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Cellulite - The Whole Story
(Part 1 of 2)

Cellulite Options

Cellulite is a classic example of a "disease" that was created to sell people products.

The word Cellulite gained popularity in European spas and salons in the 1960s to describe the "cottage cheese" like deposits of fat found on the hips, thighs and buttocks of many women. In 1973 it became a common term in America with the publication of Nicole Ronsard's book, Cellulite: Those Lumps, Bumps and Bulges You Couldn't Lose Before. People began talking about cellulite as if it was something unusual that medical science had suddenly discovered.

Turns out, cellulite isn't new, unusual or special in any way. It's plain old ordinary fat, no different than fat found anywhere else in the body.

What makes it seem unique or unusual is how it looks and why it primarily appears on women, not men. Here's the reason why.

Your skin is connected to muscles with strands of fibrous tissue. In women, those strands are arranged in a honeycomb pattern, with fat cells stored in the chambers. As fat cells expand, the chambers swell and create the "dimpled" or "orange peel" look associated with cellulite.

Men are far less prone to having this appear for two reasons. First, a man's skin is typically thicker than a women's, lessening the ability of fatty deposits to "poke through." Second, the collagen fibers in a man are arranged in a horizontal crisscross pattern that's more effective at preventing fat from pressing out against the skin.

In the last 30 years, hundreds of companies have released products and made claims they can "cure" or "eliminate" cellulite. Following are the major categories the treatments fall into, as well as their tested effectiveness.

Electrical Muscle Stimulators (EMS) and Iontophoresis Devices

Wouldn't it be nice if you could shock your way to smoother skin? No such luck. After extensive review, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that muscle stimulators and iontophoresis devices are ineffective for cellulite reduction and body contouring. Anyone promoting those devices for cellulite reduction is committing fraud and breaking the law.

Body Wraps

What you get is short-term water displacement from perspiration or compression. Take off the wrap, wait an hour or two, measure again, and the inches are back. To see this effect first hand, take a rubber band. Wrap it around a finger and leave it on for a few minutes. Take it off and where the rubber band was is an indent. No weight loss, and after an hour or so, the indent is gone. Wraps are potentially dangerous because they can bring about severe dehydration or injury from circulatory constriction.

Body Wraps
Body Wraps

Rubs, Rollers, Massage and "Endermologie Therapy"

Yes, massaging, rubbing, rolling or pushing fat around using "Endermologie Therapy" (a deep mechanical massage that combines rollers and suction) CAN have a visible impact on cellulite. Unfortunately, the results are temporary. And when we say temporary, we mean visible results for 12 to 48 hours. The underlying problem, the fat, remains.

There are literally hundreds of articles on the internet promoting "Endermologie" as "the first medical treatment to be FDA approved for cellulite reduction and loss of body circumference." That's an outright lie.

The truth is the FDA approved "Endermologie" for the "TEMPORARY reduction in the APPEARANCE of cellulite." According to the FDA, there is no evidence that the device improves skin tone, leads to weight reduction, helps with the loss of body circumference, rids the body of toxins or a host of other claims currently being made. The FDA has stated that anyone that says those things is breaking the law.

Light Devices

These are the same as massaging devices with the additional claim that they use light to "melt cellulite." There is no proof the light helps, but the massaging part of the treatment can have a visible impact on cellulite (as we previously noted). The results are temporary and only last 12 to 48 hours. As with other massaging devices, the underlying fat remains.

Is Cellulite a Medical Term?

In the medical world, when a term ends in "-itis" or "ite" it means a disease caused by an inflammation. Think appendicitis, arthritis or colitis. So one would expect "cellulitis" to mean an inflammation of cellulite.

It doesn't. Cellulitis refers to an infection of the tissue just below the skin surface. Cellulitis literally means "inflammation of the cells."

Cellulite is a marketing term popularized by people in the cosmetics industry. Consumers were starting to become skeptical about creams and potions that claimed to spot reduce fat. Instead of calling it fat, they began using the more technical term "Cellulite" as if it were something unique that they could cure.

By keeping consumers in the dark about what cellulite really is, (ordinary fat), they could keep misleading people into paying for treatments that don't work.

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