Cellulite is the informal name that has been given to dimpling observed on the surface of the skin. Contrary to the belief that it is the result of excess fat, dimpling is actually caused by fibrous septae, collagen fibers that anchor the top layer of skin to the deeper tissues. This makes the fat in between these collagen strands bulge. Even if the amount of fat were reduced through weight loss, the fibrous septae would still cause this fat to bulge, and the surface of the skin would still show the appearance of cellulite (albeit less noticeably, perhaps).
Our approach to cellulite can range from gentle to invasive, depending on the goal of our patient. As an intermediate and non-invasive approach, Ultherapy® and Thermi250™ can help tighten skin, resulting in a smoother texture (though some cellulite will still be visible). “These procedures produce tightening, or ‘girdle effect,’” explains Dr. Patricia Wexler.
It may surprise many patients to learn that procedures like liposuction do not help reduce the appearance of cellulite. Liposuction targets fat that is much deeper below the surface of the skin, so it helps shape and sculpt, but it will not improve the surface texture.
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“Cellulite reduction is most frequently done in winter months, when clothing is more layered and concealing, and activities such as outdoor sports and sun exposure are at a minimum.”
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