The Truth: How to Treat Cellulite


Cellulite is common; nearly all adult women have some. The best treatment is photoshop :).

But what’s the next best treatment? Are there really toxins in cellulite? Is it just fat? Do coffee grounds really work? Watch this video and you’ll see. What is your best tip to reduce cellulite? Share it with us here!

There Are No Toxins in Cellulite

Last week a popular TV talk show featuring a bunch of doctors (I’m not naming names) discussed how coffee grounds can improve cellulite. They explained how rubbing coffee grounds into your skin imparts caffeine into the cellulite thereby improving the circulation and drawing the toxins out.

This is a great tip except that rubbing coffee grounds on your skin does not impart any caffeine into it, and there are no toxins in cellulite.

Cellulite is a normal secondary sex characteristic of women. It is the result of thin connective tissue in women’s skin. Massaging the cellulite (with coffee, tea, grapes, cream cheese, or chocolate frosting) pushes the fat back into the skin, temporarly improving the appearance. There is no science behind using coffee to treat this normal condition.

Scientific studies have shown, however, that carrying a wet coffee filter filled with grounds into your bathroom will burn more calories because you’ll spend 20 minutes later cleaning up the mess in your shower.

Photo: NiallKennedy

Cellulite: What Is It? How Can You Treat It?

Spring is here. You can finally stop salting your icy sidewalk and start focusing on summer issues, like cellulite.

What is cellulite?

It’s the dimpling and nodularity that occurs in women on the thighs, pelvis and abdomen. Cellulite is the result of fat pouching out of holes in the connective tissue on the skin. It occurs in 98% of girls and women post puberty. That’s right. Essentially all females have cellulite. It is a normal characteristic of sexually mature women.

Here’s what cellulite is not:

  • Cellulite is not fat. It is the appearance of the superficial fat held loosely beneath the skin. The fat is held more tightly in men which is why we do not develop cellulite.
  • Obesity doesn’t cause cellulite. Look around and you will see that skinny women have cellulite (in real life anyway).
  • Cellulite is not an accumulation of toxins or fluids; it is normal fat.

How Can You Get Rid of Cellulite?

The best treatments for cellulite have at most shown mild improvements in the appearance. Unfortunately, in almost all cases, the improvements are not maintained over time. This is because it is hard to change the loose connective fibers under the skin, which are the primary cause.

  • Weight loss can improve cellulite, but not always. Losing weight can make the skin sag, and weight loss has been shown to actually worsen the appearance of cellulite in some women.
  • Endermologie is a kneading system (like my grandmother would knead the pizza dough). Although there is some evidence it can reduce thigh circumference, how long the effects last is questionable.
  • Liposuction removes fat through suction. It is not a good treatment for cellulite because the fat is too superficial. Liposuction combined with a laser to treat cellulite sounds interesting, but has not been shown to work better than ordinary liposuction.
  • Subcision, which targets the connective tissue bands by snipping them, is a great idea, but in practice has not been shown to be very effective. There is some concern that snipping the connective fibers might actually make the fat looser, worsening the problem.
  • Mesotherapy is the injection of medications under the skin to dissolve the fat. Although it has worked for some, the results are unpredictable and can cause adverse side effects such as bruising or pain.
  • Radiofrequency treatments like TriActive or VelaSmooth generate heat under the skin damaging the fat and connective tissue, hopefully smoothing the cellulite. Improvements have been reported, but no long term efficacy has been demonstrated.
  • Herbal creams have been studied and had no effect on cellulite. It is unlikely that any topical treatment can penetrate far enough down and be potent enough to have any effect.
  • Diet has no effect on cellulite.
  • It is possible that regular exercise can improve the circulation of cellulite areas, improving the appearance, but no studies have shown that it has a significant impact. Work out because it is good for you, but stop looking at your behind in the gym mirror.
  • There are some upcoming technologies that are promising. I’ll post about them later.

What Should You Do About Cellulite?

Because it is a normal occurence in women, it’s reasonable to simply tell yourself: “Hey, this is normal!” and stop killing yourself trying to eliminate it. Many women have been pleased with any of the above treatments, but they’re all expensive and likely all temporary. If it is worth spending $500 to have a 50% improvement in your cellulite, then make an appointment with your dermatologist or plastic surgeon to discuss your options.

Keep in mind that your friends or partner might not notice that your cellulite is 50% better (what does 50% better cellulite look like anyway?). If you’re worried that you might be featured in a magazine, don’t fret. You will receive the only known cure for cellulite: Photoshop.

Do you have cellulite? Have you tried to eliminate it? How successful was it?

Photo: Tassoman

Fat is Determined in Childhood and Can Replace Itself

Despite countless thousands of websites, books, articles, diets, exercises, and research, about weight loss, surprisingly little is known about the tiny cells that cause all the trouble — fat cells. Recent research has shown that the number of fat cells you have is set in childhood and remains constant in adulthood, even after extreme measures like bariatric (stomach stapling) surgery.

Fat or adipose tissue is made up of adipocytes (fat cells). These cells function to store energy. When you eat more calories than you burn, the extra calories you eat are stored in adipose tissue. This trait of storing up energy was once beneficial: it kept our ancestors alive.

Before modern times, and even now in some parts of the globe, having enough food to survive is not a given. Humans, like all mammals, store calories so that when we are unable to find sufficient food for days or weeks, we are still able to survive by burning the energy stored in our fat.

Here in the US, many of us get far more daily calories than we need. Day after day these calories are systematically stored until years go by and obesity develops.

Many people think that the number of fat cells increase as we get fatter. This is not true. Excess fat is not from an increased number of adipocytes, but rather from an increasingly large volume of the cells you already have. Weight loss reduces fat cell volume but not the number of cells.

Researchers recently discovered that fat cells replace themselves to keep their numbers constant. They found that when fat cells die, new ones grow to take their place. About 8% of all fat cells are replaced every year and each adipocyte lives for about 8 years on average before it is replaced.

This is important because weight loss techniques like liposuction, which actually remove fat cells, may not have long term benefits. Even when fat is removed, this research shows that new fat cells will grow to re-establish the set number of cells that you developed from childhood.

This post is written by Jeffrey Benabio, MD

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Is There a Cure for Cellullite?

The Victoria’s Secret bathing suit catalogue is out, and I know many of you are thinking, “Ugh. How am I gonna lose this cellulite before summer?” Before you take out your credit card, read this. Post by Jeffrey Benabio, MD Continue reading “Is There a Cure for Cellullite?”