Cellulite - also known as orange peel syndrome, happens when subcutaneous fat (below the skin) protrude within the fibrous connective tissue. These fat deposits push up the skin in between the connective tissues, causing the skin dimpling effect.
The condition affects women more than men because of the way fat, muscle and connective tissue are arranged in a woman’s body. Common areas that are affected by cellulite are the buttocks, thighs and abdomen.
Cellulite can be caused by multiple factors. It can be genetic, such as changes in metabolism, physiology, and hormonal factors; or it can be acquired - lifestyle factors such as obesity, diet and exercise habits. It is also caused by inflammatory changes in the subcutaneous fat.
Radiofrequency therapy – Most radiofrequency systems do not penetrate deep enough into the skin to the level where cellulite resides, but GEM Clinic uses the proven INDIBA® system which can penetrate deeper to reach cellulite. This non-invasive treatment works to breakdown fat, reduce liquid retention and stimulate the production of collagen.
Injectables – A combination of mesotherapy (to burn fat) and collagenase (enzyme to breakdown tissue matrix) can be used to target cellulite.
Subcision – As skin dimpling is caused by connective tissues pulling the skin down against the protruding fat, this is a procedure to sever the connective tissues that pull on the skin by inserting a needle.
Although there is a hereditary risk factor that makes some people more predisposed to develop the condition, an active lifestyle with a balanced diet and adequate exercise can help to prevent cellulite before it occurs. Healthy habits such as drinking plenty of fluids and smoking cessation helps too.
Topical treatments generally consist of Methylxanthine creams containing either caffeine, aminophylline and theophylline – touted for their ability to breakdown fat; or retinol cream that thickens the skin and thereby reduces the appearance of cellulite. Applying cellulite cream on its own does not produce significant change as the cream does not penetrate deep enough into the skin to make a difference, but they are helpful when combined with other cellulite treatment modalities such as INDIBA® radiofrequency therapy.
Although the FDA has approved certain combined laser/ massage treatments, they are not a long term solution to reduce cellulite. However, they can be used as a prevention measure to stop cellulite before it occurs.
The best method to prevent and help with the appearance of cellulite is still aerobic exercise, as exercise can help to reduce overall fat in the body and improve muscle tone to make cellulite less noticeable.