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Doc Talk: Weight, inactivity not only culprits causing cellulite

  • Published Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013, at 6:23 a.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013, at 6:39 a.m.

Ladies, it’s not your fault!

Do you have puckered dimples on your hips, thighs and/ or buttocks? These dimples are cellulite and have plagued women for years; even thin athletic women suffer from these pesky dimples.

Many people have misconceptions about cellulite and think the rippling effect is caused by being fat or inactive. While these things may contribute to cellulite, the real culprit is the connective tissue bands between the skin and the fat cells. Cellulite occurs when fat cells push into the skin’s middle layer and pull on fibrous connective tissue, creating the appearance of dimpling. Because fat is not the cause, topical creams and liposuction will not eliminate these dimples.

Myths about cellulite

Myth: Only overweight people have cellulite

False. Cellulite affects 90 percent of women to some degree, regardless of weight. It is routinely genetic in nature and not necessarily associated with weight gain.

Myth: Cellulite is excess fat

Cellulite is associated with fat cells, but the real issue is the fibrous tissue bands that attach to the dermis; they lie between the fat cells and the skin. How prominent cellulite appears depends on the skin’s natural thickness and the pliability of the connective tissues.

Myth: If you lose weight, cellulite will disappear

Losing weight too quickly will make your skin sag more and make cellulite more visible. Cellulite will not “disappear” but slow weight loss combined with strength training can improve muscle and skin tone and diminish the appearance of cellulite.

Myth: Rigorous cardio exercise will “burn off” cellulite.

Cardiovascular exercise will burn calories and ultimately fat, but it will not burn cellulite.

Myth: Cellulite can’t be prevented or treated.

Because genetics play a big part in the amount of cellulite you have, some women think there is nothing they can do to prevent it. However, eating low fat, high-fiber foods, replenishing your body with vitamins and exercising regularly can all help decrease the appearance of cellulite.

Additional ways to minimize cellulite:

• Increase circulation to the tissues: By massage, heat or activity, increasing the circulation can reduce water retention and help smooth the puckering in the area.

• Increase activity: Exercise will help with circulation in the area and help promote more supple skin and toned muscle, both of which will help reduce visible cellulite. Take frequent walking breaks at work.

• Topical radio frequency treatments: Non-invasive radio frequency treatments (such as Exilis ELITE™) to the area provide subtle reduction in the appearance of cellulite.

• Ultrasonic treatments: New minimally invasive procedures using ultrasound technology (such as VASERsmooth™) cut the fibrous bands causing the dimpling effect and tighten skin. This procedure is performed using oral and local anesthesia can be done alone or in conjunction with liposuction. It should be discussed with and performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon.

In the end, the important thing is to remember that cellulite is nothing to be ashamed about. Most women – even ultra-thin models – are not dimple-free. The best advice I can give women is to accept and love your bodies as they are – and that includes taking care of your body. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle of proper nutrition and exercise, including cardio and strength training, will improve your health and naturally help your body look its best.

Mignon Brewster is the manager at Via Christi Advanced Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery, 9211 E. 21st St. She may be reached at 316-609-4440.

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