Cellulite is the medical term for fat that builds up naturally beneath the human skin. Over time as we age, all of us develop deposits of fat which can accumulate as unsightly lumps in the skin, making our smooth unblemished legs and arms less appealing. This is not just a problem for the overweight. Even slender people can develop deposits, although it is more common among women than men. In fact, some studies have found that it is a problem for between 85 to 98 percent of all women after puberty. The causes of the problem are thought to relate to hormonal changes, high stress levels, poor diet and genetic factors.
Getting rid of cellulite beneath the skin is not always easy, but treatments have been developed to make the task easier. Many people choose to try topical treatments such as creams that include aminophylline. However, many experts are skeptical about the effectiveness of such creams, and advise that surgical solutions might be necessary. One option is mesotherapy - a technique that involves the injection of amino acids and vitamins beneath the skin to dissolve fat deposits. Liposuction is an option for deeper fat deposits, but is less effective in combating cellulite at the surface. More advanced techniques involve laser treatment, which is said to break up fatty strands underneath the skin and to stimulate the production of collagen.
Not always. Liposuction is effective in removing deep fat deposits, but can do little about the bumps and furrows caused by cellulite. Creams may make big promises, but have not been scientifically proven to work and many people can experience an allergic reaction to aminophylline. Mesotherapy is thought to be the most effective cellulite treatment but there is little scientific evidence to back this up. Additionally, practitioners are not always open about the composition of the solution that they use to dissolve fat deposits. Any of these treatments may be most effective when used in combination with dietary changes, exercise and massage but none are miracle cures.
Along with medical treatments, there are non-invasive techniques that might be just as effective. For example, a process called VelaShape has been developed and is becoming more widely used. This involves using massage rollers, infrared pulses and radio waves to firm up the texture of the skin and reduce the size of fat cells beneath the skin. Diet is also a major factor, and nutritionists recommend increasing Vitamin A and C intake to help reduce the growth of fat deposits. Foods like watermelon and tomato are thought to be effective at boosting the body's collagen reserves, which helps to maintain good skin texture and shape. These measures can be combined with cosmetic and medical treatments to limit the natural growth of fat beneath the skin.