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What is Cellulite? Do Cellulite Creams Work?

August 14th, 2011 Miguel A. Delgado Jr, MD

Cosmetic surgeons recognize cellulite as a condition that many San Francisco patients seek to find a cure, however the medical community does not see cellulite as a disorder but a normal condition for many women and some men.
Cellulite is a term first used in the 1920’s and became a “buzz word” when used in a Vogue magazine article in the 1960’s.  According to the Mayo Clinic 8 out of 10 women have some degree of cellulite; it does not seem to affect men very much, probably because estrogen makes fat and testosterone breaks down fat. Men with elevated estrogen have the propensity to develop gynecomastia (male breasts).
The physical cause of Cellulite is caused by fibrous cords that connect the skin to underlying muscle with fat in between. When fat cells increase they push up toward the skin and the cords are pulling down causing a dimpling effect.      
Some causes of Cellulite are:
• Hereditary
• Inactive lifestyle
• Stress
• Use of hormonal contraceptives
• Weight gain and an unhealthy diet
• Aging and the loss of skin elasticity

Many San Francisco patients come in to see Dr. Delgado with the hopes that liposuction will remove cellulite; it won’t, and in some cases can make the condition worse. Liposuction is for body sculpting not for removing fat under the surface of the skin.
What about all the creams and lotions that are advertised to remove the unwanted dimpling? Save your money, there has not been any conclusive evidence that this can cure or improve cellulite.
Endermologie uses vacuum rolling and radio waves to break up fat and help increase circulation. There have been many patients that claim they get results with this method but they have to have frequent treatments and if they stop the cellulite may return.
But due to demand, research continues and perhaps there will be a permanent cure for cellulite one day.

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