The best cellulite treatment — a holistic approach
by Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP
In 20 years of practice, I’ve personally run the gamut of cellulite treatments.
I’ve tried skin wraps, caffeine baths, even electrical stimulation! It’s
amazing what we’ll do to get the smooth vibrant skin we had as children. The
truth is, 80–90% of women have some form of cellulite on their bodies. Some
of my patients won’t be seen in a swimsuit, shorts, skirts or anything
that exposes their legs. They are mortified and committed to doing whatever it takes
to get rid of cellulite. For others, it’s a minor inconvenience.
With the myriad of treatments out there — from cellulite creams to mesotherapy
— all claiming to “melt” fat and cure cellulite, we’re getting
the message that this is a problem that can only be helped from the outside in.
But my clinical experience tells me it’s not that simple. Even if one of these
miracle cellulite cures works for a few days or weeks, the cellulite always returns
— unless we commit to making deeper changes.
Like most things in nature, cellulite cannot be resolved with a quick fix. What
I believe is most important is honoring your body first. Understand that beauty
comes in all shapes and sizes. And true beauty emerges when you are at your optimum
health. At this point, not only do you enjoy more energy and vitality, but you look
and feel better. Your skin glows and has more resilience; your eyes sparkle. It
doesn’t matter what message the media or society sends us about what beauty
is. The bottom line is: good health becomes you.
Let’s take a closer look at how cellulite evolves and lay the groundwork for
minimizing it — from the inside out.
What causes cellulite — is it really just fat?
Orange peel, cottage cheese, pin-cushion skin — we’ve all heard the
nicknames for cellulite. And though they may not be appealing, these names describe
what cellulite looks like on the outside. It can show up just about anywhere, but
is most commonly seen around the thighs, buttocks, knees and upper arms. The age
when women start to notice cellulite can vary from person to person. Some see it
as early as adolescence.
Though cellulite contains fat, it’s made up of more than just fat cells. Located
in the subcutaneous (subsurface) layer of our skin, it consists of fat cells and
a surrounding network of connective tissue that keeps them in place, known as septa.
This combination provides many benefits for the body — Mother Nature always
has a reason! It furnishes insulation, cushioning, and structural support for our
skin, as well as temperature regulation for our bodies. It also serves to store
fat so the body has sufficient calories available for pregnancy and lactation. This
is why women who’ve had children may notice more cellulite after pregnancy.
Additionally, the fat in our skin serves as an endocrine organ, helping to balance
our hormones well into old age.
Cellulite forms when the septa tighten down on the fat cells or when the fat cells
push up on the septa. Think of an overstuffed chair, where the cushion bursts out
above the structural support. What causes a tightening down on the “tufts”?
It begins with the lymph system.
Your lymph system and the cellulite “sink”
Your lymphatic system plays an integral role in the development
of cellulite. Cellulite begins with stiffening septa caused by impaired blood and
lymph circulation to and from the subcutaneous layer of skin. If you think of the
subcutaneous layer of skin as a sink, the circulatory and lymphatic systems are
its pipes. The “sink” needs pipes to deliver clean water and pipes to
take away dirty water. When everything is running smoothly, your capillaries are
delivering fresh nutrient-rich blood to the skin and the lymph is taking away waste
and toxins. When things get clogged up and blood circulation decreases, this starves
and weakens the surrounding tissue and causes fluid to be retained. A decrease in
lymph drainage causes the fluids that normally carry away waste to be trapped.
Because of the stagnant flow of blood and lymph fluid, the septa become more fibrous
and tighten down on underlying fat cells. This happens because cells starved of
oxygen and nutrients become incorporated into septa, thickening and hardening them.
A decrease in circulation causes veins and capillaries to become weakened and leak
blood into the surrounding tissue. This increases pressure in the subcutaneous layer
and restricts flow even more.
Finally, the increased pressure leads to a rerouting of blood flow around the cellulite
area. Septa fibers continue to thicken and fat continues to be deposited in the
subcutaneous layer. However, because of poor circulation, the fat and toxins cannot
be effectively removed.
Our Personal Program is a great place to start
The Personal Program promotes natural hormonal balance with nutritional supplements,
our exclusive endocrine support formula, dietary and lifestyle guidance, and optional
phone consultations with our Nurse–Educators. It is a convenient, at-home
version of what we recommend to all our patients at the clinic.
If you have questions, don't hesitate to call us toll-free at
1-800-798-7902. We're here to listen and help.
Related to this article:
References & further reading on cellulite
Last Modified Date: 04/18/2011
Principal Author: Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP