Cellulite is a condition that predominantly affects women with over 90% of women suffering from cellulite to one degree or another. Cellulite can be graded from level I to IV and is often described as hail damage, cottage cheese appearance, and orange peel appearance.
The reason women are afflicted with cellulite more than men is due to hormonal and structural differences. To begin with men have a cross-hatching of the connective tissue or collagen that is the structural component of our fat. In contrast, women's collagen is lined up more like a picket fence in the buttocks, thighs, knees and proximal arms. The receptors in women's fat cells are receptive to estrogen and designed to store fat whereas the receptors in men are responsive to testosterone and have the effect of burning fat. The third component of cellulite is lymph fluid which will accumulate from wearing restrictive clothing and as the blood vessels to this area become more compromised as part of the aging process. Finally, as we age, we begin to lose bone and lean muscle mass. This results in a higher fat content to our bodies which can result in the worsening of cellulite. Beginning in our 30's, lean body mass is lost at a rate of 3-5% in most individuals. This lean body mass helps us to burn calories. So, putting everything together, as we age there is a loss of lean body mass and an increase in fat mass. This coupled with hormonal influences and the buildup of lymph fluid results in the development and worsening of cellulite. As the fat cells expand in size and lymph fluid accumulates, the picket fence collagen fibers pull in and out resulting in the appearance of cellulite.
Given this picture, what is a woman to do to reduce the cellulite? First and foremost, it is important to make healthy lifestyle choices. This translates into daily exercise with resistance training two to three times per week to maintain lean body mass. It is also important to eat a healthy diet, staying away from foods that contain processed carbohydrates, fried foods, and high fat content dairy products and beef. In particular, carbohydrates are easily taken up by fat cells for storage.
From a treatment standpoint, while there is no cure for cellulite, it can be improved and controlled. Cellulite therapies are directed at decreasing the size of the fat cells, improving circulation, stretching the collagen fibers, tightening the skin, and reducing the lymph fluid. At The Lifestyle Center, we offer three treatments for cellulite – VelaShape, BodyFX and Venus Freeze. In some instances, we will recommend a combination of two treatments to obtain the best results. All 3 devices utilizes radio-frequency waves which heat the tissue resulting in improved blood flow, decreased fat cell size and skin tightening. With BodyFX there is permanent destruction of fat cells whereas the VelaShape employs tissue manipulation to stretch the fibers and move lymph fluid out of the tissue. We recommend a minimum of 6-8 weekly sessions regardless of which device is best for your situation. Maintenance is recommended every 3 to 6 months to maintain the results. It is best to schedule a free consultation to learn which treatment is best for your situation. Given that spring is just 6 to 8 weeks away, now is the best time to begin your Spring Training Program.