I don’t think you need a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon to tell you the answer to this one. I mean, I’m fairly certain that if it were “yes,” you wouldn’t have to even ask. It wouldn’t be a big secret—it would be like getting “Lasik” and nearly every woman over the age of thirty would have had it done by now.
So as a surgeon Board-Certified in both Plastic and General Surgery, specializing in body contouring for over ten years, I have made an honest list of options for “treating” cellulite:
1) Let go of the self-hatred. Understand that even Victoria’s Secret™ models have cellulite in their untouched photos. Sure, some of it gets worse with weight gain, and it definitely increases with aging, but most of it is as genetic as the color of our hair and eyes. Structurally, cellulite is just a bumpiness caused by the angle of the connections of our skin to the deeper tissue. And until somebody comes up with a way to cut those connections without creating a huge scar that most of us don’t want, all we can really do on a daily basis is accept it, and—at times—ignore it. My personal solution is not to look down at my legs in direct bright sunlight.
2) Camouflage it with a high quality spray tan. Like you would an ugly bunion with nice shoes. In my opinion, the best home spray tan is L’Oreal Sublime Bronze™, which has a really natural color, doesn’t have a weird smell, and is only $12 a bottle at CVS. For those special occasions my recommendations are Brazil Bronze Salon in NYC, and a girl who makes house calls all over Los Angeles. If anyone is interested and she “okays” it, I will post her information.
3) Temporarily improve it. Every year there’s a new non-invasive laser or light/massage machine that the manufacturers swear ablates cellulite. From an anatomic standpoint that’s pretty much impossible. I mean, do you really think that even the deepest massage can cut connections under your skin? We’re made stronger than that.
Not that these treatments don’t work at all. First of all, they make you feel better–they massage your tissues so aggressively that they can actually cause severe pain, so you figure something must be happening. The trauma and swelling that they cause can temporarily make the offending area smoother. So, if you have the time and money to have it done a couple of times a week, you can probably “stave off” the appearance of cellulite for the rest of your life. But I have never felt comfortable recommending these expensive treatments to patients as a “cure.” However, I do encourage all of my liposuction patients to have Velasmooth™ or deep tissue massage treatments post-op because they do help with lymphatic drainage and speed up the healing. My go-to person in Los Angeles is Erica Zodtner on Roxbury in Beverly Hills.
I would love comments/suggestions on this topic to find out what if there are any more non-invasive treatments are working for other people
4) Fill it up. This is another temporary, extremely expensive fix. I have found that Hyaluronic Acid fillers (like Restylane™ and Juvederm™) can be injected into contour irregularities to smooth out the skin. I have seen these fillers last on the body for six months, sometimes longer. But the problem is an obvious one—at anywhere from $400–$700 for a one cc syringe,depending on what city you live in–the cost is astronomical. It’s reasonable if you have one or two dents that really bug you, but it could cost $10G to treat one thigh. You could try to strike up a deal with your local plastic surgeon and see if they’ll give you a bulk rate, but even so, it’s just not practical. I have heard that there is a less expensive filler available in larger quantities in Europe, but legally you would have to go there to get it done.
5) Remove the skin. This drastic measure works only for the cellulite due to aging, and is one I consider myself every time I catch that unavoidable glimpse in my full-length mirror when I get out of the shower in the morning. I hike up the skin at hip level up to mimic a body lift that would smooth out my legs and wonder—would I take the scar? Some days the answer is “yes”, some days “no” depending on how many lights I have on, and how recent my spray tan.
In summary, whoever comes up with the solution for cellulite is going to be the world’s first trillionaire. It’s bigger than Harry Potter and Twilight. Bigger than Google, maybe even bigger than the internet. Think about it—if you could trade in your Gmail account to get rid of your cellulite, wouldn’t you?