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Cellulite - Help is on the way

By Mariusz J.A. Sapijaszko, MD FRCPC (Dermatology)

Cellulite - the unsightly dimpling, padded or "orange peel" appearance of the skin is probably one of the most aesthetically troubling concerns of women. Although a lot is known about its appearance, there is lack of good studies assessing the effectiveness of possible treatments. Fortunately, the help is on the way - evidence suggests that topical preparations are one of the most effective, currently available methods that can offer hope for the countless cellulite sufferers. Read about other anti-aging tips on skin care guide

Cellulite is an alteration in skin contour creating dimpling and nodularity frequently affecting thighs, buttocks and abdominal regions of post-adolescent women, is not directly associated with obesity and in some of the patients it is severe enough to cause significant personal and social distress.

Despite its frequency, there is no uniform understanding of cellulite's causes. Proposed theories must include the explanations for gender bias (cellulite is mostly seen in women), genetic predisposition (women in the same family have similar degree of cellulite) as well as race (the condition is more common in Caucasians compared to Asians or African-Americans).

The lack of full understanding of cellulite's causes results in multitude of treatments that promises lots but tend to deliver disappointing results. Fortunately, some modalities have shown promising results.

Although there is no cure for cellulite, some habit alterations and topical preparations have demonstrated benefit. Even though, diet and exercise have only mild effect on the appearance of cellulite, they can improve circulation, decrease fat volume and prevent its further deposition.

Topical Vitamin A derivatives, such as retinol, tretinoin, adapalene and tazarotene, have shown benefit in clinical practice. The proposed benefits of these preparations center on their ability to increase collagen deposition in the skin. Other techniques such as liposuction and subcision have offered promises of addressing some of the components of cellulite and are claimed by some authors to produce sustained improvement.

For such a common universally undesirable problem, cellulite offers challenges in its explanation and therapy. The lack of good research adds to the desperation felt by many sufferers. Fortunately, topical preparations consisting of Vitamin A derivatives as well as liposuction and subcision offer help to those most in need. I am convinced that ongoing research will lead to much superior methods of prevention and treatment and offer substantial benefits in the quest to make unsightly cellulite the thing of the past.

Learn more about cosmetic surgery and procedures on Cosmetic Procedure website.

About the author:
Mariusz J. A. Sapijaszko, MD FRCPC is the Director of the Western Canada Dermatology Institute located in Edmonton, Alberta. He is also the Clinical Assistant Professor at the Division of Dermatology, University of Alberta, in Edmonton. His areas of expertise include cosmetic and laser surgery. Learn more on his

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