The Skinny on Cellulite – What Causes It? What Does It Look Like? What Can I Do About It?

CellluliteCellulite…it is a common complaint among women. Dimples on your cheeks are considered cute but dimples on your thighs? Many women are seeking ways to rid their bodies of cellulite and want to know the fastest and easiest way to do so. The goal of this blog is to provide you with the pertinent facts about cellulite and dispel the myths.

So, what is cellulite? Basically it is a condition in which the skin appears to have underlying fat deposits, giving it a dimpled or lumpy appearance. Cellulite is caused by bands of fibrous tissue that connect the muscle to the skin. If these bands are tight, the fat bulges out between them. It is typically most noticeable on the buttocks and thighs and becomes evident after puberty. It occurs in both men and women, though more commonly in women. In the medical world, it is referred to as adiposis edematosa. To those afflicted with the condition, it makes swimsuit season or even wearing shorts a nightmare.

And what causes it? Truthfully, the causes are not well understood but several theories exist to provide an explanation. Some believe hormones play a role in cellulite development; others think it is genetic. It has also been suggested that diet and lifestyle factors contribute to cellulite. People who eat too much fat, carbohydrate or salt and too little fiber are likely to have greater cellulite. And the condition is more prevalent in smokers, those who do not exercise and those who stand or sit in one position for long periods of time. It has even been suggested that tight underwear across the buttocks may contribute to its formation. The point is that no one knows for sure why it happens.

So what can you do about it? First, I would encourage you to be evaluated by one of the physicians or aestheticians at the Emory Aesthetic Center. Let’s confirm the diagnosis so we can create a personalized plan for its management. It may be that you don’t have cellulite but instead laxity of your skin and body contouring surgery such as a thigh lift or liposuction would benefit you.

If it is cellulite, my second recommendation is don’t waste your money on creams, loofas, massagers or the like. If you see an advertisement for a cure for cellulite on television or in a magazine, it is not worth the $19.99 they are selling it for (even if you get the special offer of two for the price of one).

The best solution for cellulite is a healthy diet and exercise. Simple, right? But very hard to accomplish in our fast-paced world of processed foods and sedentary jobs. But it is the only proven approach to get an improvement. Commit yourself to a healthy diet of fresh foods, plenty of water, and moderate to rigorous exercise three days a week, and you will see an improvement. Cellulite may never go completely away but you will see a positive change and be more confident in your swimsuit or shorts.


About Dr. Anderson

Erica Anderson, MDErica Anderson, MD, is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and currently holds an appointment as Assistant Professor in the Division of Plastic Surgery at Emory University. Dr. Anderson completed her general surgery residency and plastic surgery residency at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and associated hospitals in Denver, CO. She completed a year of advanced training in Aesthetic Surgery at Grotting Plastic Surgery in Birmingham, Alabama.

Dr. Anderson returns to Emory University after being in private practice in Arlington, Virginia. While there, she maintained a busy aesthetic and reconstructive practice and also served as Medical Director for the Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center at Virginia Hospital Center.

Dr. Anderson’s academic and research interests are largely focused on clinical outcomes with regards to cosmetic surgery. Her areas of clinical interest are diverse including cosmetic surgery of the breast and body as well chest wall reconstruction and wound care.

Dr. Anderson is married with 3 children, Trent, Connor and Fiona, and 2 vizslas, Max and Mimi.

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