly maintenance sessions.

Are there any side effects after the procedure?

While the procedure does not entail any downtime, you might experience some light bruising, especially after a few sessions. You might also have slight soreness in the area that underwent the treatment, depending on the frequency and intensity of the lipomassage.

Who is this procedure ideal for?

Lipomassage is most suitable for those with moderate cellulite and who prefer a more natural technique to improve the dimpled appearance of their skin.


4. Acoustic Wave Therapy

Also known as shockwave therapy, this non-invasive procedure involves the use of radial acoustic waves to stimulate and boost several internal processes. These processes include converting fat cells into waste and eliminating them from the body, as well as stimulating the production of collagen. Both these factors help to smooth out the dimpled surface and firm up the layers of skin.

What are the benefits of acoustic wave therapy?

Most patients who have undergone this treatment report no pain and/or discomfort due to its non-invasive technique. Plus, the whole procedure takes a relatively short amount of time — between 20 minutes to an hour.

What happens during the procedure?

Some oil will be applied to the targeted area to aid the transmission of radial acoustic waves through to the deeper layers of skin. Next, the hand-held device will be applied across the targeted area. Treating two areas (such as the front and back of the thigh) will take up to 20 to 30 minutes.

How many sessions are required to achieve results?

Four to five sessions are generally needed to see initial results. For longer-lasting results, 10 weekly sessions — this is considered as one sequence — are recommended. After six to nine months of the first sequence, patients are advised to undergo another four to five treatments to maintain their results.

Are there any side effects after the procedure?

There are typically no side effects to acoustic wave therapy. However, if you have particularly sensitive skin, you might encounter some shallow bruises.

Who is this procedure ideal for?

Acoustic wave therapy is most suitable for those with mild to moderate cellulite.


The Takeaway

When choosing the most suitable treatment method to improve the appearance of cellulite, do consider factors such as your budget, the severity of your condition, the time required to administer the treatment, as well as whether you can afford the downtime with regards to your busy schedule. If you are still unsure of which treatment would be best for your individual condition, discuss with a skincare specialist, who will be able to advise you accordingly.

Most importantly, keep in mind that the different treatments we have discussed above will not necessarily get rid of your dimpled skin completely. Be sure to have realistic expectations when it comes to the results you wish to attain after your chosen treatment. After completing each treatment session, make sure you keep to a healthy lifestyle by exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet to keep cellulite at bay.