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While the arrival of warmer weather has many of us pulling out shorts and swimsuits, many women find themselves running for cover instead. The reason is cellulite, the lumpy, uneven skin that typically appears around the butt, thighs, and stomach. Cellulite is extremely common among women, which is probably why cellulite treatment has become a multimillion dollar industry in the United States.

As common as cellulite is, there’s also an awful lot of misinformation out there about what causes it and how to treat it. So before you go spending money on creams or cosmetic procedures, check out our definitive guide to cellulite.

What causes cellulite?

Cellulite occurs when fat deposits beneath the skin begin to push through deeper layers of skin and connective tissue that has been weakened by lack of exercise, reduced muscle tone, excess fat, or poor circulation. As the connective tissue moves closer to the top layers, the outside skin starts to develop cellulite—the dimpled, lumpy, and uneven skin that’s sometimes referred to as “cottage cheese” skin. Hormones also seem to play a role in the formation of cellulite. As women age, their bodies produce less estrogen, which can lead to a decrease in collagen, a major building block of new, firm skin cells.

Is cellulite dangerous?

Although it may be unsightly, cellulite does not pose any physical health risks. However, some women with cellulite may experience low self-esteem or avoid certain social situations, which could lead to feelings of depression over time.

Will exercise cure cellulite?

Exercise isn’t a cure for cellulite, but it can help prevent cellulite from forming or reduce the appearance of existing cellulite. Activities like weight lifting, Pilates, and yoga will tone your muscles and firm connective tissue, which will give your skin a smoother appearance. Cardio exercises like biking, walking, or swimming will also help prevent cellulite by increasing blood circulation and aiding overall weight loss.

Does diet affect cellulite?

As with exercise, your diet isn’t a cellulite cure-all, but by eating certain foods and avoiding others, you can help minimize the appearance of cellulite.

Avoid foods that promote weight gain, such as:

Eat foods that promote overall good health, including:

Also, be sure to drink at least eight glasses of water every day.

Are any over-the-counter creams effective at treating cellulite?

Despite what you might read on their labels, no topical creams—prescription or over-the-counter—have been shown to permanently reduce the appearance of cellulite. Studies have found, however, that products containing retinol may help temporarily camouflage bumps. But keep in mind that results vary from person to person and this is by no means a permanent solution.

Should I consider liposuction as a cellulite treatment?

Liposuction is not recommended as a cellulite treatment option. In fact, liposuction could even make fat distribution more uneven, making its outward appearance even worse.

Is it true that dermal fillers are an effective cellulite treatment option?

Injectable dermal fillers like Restylane® and Sculptra are primarily used to help restore volume to sunken areas of the face. However, these injectable treatments have also been proven to be quite effective at evening out areas of the skin that have cellulite.

When is the best time to treat my cellulite?

There’s no “best time” to seek cellulite treatment. Whenever you decide to do something about your cellulite is the right time for you. If you want to move forward with treatment, then your first step is talking to a board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Fodero. He can help you decide what options are available to help you treat your cellulite.


Northeastern Plastic Surgery understands your desire for a beautiful, youthful looking body and facial appearance. We use the latest plastic surgery techniques to perform a variety of surgical procedures. Dr. Fodero and the staff are very friendly, helpful, and available to answer any questions you may have. Please contact us today to learn more about the services we offer.

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