Dimples look great on the face. People have even been known to pay plastic surgeons to give them the dimples they want. Unfortunately, as many as 90% of women (and an estimated 15% of men) have some dimples they don’t want: cellulite. At Bougainvillea Clinique in Winter Park, Florida, we provide the newest weapon in the fight against cellulite: Cellfina.
The Problem of Cellulite
To understand the power of this treatment, we need to know why we have cellulite, why it is so stubborn, and why women are more likely to have it than men.
Our skin is held in place by underlying bands of fibrous connective tissue. That part is simple enough. Subcutaneous adipose tissue, otherwise known simply as fat, is deposited within these bands of connective tissue between the outer layer of the skin that we can see and the dermal layer that connects our skin and everything else, like bones, ligaments, and organs. The firmer the fibrous connective tissue network is, the smoother our skin on top will look.
As we age, our skin breaks down and becomes drier through the loss of collagen and hyaluronic acid. As it does, those tight fibrous networks begin to weaken. As this key layer starts to thin, the fat it contains “pokes up” in some places and not in others, causing a dimpled look. Cellulite is nothing more than normal fat deposited in areas of the body where these bands of connective tissue are pulling down more tightly than the surrounding tissue, forcing the fat cells to bulge out around it.
Relation to Obesity
There is a huge misconception out there that cellulite only happens to the obese. This myth causes a lot of heartache for people who work hard to stay healthy and then feel devastated when cellulite forms, believing they are somehow to blame. Unfortunately, cellulite has very little to do with body size: after all, 90% of women have some, and the obesity rate among women isn’t anywhere near 90%!
Cellulite isn’t about body fat. It’s about collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid, and the aging process. No matter how thin you are, you have at least some adipose tissue, and when the inner layer of the skin begins to wear away, it shows in the dimples we know as cellulite. Where and how our bodies tend to naturally store and use fat has much more to do with cellulite than our body weight.
Getting Rid of It
Because cellulite isn’t fundamentally about body weight, it won’t respond well to the things that reduce weight, like diet and exercise. The only thing that can help a bit in terms of exercise is strength training. Tight, firm muscles help to hold fat in place, but realistically, it’s just not possible to exercise away cellulite.
Where It Shows Up
Cellulite appears most frequently in the buttocks and thighs. This is because we all tend to have more fat in these areas and the connective tissues are naturally more malleable here. It also doesn’t help that while we tend to focus plenty of attention on our faces, necks, chest, and the backs of our hands when it comes to exfoliating, moisturizing, and applying collagen-stimulating products and treatments, we typically don’t think about supporting the inner layers of skin in the thighs and buttocks.
Primarily a Women’s Issue
In men, the connective tissue throughout the body is generally thicker and tougher, and it also appears in a criss-cross pattern that creates a firmer support structure in the dermis (the deep layer of skin tissue). This is why men tend to develop less cellulite, but it’s also why men, as they put on weight, tend to develop larger bellies. It’s easier for fat to sit down under the dermis and behind the abdominal wall. Men’s fat tends to store deep, around the internal organs. While that might look better on the outside, it’s actually more dangerous to have thick adipose tissues around the organs.
In women, not only is the connective tissue thinner and more elastic, but it is also laid down primarily in vertical bands. Both of these variances are due to the demands that pregnancy places on a woman’s body. During pregnancy, a woman’s abdominal wall need to expand horizontally, and to some extent vertically. In addition, the hips and thighs store additional fat there in anticipation of lactation and to protect the fetus.
During childbearing years, women’s bodies tend not to store fat deep around the internal organs. The fat needs to be stored closer to the surface to leave space to accommodate the growth of a fetus. Women’s bodies are simply genetically programmed to store extra fat around the hips and thighs and to have abdomens, hips, and thighs that are readily expandable.
How Cellfina Deals With Unwanted Cellulite
You can’t change your genetics, but you can do something about cellulite with the only FDA-approved, minimally invasive, one-time treatment for cellulite. This treatment goes to the root of the problem, so to speak, by changing the structure of that layer of fat and connective tissue. Because treatment directly affects the connective tissue, results are both rapid and long-lasting.
How It’s Done
Cellfina uses a technique called subcision, which has long been used to treat scars and wrinkles. The technology employs a specially designed microblade device the size of a needle to selectively slice the connective bands just under your skin. After the injection of a numbing solution, the microblade is inserted and wielded like a windshield wiper, going through the numb area and releasing the cellulite bands. The result is instantly smoothed skin.
Treatment is always specific and evaluated on a case-by-case basis, with specific attention to your unique distribution and density of fat. In most cases, we target each dimple individually. This allows for the best possible results.
Why It Lasts
Without the constant tension from the tight connective tissue, the “dimples” snap back into their original smooth condition. With the connective tissue released, your skin is immediately smoother and appears firmer and more youthful.
The bands of connective tissue affected by treatment will not regenerate or reconnect during the healing process. Instead, they will be broken down and absorbed by the body and excreted through the blood and lymphatic system.
How Long It Takes
The treatment itself is done on an outpatient basis and usually takes one hour or less. Most patients are fine going about their daily business both before and after, as there is no real downtime and no adverse effects have been reported.
How Soon Will I See Results?
