The eternal question. Virtually all of us have it and most of us absolutely hate it and expend much time and money trying to eradicate it. What is this curse that affects almost all women of all ages, once they hit puberty?
Cellulite isn’t just excess fat – which is why very thin, toned women can still sport those dreaded lumps and bumps – but instead it’s the result of fat cells pushing up against the skin, constricted by tight, short fibrous bands in the dermis.
One medical definition of cellulite is ‘Oedematous FibroSclerotic Superficial Panniculitis’. In layman’s terms this means, inflammation of the fat cells in the adipose or superficial layer of the dermis combined with scar tissue or hardening of the connective tissues, plus water retention.
The lumps or troughs are caused by the collagen strands tightening, pulling the skin down, and the bumps or nodules are the result of fat cells pushing against the skin.
Medical or cosmetic?
Cellulite is not a medical condition and is deemed purely cosmetic by the medical community.That’s not to mean that it doesn’t cause a lot of distress to those suffering from it or even that it can’t be uncomfortable or even painful for some women. Also, some of the cellulite-busting treatments available are best performed by a properly qualified and experienced medical professional – Find out more in our Inside Secrets section on cellulite treatments.
How is cellulite assessed?
Mr Ayham Al-Ayoubi, Facial Plastic and Laser Surgeon at the London Medical and Aesthetic Clinic explains how he approaches the treatment of cellulite.
Cellulite is the eternal problem and I’ve been treating women for cellulite for the last 28 years since I became a laser and plastic surgeon. It is a common issue that can cause a great deal of distress and I see two to three patients a day seeking treatment, ranging from 20 to 65 years old.
As we know, it’s a common problem for women and this is due to basic differences between male and female anatomy.
There are two types of fat. First, there is the superficial fat layer directly underneath the surface of the skin.The fat cells in this layer are very small and compacted, with collagen tissue running between the fat cells.This collagen tissue responds to certain factors, such as hormonal fluctuations in the body, and the skin becomes pulled down by collagen fibres, causing the pockets of fat cells to push against the skin.
Underneath the superficial layer of fat, is the loose or deep fat layer. Men typically have far more deep, loose fat so are less likely to develop cellulite. Women, unfortunately, have far more superficial fat, so are more prone to suffering from stretch marks and cellulite.
Now, understanding that cellulite is a fat-related condition rather than a problem relating to the skin is the first step. It means that any procedure or topical products that claim to treat cellulite by smoothing the overlying skin, will just not work.
Cellulite has traditionally been treated using laser or radiofrequency based devices. Although they can greatly improve the condition of your skin, they can’t target the superficial layer of fat without causing burning of the skin and damage to nerve endings. This explains the limited results that can be achieved with these types of devices.
Recently, though, there has been a breakthrough in the treatment of cellulite. Cellulaze
is a laser surgical treatment that fractures the fibrous bands that pull down the surface of the skin.
It’s minimally invasive but it is a surgical procedure.
I’ve been using these garments since they were first introduced because I believe they have many benefits.Their design is unique in that they are very thin, comfortable garments that can easily be worn under normal clothes unlike some of the other post-surgical products that are available.They also never irritate the skin.The underlying science is also unique to these products and sets them apart from the competition.
They can enhance the results of any surgical procedure for cellulite or fat reduction and I give every patient who undergoes the Cellulaze procedure the garment to wear during the healing process as it speeds up drainage. Patients find them extremely comfortable to wear and, as well as a significantly speedier recovery, they see a quicker improvement in the appearance of their skin than if they didn’t wear the garment.
I also advise patients that have undergone traditional liposuction or VASER lipo, to wear the Macom garment because it applies gentle pressure that reduces the risk of complications such as haematoma or seroma.
Some patients might not be suitable for laser surgery, whether due to a medical issue or skin condition. In this case, we may perform an alternative procedure such as VelaShape or fat freezing. These treatments are usually performed over a number of sessions with intervals in-between. Again, I ask patients to wear the Macom garment to enhance their results.
The final group of patients that can benefit from the CRYSTALSMOOTH® leggings are those that don’t require any other procedure at this point; for example, a patient in their mid-20s who has grade one cellulite.
I recommend CRYSTALSMOOTH® leggings as a standalone treatment for patients that have grade one or very mild grade two cellulite because it introduces gentle heat into the skin, safely penetrating the superficial fat layer beneath.
So instead of suggesting an intensive course of VelaShape that requires them attending our clinic every week, these patients will see really good, visible results in a month or so of wearing the CRYSTALSMOOTH® leggings under their normal clothes.
I am very selective on who I operate on or which procedures I offer. As with everything in life, success is measured by results and I never suggest unnecessary treatments just for the sake of it.