By Alix Fuller
Cosmetics: It’s been described as orange peel syndrome, cottage cheese skin, the mattress phenomenon and hail damage. What does cellulite actually look like?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: It’s basically an irregular texture of the skin which makes it appear “dimpled”.
C: Where does it usually appear?
Dr. LK: It turns up in areas of the body where there are high fat deposits, such as thighs and buttocks.
C: What causes the look and, more importantly, what causes the condition?
Dr. LK: People always think it’s different from fat, it’s not. It just have to do with how it’s distributed. The histological appearance in the same; it’s like any fat you get elsewhere. Some people don’t have it, and you can be quite thin and still have it, in an area with a lot of fat. The irregular texture likely stems from the way fibrous tissue is distributed around the fat.
C: Do many people suffer from it?
Dr. LK: Most people have it to some degree, especially women as we have more body fat than men. Some men, who have a higher percentage of body fat, can have it, though. Other possible candidates for cellulite are men who are androgen-deficient, men who have an extra “X” chromosome (which means they are more genetically close to females), men in post castration states, and those receiving estrogen therapy for prostate cancer.
C: Does it cover all races? Or is it more prevalent in Caucasians?
Dr. LK: It appears in all races, although it may be a bit more obvious in Caucasians because of the skin colour.
C: Is there any treatment for cellulite? Can diet and exercise help?
Dr. LK: Areas of high-fat deposits must be significantly reduced to get rid of it, so much so that you would have to lose a lot of weight. A normal amount of weight loss wouldn’t work. As for actually treatments, well, there’s no permanent solution for cellulite. However, some treatments, if preformed repeatedly, can decrease its appearance. For example, Endermology, which refers to pressure on the skin, (the same as doing deep tissue massage), increases blood flow to the area, thus causing local swelling to the skin. You can have this done at a spa. Liposuction gets rid of fat, but you often still have that dimpling effect because of the way the fibers are distributed. One treatment, which just came out in January, is the Ultra-Shape Device. This is an ultrasound that will liquefy fat and basically decrease the amount of fat in the tissue; this also improves the look of cellulite. Liposuction and the Ultra-Shape Device are dermatological procedures. Topical creams act in the same way as Endermology in that they increase blood flow to the area which temporarily decreases the look of cellulite.