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Plastic Surgery Blog

What Is Cellulite?


Most women are aware of cellulite - they’re familiar with the cottage cheese bumpiness that appears on the backs of people’s hips, thighs, and behind. It’s unsightly, and no one appreciates it, but what is it exactly, why do people get it, and what can you do about it?

Cellulite is nothing to worry about medically. It’s normal fat that exists below the skin. The reason the skin looks dimpled or puckered is because the fat pushes against the connective tissue below it. Women tend to have more noticeable cellulite than men. This is because the distribution of fat, muscle, and that connective tissue differs in men and women. People with very thin skin also tend to have more cellulite. Menopause tends to thin out women’s skin as well.

Why do people get cellulite? There are many factors. First of all, genetics play a part. If the other women in your family have cellulite, it’s more likely that you will as well. If you have more fat on your body, you’ll be more likely to have cellulite, and cellulite is more obvious on lighter-skinned people - although people of all races around the world experience cellulite. Other risk factors include a poor diet, yo-yo dieting, a slow metabolism, a sedentary lifestyle, and dehydration.

As with other obvious signs of the aging process, the appearance of cellulite is worsened by smoking, tanning, and gaining and losing weight as with pregnancy. All of those affect the elasticity of the skin and will make you look older sooner.

People try many things to get rid of cellulite, but most of them have not been shown to be effective. Skin creams and dietary supplements can do nothing to remove subcutaneous fat, and they can’t restore the connective tissue below the skin either. Liposuction works very well to get rid of deeper fat and remove problem bulges, but many surgeons warn that it may make cellulite actually seem more prominent.

One treatment that plastic surgeons do recommend is called laser liposuction. This is a treatment that uses a laser fiber optic to break down fatty bulges, disrupt the fibrous septae (the connective tissue) that causes the puckering, and shrinks and thickens the dermis above it. The FDA has approved this treatment as appropriate to treat cellulite.

If you are bothered by the cellulite on your hips, thighs or behind or have another problem area on your body you’d like to discuss with a Houston plastic surgeon, please contact Bancroft Feldman today for your free consultation. We have years of experience in correcting figure issues and would love to talk about how you can address yours.

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