If you’ve ever stood naked before a full-length mirror and discovered lumpy, “Cottage-cheese-like” fat deposits on your hips or arms, you understand the stress and embarrassment cellulite can create. It’s arguably the number one body care concern with Canadian women. Yet, it’s often misunderstood. We ask our in-house dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett to dispel the most common cellulite myth.
Cosmetics: To start, what exactly is cellulite?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: Cellulite is a term used to describe the irregular “cottage cheese-like” appearance of fat in certain areas of the body under the skin. It technically is a kind of fat deposit.
Cosmetics: How does it form and where?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: It forms more commonly in women in areas of increased fat distribution such as the
buttocks, hips, thighs, abdomen and arms. It can appear at any age in individuals who are obese but also in individuals with normal total body fat. It is usually associated with an increase in fat deposition in certain areas such as the hips, buttocks, thighs and arms.
Cosmetics: What is the difference between fat deposits and cellulite?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: This is a great question. Many people get them confused. Fat deposits refer to a pathological condition called lipoma. Cellulite refers to a certain appearance of fat.
Cosmetics: Why do few men get cellulite?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: Men have less fat deposited in the above areas and have overall less percentage of body fat than women.
Cosmetics: What is the psychological effect of cellulite? Do you have patients who are very distressed with their cellulite?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: Yes. Many women and men are quite concerned with the appearance of cellulite and find that it can inhibit their activities and affect their quality of life. I reassure them that cellulite is very common and that there are now new ways to improve its appearance. But, cellulite can be very traumatic for some people.
Cosmetics: What factors affect cellulite production? I’ve read that stress may play a role.
Dr. Lisa Kellett: There is no evidence-based medicine to support the role of stress and its effect on cellulite. However, in terms of genetics, if for example your mother had large hips or thighs with cellulite and you inherited them, there is a higher probability that you will have cellulite.
Cosmetics: Many anti-cellulite products contain caffeine. Why?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: Caffeine increases blood flow to the area resulting in local tissue swelling.
Cosmetics: What is the latest way to treat cellulite in a doctor’s office?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: Synergie is technology that helps to improve cellulite by using a balanced mixture of vacuum and massage to reposition fatty deposits under the skin and stimulate blood flow. The result is smoother-looking, more even, less dimpled skin.
Cosmetics: What is the most important thing readers should know about cellulite?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: Readers should know that most women have cellulite…even supermodels! And that there are treatment options available if it is a concern.
—From “Ask a Dermatologist – Understanding Cellulite” Cosmetics Magazine, March, 2010.