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Written by Emily Hartmann MD

July 15, 2020

As a plastic surgeon, my medium is skin, fat, and fascial tissue. It is almost daily that I have patients asking about cellulite reduction and/or prevention. Here’s what I tell them:
1) Cellulite is caused by tethering of the skin to the underlying fascia creating a pouched look of the surrounding fat. Certain factors exacerbate its appearance such as thinned skin, excess sagging skin (think weight loss patients), fatty globules making the pouches look larger (weight gain), genetic predisposition, hormone changes, accumulated toxins or simply a poor diet.
2) Are there non-surgical treatments? Many modalities claim to correct cellulite but they all have underwhelming results. There are minimally invasive treatments such as Cellfina (needles that break up the bands), ultrasound technology, lasers, radiofrequency, cryotherapies, and suction assisted technologies. Many lead to mixed results with a large hit to your wallet. Fascia Blasting, a hard stick with claws invented by Ashley Black, is all the rage; however, there is no non-biased evidence to support its use and it can have the side effect of bruising and pain. Topical creams often have caffeine as their active ingredient which increases blood flow to the tissue and reduces the appearance of cellulite temporarily. You must use these creams indefinitely to retain their results.
3) Are there surgical treatments? Not exactly. In certain patients who undergo skin tightening procedures there may be a side benefit to reduced cellulite when the skin is pulled taught. However, cellulite reduction is not the main focus of the procedure.
4) How can cellulite be prevented? Much of this stems from supporting your body’s tissues from within. Start with a clean diet focused on minimizing toxins (processed foods, refined sugar, artificial sweeteners). Hydration is so very important to keep your tissues flushed and supple. This actually helps move toxins out of the skin and provide a smoother appearance. Dry brushing is wonderful for exfoliating the skin and flushing toxins. Of course, if we are talking about minimizing toxins, I must always advise that it is best to avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
In summary cellulite is best treated with prevention. A healthy lifestyle with diet, regular exercise, and toxin avoidance are the keys to fending off this pesky nuisance. I also recommend practicing self-love because, at the end of the day, our bodies are beautiful in all their imperfections. Be kind to yourself while looking in the mirror. The genetics that likely gave you that cellulite also gave you all the other treasures that make you, you.

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