Many of us hate the dimples caused by cellulite, even though most of us have them. "Cellulite is a genetic predisposition – no one knows exactly why it's caused and almost every woman will have some form of it," says Dr. Nowell Solish, a dermatologist who specializes in cosmetic treatments at Women's College Hospital in Toronto. Cellulite is not a weight thing – gals of any size get it.
Unfortunately, there's no cure for cellulite and there's no way to truly prevent it. But if you're really aching for smoother-looking skin, you can get temporary relief with the following noninvasive cellulite treatments. "They don't actually make the cellulite better, but they can reduce the appearance of it a little," Solish says.
Procedure profile: Endermologie was one of the first cellulite treatments to hit the market years ago and it's still a popular and widely available option.
It tackles dimpled areas with rollers and suction – the device goes to work fighting cellulite by massaging the heck out of it. The idea is that the massage helps break up areas of cellulite, increases blood flow, and releases excess water and toxins so your skin looks smoother.
The protocol is two treatments a week for a total of 10 to 20 sessions. You see results about halfway through the series and to maintain them, you have to get weekly or monthly (depending on your body) upkeep treatments.
Perks: It's one of the more affordable cellulite treatments and it's relaxing – it feels like a deep tissue massage. Plus, there's no recovery time.
Pitfalls: "If you keep up with [endermologie], cellulite probably stays a little bit better," says Solish. "But as soon as you stop, that area will form back into the same shape and configuration that it was before."
Price: From $60 to over $100 per treatment.
Location: To find an endermologie centre near you, visit endermologiecenter.ca.
Page 1 of 2 – Thermage and VelaShape: Two more cellulite-fighitng treatments. Get the full scoop about each on page 2.
Procedure profile: This treatment does double-duty – it smoothes dimples and firms droopy areas.
"It uses radio frequency, which produces heat in the skin and the heat helps tighten it and improves the look of cellulite," says Dr. Lisa Kellett, a dermatologist at DLK on Avenue in Toronto.
The radio frequency stimulates the production of collagen – the protein responsible for the strength, firmness and tightness of your skin. It sounds like it hurts, but it doesn't.
"Now have we vibration tips [on the tool], so you just feel it vibrating," Kellett says. "When we go over the bone, you might feel a bit of a warm sensation, but most of the time it's quite comfortable." The procedure takes an hour or longer and you see some results immediately. Improvements continue to unfold for several months thereafter.
Perks: One of the most appealing aspects is that it's a single-session protocol – one treatment and you're done for a couple of years. Another plus is that there's virtually no recovery time.
Pitfalls: Thermage is pricy for some budgets and it may not produce visible or desired results if your skin isn't sagging.
Price: $3,000 or more (for one session).
Locations: To find a thermage clinic near you, visit thermage.com.
Procedure profile: VelaShape has a lot going on: Rollers, suction, infrared heat and radio frequency.
The mechanical massage part works like Endermologie – increasing blood flow and flushing out loosened fat, toxins and excess water – while the energy sources are said to help reduce the size of fat cells.
"You usually need to do six or more treatments to see some results," says Solish. "And I found that maintenance was a few times a month." (It can be less depending on your body.) Initial treatments are usually recommended once per week, then upkeep sessions are necessary.
Perks: There's gain without pain. "It feels like gentle pulling with some heat," he says. Some people liken it to a warm, deep tissue massage. As well, there's no downtime.
Pitfalls: The biggest bummer for some is the cost. You may end up spending a lot of money on initial cellulite treatments and monthly maintenance.
Price: Variable. Generally, you're charged on how many areas are treated at once. (However, some centres approach their fee system differently – call clinics and ask about their prices.) For example, a series of six treatments targeting three different body parts can cost about $2,000.
Location: To find a VelaShape centre near you, visit velashape.com.
So, how do you decide which cellulite treatment is best for you? Ask your dermatologist. If you go ahead with one, remember to keep your expectations in check. Maybe not all of your dimples will bite the dust, but your skin may look up to 20 per cent smoother for a while.
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