Some women report seeing immediate results, but most report a noticeable improvement in skin texture within three days. The immediate results will vary from individual to individual according to fat distribution and density, along with the relative density of connective tissue. Even better, with Cellfina, the skin’s texture continues to improve for three to six months. There are two reasons for this continued improvement.
Dispersal of the Numbing Solution
One reason you continue to see improvement is that it takes a little time for the body to completely get rid of the numbing solution used in treatment. Some people may purge those fluids and any waste from reabsorption of connective tissue within a few days, while others may need longer to completely clear their systems of fluids.
Continued improvement is also attributable to the same mechanism at work when we inject Botox for facial lines. There is an immediate relaxation effect, but, over the course of a few days or weeks, the continued relaxation has a cumulative and even more pronounced effect as the tissue continues to settle and remembers how to lay flat.
Am I a Candidate?
Most people will be helped by this treatment, but it does work best on those at a healthy and stable body weight. It’s important that you be willing to commit to a healthy lifestyle. You’re also a good candidate if you have realistic expectations. This treatment will help, and usually significantly, but it can’t always get rid of every last dimple. Finally, it works best on dimpled cellulite rather than the kind of cellulite that presents in a more wave-like form.
The best way to find out if you’re a good candidate is to come see us at Bougainvillea Clinique. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Hartog has the skill and expertise to help you understand where your cellulite is coming from and the best way to get rid of it. Our goal is that you be happy with your body and the way it looks, so we want to help you find just the right treatment for your needs.
How Long Will Results Last?
According to the FDA, the positive results of Cellfina will last at least two years and may well last as long as five years. Cellfina recipients reported an incredible rate of satisfaction of 94% at one year and 96% at two years. Ultimately, however, your body’s genetics will determine how quickly the collagen layer thins and cellulite forms again.
How to Extend Your Results
You can’t do anything about your genetics, but you can extend your results. These habits can’t make you produce collagen at the rate of someone with different genes, but they can improve your personal results beyond what they would otherwise be.
Watch Your Diet and Exercise
Diet and exercise can’t target cellulite directly, but they can help you extend the results of your treatment. First, maintaining a stable weight will delay the reappearance of cellulite. Second, increasing healthy circulation throughout the body helps build new tissue, remove waste, and oxygenate blood and muscle tissue. Finally, a good diet and proper exercise both stimulate the body to create more collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid naturally, which not only fights cellulite but also keeps you looking younger for longer all over.
Get a Massage
Another way to help your body rid itself of cellulite naturally is to stimulate the lymphatic system, and massage may be the best way to do that. Massage improves the circulation of both blood and lymphatic fluid, creating a two-pronged attack for your body to clean out toxins and excess fluids.
Massage alone can sometimes reduce the appearance of cellulite; however, results are only noticeable after three to six months of daily massages. Few people have the patience, money, or time to enjoy those benefits. It’s much simpler (and cheaper) to seek specific treatment for the cellulite and then help extend those results with an occasional massage.
Our skin health depends on proper hydration. You can help the fibrous tissue network throughout your body stay stronger for longer by staying hydrated. Be sure to drink at least eight full glasses of water a day and more if you’re drinking a lot of caffeine or alcohol. Both are diuretics, so you’ll need to drink a full glass of water extra for each cup of coffee or single drink you take.
The strength of the fibrous network under your skin depends on collagen production, and while collagen production is controlled largely by genetics and there isn’t much you can do to speed it up, there is one thing you can do to drastically slow it down: smoke. Smoking doesn’t just interfere with the production of collagen. It actually creates enzymes that destroy it. In identical twin studies, the smoking twin consistently presents with skin 40% thinner than their non-smoking sibling.
Get Your Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids are good for your health overall, and they can help with cellulite by increasing circulation and strengthening the cell walls of the skin. Eating a healthy diet rich in Omega-3 foods like salmon, tuna, walnuts, flaxseeds, and egg yolks can help you preserve your results for longer.
You exfoliate your face, and that’s great. Are you exfoliating the skin in your thighs and buttocks? This stimulates blood flow, which stimulates collagen production in turn. It also helps to follow that exfoliation with the same type of moisturizing and strengthening creams you might use on your face or other parts of the body.
You don’t have to give up on your favorite tipple completely if you don’t want to, but just be aware of how it’s affecting your skin. As mentioned above, it is very dehydrating, and it actually takes fluid out of the skin itself. Beyond that, however, alcohol causes systemic inflammation that destroys that fibrous layer. If you can’t imagine life without the occasional drink, try these tips:
The clearer the alcohol, the better. That means gin and vodka are better than whiskey. These tend to have the least damaging effects.
Cut Down to Every Other Day
If you’re currently drinking every day, try cutting back to just every other day. This can be the first step towards making even more cuts as you see how much better you feel.
Limit the Sugar
Choose drinks that don’t include a lot of sugar. Sugar dulls the skin, damages collagen, and makes skin thinner. And while we all know the dangers of eating too much sugar, it can be all too easy to take in too much through drinks and not even be aware of it.
Be Rid of the Dimples
Contact the Bougainvillea Clinique in Winter Park, Florida today to find out all you need to know about this treatment. We serve patients throughout the Orlando and Central Florida region, and we can’t wait to put our expertise to work for you.