Question: I developed cellulite in the thighs and bottom; even at my best weight it is still visible. What is the cause of cellulite and do the treatments that are available really work?
Answer: The dimpled or cottage-cheese appearance is caused by the structural difference between cellulite fat and normal fat. Both cellulite fat and normal fat cells are the same consistency. The difference is due to the architecture of the cellulite fat cells just under the skin’s surface. Bands (septa) separate the fat cells into pockets. In cellulite fat, the septa are thicker than the septa of a normal fat cell. When the cellulite fat cells enlarge (weight gain), the septa act as anchors to the skin, then the skin becomes dimpled. Cellulite is also more evident when the skin loosens (loss of elasticity) with age, which is probably what you are experiencing. Many treatments have been offered, with several new treatments every few years. The general public as well as many physicians have been exploited by manufacturers of these products because of society’s desire to look as young as possible. Among the many methods to treat cellulite are endermologie, massage, creams, ultrasonic liposuction, superficial liposuction, and now laser treatment. Although some treatments can offer temporary and moderately improved appearance of cellulite, there is currently no treatment with medically recognized accomplishment. Unfortunately, all fall short of giving significant and sustained results. Probably the least successful of the products mentioned above are the superficial creams that claim to “smooth and tighten the skin”; this is physiologically impossible.