Prevention and treatment of cellulite:
Cellulite is the result of a change in the structure of adipose tissue housed under the epidermis. It gives the skin a “bumpy” appearance, considered unsightly; however, doctors often consider it a normal physiological phenomenon. It is mostly seen in the back of the thighs and buttocks, and affects almost exclusively women; nearly 9 out of 10 women are affected at one time or another in their lives, for 1 in 50 men.
The timing of its appearance varies a lot from person to person and depends on many aggravating factors.
There is no way to get rid of cellulite completely unless it is very light. It is possible, however, for some people, to improve the appearance of their cellulite by various means.
- How is cellulite formed?
Its causes are multifactorial and are not yet clearly established. Various hypotheses circulate. It may be that inflammation reactions are involved. It has also been observed that female sex hormones, heredity, physical exercise and diet influence its appearance.
Cellulite involves a change in the structure of fat located on the surface, under the skin, in specific areas of the body. The deeper installed fat – the one that is sometimes removed by liposuction – has no effect on the appearance of the skin. The cells that serve as a reserve for fat are housed inside small “rooms” delimited by “walls” of elastic connective tissue. The skin forms the “ceiling” of these rooms. In the presence of cellulite, there would be an increase in both the number of fat cells and the retention of water. The chambers swell; the walls become bulging and therefore would pull on the skin, giving it a quilted appearance.
- Consequences of cellulite:
Although cellulite is essentially an aesthetic problem, it can cause some physical discomfort and even pain. Over time, cellulite tends to become denser, which causes increased pressure on the nerve endings and hypersensitivity of the affected area. In some women, palpation, touch, even a simple touch of their areas of cellulite produce a sensation sometimes quite painful. In addition, “old” cellulite can impede the local circulation of lymphatic fluid causing cramp-like pain.
- Risk factors:
- Women are more affected than men. Female hormones, estrogen and prolactin (during pregnancy), would contribute to cellulite. Puberty, pregnancy, breastfeeding, menstruation and estrogen therapy are often triggers. These hormones stimulate the accumulation of fat and make the connective tissue less flexible. In addition, the body of the woman is more sensitive to cellulite, because it contains 2 times more fat cells than the male body. Note also that men’s skin is thicker and their fat cells are smaller and tighter.
- Women whose mothers have had skin with a strong cellulite mark are at a higher risk of being affected.
- Caucasian women are more likely to have cellulite than Asian or black women because genes intervene in the elasticity of the skin.
- Risk factors:
- Bad diet. An excessive intake of salt, a diet rich in carbohydrates (sugars), lipids (fat) and low in dietary fiber may contribute to cellulite.
- Lack of physical exercise. A sedentary lifestyle contributes to aggravate cellulite. The leg muscles exert a pump effect to help the blood circulate through the veins. A poorly developed muscle mass therefore tends to slow down the circulation of blood in the veins of the legs (called “venous return”).
- Smoking. Nicotine impairs blood circulation in small blood vessels and decreases tissue oxygenation.
- Taking oral contraceptives or certain medications, including estrogen, antihistamines, and corticosteroids, can cause cellulite. Ask your doctor or pharmacist.
- Does weight affect cellulite?
It seems that cellulite is found in both thin women and those who are overweight. Weight gain is not the cause of cellulite, experts say. However, she could make it more apparent
- Prevention of cellulite :
It is generally impossible to prevent cellulite, since hereditary and biological factors are often its real cause.
It should be noted that a regular physical exercise and a healthy diet help maintain good skin tone and blood circulation for as long as possible.
In case of cellulite on the buttocks or on the legs, so as not to aggravate it, pay attention to all that hinders the return of the blood from the legs to the heart.
Measures to prevent aggravation:
– Wear loose clothing. If they tighten too much the legs or the size, the blood goes back more difficult to the heart by the veins.
– Vary the posture. Avoid long periods of time in a static, standing or sitting position.
– Avoid heat. The heat dilates the veins, while the cold tones them. Showers and hot baths taken regularly are therefore to be avoided.
– Wear flat-heeled shoes. Flat-heeled shoes make the calf muscles work harder and therefore help the veins do their work.
- Treatment :
There is no treatment that can eliminate cellulite. Experts recommend acting on several fronts at once to get the most effect on cellulite. Some changes in diet and increased physical activity are the first steps to consider.
The anti-cellulite market offers a variety of products and procedures that can improve the appearance of cellulite:
- Good to know before starting treatment:
None of the methods available on the market can promise to eliminate cellulite. At best, there is a temporary improvement in the appearance of cellulite.
Some people respond better than others to treatments. It is very difficult to advance on their effectiveness for a particular individual. It happens that cellulite does not improve as a result of the treatments.
Shortly after cessation of treatment, their benefits, if any, disappear. Treatment must be pursued for lasting effect.
Treatments that use waves, lasers, or injections can have rare side effects that are difficult to correct, such as scarring or browning of the skin.
Avoid excessive salt (chips, industrial ready meals, commercial sauces, etc …), which contributes to water retention and tissue clogging. In any case it is important, in general, to be well hydrated.
Having a diet that provides the essential nutrients also helps to keep as much as possible a toned skin.
