Cellulite is an extremely common condition.
Published studies suggest that approximately 85% of post-adolescent women have some degree of cellulite. It is extremely rare in men.
Cellulite is characterized by dimpled or puckered skin on the buttocks, upper thighs, upper arms and stomach. It has been described as having an orange peel or mattress-like appearance. Some people regard it as a variant of normal and not a disease entity as such but it is however, cosmetically distressing to many women across all race groups.
The female hormone oestrogen causes the fat cells to become plumper and that is the reason why it usually appears after puberty, why it is aggravated by pregnancy and also with the use of the contraceptive pill.
There is also evidence of deficiencies in the lymphatic drainage and the micro-vascular circulation associated with cellulite development. This is often why it is more obvious over the buttocks and thighs but other factors such as genetics, weight gain and a sedentary lifestyle can all contribute towards the development of cellulite.
As some regard cellulite as a physiological variant and not a disease as such, there have not been many published studies on this topic. Obviously, if you do have cellulite, you should make lifestyle changes with the correct diet, loss of weight and increased exercise.
There are many physical and mechanical treatments proposed for the treatment of cellulite including massage and suction techniques such as Endomologie, lipomassage as well as liposuction, subcision and laser treatments. Many of these treatments can improve the cellulite with varying degrees of success.
There have also been various cosmeceutical topical agents that have been proposed for the treatment of cellulite. These include botanical extracts such as Centella Asiatica which increases micro-circulation in the subcutaneous tissue, topical Caffeine which also increases micro-circulation and which has been shown to reduce the diameter of fat cells up to 17% in comparison with the control. Green Tea Extract is a powerful antioxidant that protects dermal and subcutaneous membranes from free radical toxicity.
Combinations of these botanical extracts have been shown to improve the appearance of mild to moderate cellulite but with all these treatments there is, unfortunately, no cure as such at present. However, by just improving the appearance of cellulite it can have a significant, positive impact on a person’s self-esteem and confidence.
Reference: Cosmeceuticals for Cellulite: Semin Cutan Med Surg 30: 167-170 2011