Our bodies are becoming increasingly bared over time, with skin texture, tone and smoothness coming into focus. Cellulite, once ignored, now has its own set of treatments, with some significantly more effective than others.
It doesn’t matter your size or shape; cellulite is the way the fabric of our skin and fat is built and is unavoidable for the most part. Cellulite treatments work by smoothing the appearance of the skin so cellulite shadows soften. How this is achieved varies by treatment.
Understanding our Melbourne clinic cellulite treatments
To understand our cellulite treatments, you should know a little bit about how cellulite works. Once you understand what your goal is, you can more quickly evaluate the potential effectiveness of any treatments you pursue and learn why some cellulite treatments are intrinsically better than others.
‘Cellulite’ is the name we give the bumpy appearance of skin where there is underlying fat. Women’s columnar fibres criss-cross, making a diamond pattern, whereas men’s fibrous patterns are square. That’s why women get cellulite, though men can get it too.
These fibres are laid out in columnar chambers that join the skin to the underlying muscle, with the fat stored in these columns, like a honeycomb.
Cellulite is the name of the visible bulges and valleys that occur when fat is squished out the top of these fibrous columns. This bulge causes a small shadow to appear on the skin, depending on the light and skin tone. Lighter skins show the shadows more readily than darker skin tones.
When we observe cellulite on ourselves, our skin tone makes a huge difference, since having a (fake!) tan disguises cellulite. The shadow and tan are about the same colour, so it provides some blending.
The most important thing in cellulite treatments is not fat reduction, though this can help, but increasing flexibility of these fibrous columns. The more relaxed they are, the fewer cellulite shadows appear since there is less bulging.
Another important element of cellulite is that this tightly-packed fat, by its very nature, isn’t very good at ‘breathing’. That is, not much fluid or oxygen gets into or out of the fibrous columns, which can result in fluid being trapped, perpetuating the problem by adding excess fluid to the bulge. This is why regular massage of the area, like dry brushing, can be helpful.
These collagen fibres, the columns, stiffen with age, making cellulite worse over time. We often put a bit more weight on as we get older, so more fat stuffed into the stiff columns can mean cellulite develops more comprehensively as we age. Skin can also become weaker, thinner, and lose elasticity, causing the appearance of these bulging columns to deteriorate.
What to do about cellulite
At ENRICH in Melbourne, we use wave-based devices to soften and relax the fibrous columns. In addition to this column softening, we employ skin tightening into the cellulite treatment for smoother thighs or buttocks, while stimulating fluid and oxygen movement.
You will need to repeat the cellulite treatments regularly since your body will naturally stiffen the fibrous columns and the skin will continue to age normally. Expect to have to maintain your great results with repeat treatments, though how often you’ll need to get top-ups will depend on how extensive your cellulite is.
Understanding cellulite at a cellular level
Skin cells are activated by oestrogen, which increases the production of a substance (Glycosaminoglycan or GAG) that directly influences fluid retention. These activated skin cells – fibroblasts – increase the fluid and thus the pressure to the point that blood vessels become compressed.
A compressed blood vessel isn’t that great at pumping blood compared to when it is not compressed, and the result of this is a lack of oxygen getting to the tissues. Inflammation is increased, causing collagen synthesis to heal the inflammation. Usually, we want more collagen to strengthen tissue, but when this specific situation occurs, we end up with stiff collagen fibres and a lot more fluid than we want.
The consequence? Less blood flow, less oxygen, more collagen, more fluid and thus a sort of swelling and remodelling of collagen to fit it all in comfortably. Enter stage left the appearance of cellulite.
Want more evidence? Read it for yourself in this scientific paper.
The anatomy of fat
There are two layers of fat separated by a sheath of fascia. The layer closest to the outside is made up of globular fat deposits arranged vertically. Blood vessels are abundant but fragile. In women and children, this layer is larger, and contains a large number of oestrogen receptors and are resistant to being used as an energy source.
Hormones largely dictate the behaviour of our fat, for example, insulin, prolactin and oestrogen increase fat, while other hormones stimulate the take-up of fat into the bloodstream.
The deeper layer has smaller cells that are arranged horizontally, with larger blood vessels. When we gain weight, it is this inner layer that enlarges.
The futile cycle of putting fat back into circulation
We can’t just induce the uptake of fat into the bloodstream (lipolysis) to get rid of fatty deposits. All that happens is the fat goes into the bloodstream, where it is again processed by the liver, which increases low-density lipoproteins in the blood when the fat will be again deposited back from whence it came.
This process is energetically expensive and inefficient when we’re trying to redirect fat. A more economical and efficient way to get rid of fat is to ‘burn’ the fat locally by stimulating cells to do the work themselves. We have several agents that do this, thus reducing fat inside cellulite columns.
Ways we effectively manage cellulite
- Radiofrequency (stimulates fluid flow, can damage fat cells)
- Fat freezing (bursts fat cells, scavenges over time)
- Skin needling (collagen production)
- Ultraformer (ultrasonic waves break down fat and stimulate fluid flow)
We have the best cellulite treatments in Melbourne.