advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Coping with Cellulite?

I've heard that there is a new laser treatment for cellulite that gets rid of it permanently. Are you aware of this method? Is it safe? Are there any safe and natural ways to get rid of cellulite?

A
Answer (Published 7/13/2012)

Cellulite causes the dimpled-looking skin on some women's thighs and buttocks and is simply displaced adipose tissue (fat tissue) arranged in large chambers separated from each other by columns of connective tissue. If fat overflows these chambers as a result of being overweight, or if the connective tissue slackens with age (as it invariably does), the result is the classic pitting and bulging we have all seen. Men don't usually develop it, because male skin is thicker and the fat cell chambers are divided into smaller, more tightly arranged areas.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Your Whole Body - Foods, herbs and drugs can all interact, sometimes in unexpected ways. Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor takes known interactions into account when developing nutritional supplement recommendations, to help safeguard against adverse effects. Learn more, and get your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor recommendation today.

A new laser treatment called Cellulaze was approved by the FDA in January 2012. It reportedly targets the bulging fat, the connective tissue, and the thin skin associated with cellulite. The FDA allows the manufacturer to claim that it leads to short-term improvement because the data submitted to the agency showed that the results lasted for three months. That hasn’t stopped some of the doctors who offer it from claiming that results are long-lasting, or even permanent.

We don’t know how long the benefits of treatment will last. Some doctors and their patients report that positive results are unchanged after more than two years. According to the New York Times, the procedure is expensive, costing from $6,500 to more than $11,000 and prices are set by individual doctors. It can also be quite painful, with side effects, including discomfort, bruising, swelling and numbness, which can last for months. All told, it doesn’t seem to me that this is a procedure women should rush into until we know more about risks and the staying power of the benefits.

Beyond that, I have never seen any treatment, natural or not, that effectively eliminates cellulite, although many are offered, from creams to dietary supplements to massage, wraps, injections, and special diets. Creams can't break down enough fat to make a difference in the appearance of cellulite. No dietary supplement or herb that I know of is capable of burning fat. One previously popular supplement, Cellasene, supposedly contains a combination of herbs, none of which turns out to have any "natural action" against fatty deposits or cellulite as promoters claimed. Similarly, claims that this product can improve circulation in the thighs and buttocks and increase metabolic rate are totally unfounded.

The FDA has approved one type of massage machine, called Endermologie, to address cellulite. Reportedly, it can make a temporary difference, but it is expensive, and you must continue treatment indefinitely to maintain any improvement. The FDA has also approved some other laser treatments for cellulite, but here, too, if you actually see a change for the better, you'll need to continue treatment indefinitely to maintain results.

I've warned in the past about mesotherapy and lipo-dissolve, two so-called fat-burning injections for spot reduction of fat and cellulite. In April 2010 the FDA warned consumers against lipo-dissolve. In addition to the fact that there's no evidence to show that this treatment works or is safe, the FDA has received reports of permanent scarring, skin deformation, and deep, painful knots at injection sites.

Apart from weight loss done the old-fashioned way - eating less and exercising more - there is no effective way to reduce cellulite. Unfortunately, as you get older and connective tissue becomes less taut, some of this dimpled fat is likely to be visible whether you're in good shape or not.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here