- Physical exercise:
Even if the weight is not in question, it is desirable to regularly engage in physical exercise to strengthen muscle tone and improve blood circulation.
Any physical activity that causes an increase in heart and respiratory rhythms (aerobic, brisk walking, jogging, cycling, cross-country skiing, etc …) is beneficial, since it improves blood circulation, in addition to contributing to the loss of fat all over the body.
The practice of muscle firming exercises in a specific area of the body (the thighs, for example) has no anticellulite effect.
- Vacuum therapy:
Vacuum therapy is the application of deep massage by a health professional using a machine that contains adjustable rollers. These rollers retain a fold of the skin by suction. The massage is done in a movement of back and forth of the device on the skin. It would act by creating swelling (edema), which conceals cellulite.
A treatment lasts about 45 minutes and is usually repeated one to three times a week for a few weeks.
- Manual lymphatic drainage:
It is a massage technique based on movements most often performed by a physiotherapist masseur, stimulating the lymphatic return, capturing the interstitial fluid between the fatty lobules and thus reducing the lymphatic component of the edema. This technique has demonstrated efficacy using three-dimensional ultrasound images, but the observed results are not permanent. It is therefore necessary to regularly renew drainage in combination with other treatments to achieve a sustainable result.
It consists in diffusing a galvanic current into the muscles by means of needles pricked near the nerves stimulating the muscular groups. This tones the muscles but also this technique also reduces fat deposits and improves microcirculation.
This is a widely used treatment although the mechanism of action is poorly understood. The technique consists in producing ultrasound by means of a high-frequency electric current generator connected to a ceramic material that deforms under the influx of the electric field, thus converting the electrical energy into a mechanical energy that propagates in the form of waves in the middle particles. This generates a deleterious heat for the fats, but also a micromassage.
The doctor applies the device perpendicularly to the skin, sometimes with an ultrasound gel between the skin and the device to facilitate the diffusion of the waves. We feel local warmth.
Ultrasound can also help penetrate an enzyme-based treatment that contains caffeine, ginkgo biloba extract, or centella asiatica. This effect is called phonophoresis.
- Creams and gels:
The most used anti-cellulite creams and gels contain methylxanthines (theophylline, aminophylline, caffeine), thyroid hormones, triiodothyroacetic acid, alpha2-adrenergic blocking agents such as dihydroergotamine or forskolin. Some manufacturers claim that these substances locally reduce fat mass and stimulate fat cell fragmentation. Other products aim to facilitate blood circulation, their effect on cellulite would be very light.
It is generally advisable to combine the use of topical products with other anticellulite approaches, and a major obstacle to their effectiveness is their penetration. Indeed, to act on cellulite, the product must reach the subcutaneous layer. Manufacturers are trying to improve this aspect.
The term mesotherapy means any injection of tiny doses of drugs or other substances into the skin, directly in the area to be treated. This method has been developed in Europe. It is used to treat various aesthetic and health problems.
Drugs must be carefully prepared sterile, water-soluble; they cannot be irritating or sensitizing. The mixture can contain a maximum of three drugs and they must be compatible with each other. Injections are more or less deep about every inch. The ingredients used in the composition of these injections vary: aminophylline, hormones, enzymes, plant extracts (melilotus, buflomedil, benzopyrone, ginkgo biloba, green tea, caffeine and rutin), vitamins…
It is a treatment of pricking the skin with a roll covered with microneedles (measuring between 1 and 2.5 mm) in stainless steel to induce the production of collagen under the skin, but also sometimes to help the penetration of substances into the skin.
The doctor applies an anesthetic cream, disinfects the skin and rolls the roller in four different directions (horizontal, vertical, two diagonals).
- Radio frequency:
Radio frequency is a form of electromagnetic energy (alternating current several million times per second) creating an electric field through the skin and a movement of particles in this field. Like ultrasound, this generates heat in the skin, which reduces the volume of fat cells.
Some devices combine fractional radiofrequency and ultrasound, helping the penetration of substances into the skin.
These are low energy lasers that stimulate the production of collagen. Lasers against cellulite often also have a massaging and suction effect. Usage is often biweekly for one to two months.
- Plastic surgery:
A skin lift of the thighs, to stretch the skin, can remove some of the cellulite. This procedure, however, leaves scars in the groin, on the thighs or at the waist.
“Traditional” liposuction is not effective against cellulite. This expensive suction method that removes fat deposits can even make cellulite more apparent, by adding ripples to the skin, of deeper origin. During a liposuction, doctors even take care to leave a layer of fat under the skin to leave as few traces of the intervention as possible. That being said, a newer type of liposuction, microliposuction, could improve the appearance of cellulite.
Cellulite is not a disease but a transformation of the skin induced by many factors, especially genetic, hormonal and food. For this reason, it is not always possible to prevent it. Most often, it is only an aesthetic problem, not a health problem.
To date, none of the treatments proposed to make it disappear is effective in the long term (or even in the short term, for some of them). They have only a cosmetic effect, inconsistent from one woman to another, and are sometimes expensive.
Physical exercise, a balanced diet and a personal work on the self-image (which allows not to be dominated by the desire to change one’s image beyond what is possible) are the best attitudes to have before cellulite.