Decrease your cellulite using the latest science

July 15, 2013

Resistance exercise acts like fillers for your skin.
Resistance exercise acts like fillers for your skin.

It was assumed by many that poor circulation was the cause of cellulite - those miserable dimples and bumps that can ruin the appearance of the back of your thighs and buttocks. A more recent theory is reported on by Fitness magazine. A Harvard instructor says there's not much proof for the 'circulation' theory. New scientific research shows that cellulite, which reaches way below the skin, is pockets of fat that have squeezed between bands of tissue (called septae), under your skin.

The septae theory explains why women, not men, get cellulite. In men, septa threads are crisscrossed, like mesh, helping to hold the fat down where it belongs. But in women the septae wrap around small groups of fat cells in a vertical fashion so that the clusters of squeezed-together fat cells can easily travel up into the dermis, creating cellulite lumps. Although you can be thin and have cellulite, if you gain weight, you will have bigger fat cells, all straining to be free. There are several do-it-yourself techniques and an FDA-approved treatment to combat cellulite.

Your best course of action is to 1) work out and 2) drop pounds. Lift weights two to three times a week. Resistance exercise acts like fillers for your skin. If your muscles are more defined, your skin will look smoother. Moreover, if you lose weight and replace it with muscle, you're going to have a fat layer that's not as thick, and your cellulite will be less apparent.

If diet and exercise don't work, there is an FDA-approved cellulite treatment called Cellulaze, performed under local anesthesia, in which a laser is inserted under the skin, shooting heat in three directions. When the laser is rotated it liquefies fat, cuts the septae that surround fat cells to loosen puckering and heats the skin to encourage collagen regrowth. This promises a 70 to 80 percent improvement that lasts at least a year and is recommended for active women with mild to moderate cellulite who are not significantly overweight and have good muscle tone.

If you have cellulite, it's likely that your mother does too. Genes help determine how you store fat and how likely that flab is to push through the septae that are supposed to contain it.

For more treatment information, consult a board-certified plastic surgeon.

The mission of the Aesthetic Society includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Aesthetic Society, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to

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