Cellulite is all those puckering pockets of fat that give thighs and buttocks a dimpled and uneven appearance.
Some 90 percent of adult women—those who are thin as well as those who are overweight—develop cellulite at some point in their lives.
What Causes Cellulite?
Cellulite is caused not by excess fat, but by fat that is bulging out of rigid, vertical strands of connective tissue. Men do not usually develop cellulite because their connective tissue is crisscrossed on top, thus holding in any fat that’s trying to get out. As women age, however, their connective tissue becomes even more rigid, which is why the cellulite also becomes more pronounced. No amount of diet or exercise can eliminate these lumpy-looking fat cells.
What Are the Latest Treatment Options?
Over the years, there have been many creams, lotions, exercise programs, and other treatments that have claimed—but failed—to treat cellulite. Liposuction, a surgical procedure that suctions out targeted pockets of unwanted body fat, can ease the appearance of cellulite, but it can also sometimes lead to more dimpling of the skin.
Fortunately, however, scientists have developed several new laser and light technologies that offer women new hope in smoothing out these troublesome (but not health threatening) fat cells.
Some of these new technologies are non-invasive, such as Velashape, which uses a combination of laser light, radiofrequency, and mechanical massage to minimize cellulite. Others are minimally invasive, such as SmartLipo, which liquefies unwanted fat by using a high intensity laser tool that is inserted under the skin through a very small incision. The fat then gradually dissolves away.
Your physician can walk you through the risks and benefits of all these procedures and advise you on which option may be most effective for you.