Cellulite: the dimpled, orange peel looking skin that mars the backsides and thighs of women is a curse for more than just the Gold Coast bikini bunny. Whether you’re slim or overweight, cellulite can still crop up and about 80 per cent of women are affected with the condition.

No wonder the search for a solution has women spending like crazy on the latest thigh toning creams and ‘cellulite blasting’ diets.

But according to Dermatology Institute Victoria dermatologist Dr. Greg Goodman, there is no proven cure.

“Things like drinking more water, wearing certain types of shorts, or applying different types of creams appear to make absolutely no difference,” he says. So is there anything that can help?

“Although one can not equate obesity and cellulite, it does appear that weight loss makes it look a little less obvious in some people,” says Dr. Goodman. “At best, some procedures such as mesotherapy and endermologie might work temporarily or not at all.”

This doesn’t sound promising but if you are going to try anything, here’s a quick snapshot of potential treatments.

Diet and exercise

The claim: Exercise builds up muscle, which holds the connective tissue more firmly so the appearance of cellulite is greatly reduced. Also if you happen to be overweight and lose weight through diet and exercise, it may help to camouflage the appearance of cellulite.

However accredited dieticians Geraldine Georgeou and Maria Manoli of Designer Diets advise against fad diets including detox diets.

“Many people fall into the trap of simply eating less to lose weight but not realising you could simply burn up all that good muscle leading towards even more cellulite,” they claim.

“Detoxing to get rid of cellulite is not scientifically proven and often the client will lose fluid and muscle, not fat!”

Tip: Increasing lean protein and adequate caloric intake to improve body composition can help, according to the dieticians.

Resistance training can also help build lean body mass and reduce the look of cellulite but always seek expert advice such as an exercise physiologist.

Endermologie: Involves a hand-held device that gently lifts and holds the skin while massaging and stimulating a targeted area.

How it works? It works on the unproven basis that cellulite is caused by poor circulation. The treatment claims to improve lymphatic flow, and the disorganisation of the subcutaneous fat structures that contributes to cellulite

Evidence: Little evidence supports its efficiency. At best, one short-term study found that 39 patients completed 14 sessions and showed aan average reduction of 1.83cm in body circumference, as cited in [2].

Cost: About $100-$150 a session. Several treatments are needed to see results, if any, and ongoing treatments to maintain.


The claim: It dissolves fat directly with the use of microfine injections as a non-surgical alternative to liposuction.

Evidence: Although there are limited studies to support its effectiveness, it is a treatment that cosmetic and laser physician, Dr George Calfas recommends as his first line of treatment against cellulite.

“Lipolysis is the only treatment that does gives a permanent result by permanently reducing the fat pockets under skin that bulge and create dimples,” he says.

However there are limited studies to support its effectiveness and Dr. Goodman says that it has no predictable effect on cellulite.

Cost: From $200 a session. Dr. Calfas says you can expect to see results in 6-8 weeks.

Mesotherapy: This procedure is similar to lipo-dissolve in that it involves injecting products into the skin layer itself to firm the skin. According to Dr. George Calfas, the procedure doesn’t give any long term result. It requires maintenance treatments at regular intervals, and takes weeks to months to see results if any. It is also about $200 per session.

Radiofrequency ie. VelaSmooth

The claim: Velasmooth combines infrared light, radio frequency, suction, and mechanical massage to increase the metabolism of cellulite’s fat cells and reduce cellulite.

Evidence: One study of VelaSmooth cited in [3] found a 40 per cent average improvement on their cellulite, although this was not tested for statistical significance. Another blinded study of 20 patients found a 50 per cent improvements however the effects diminished slightly over time. Again, more research is needed to justify its long term effectiveness.

Cost: About $200 per treatment. VelaSmooth claim that about 16 treatments are recommended, and without maintenance results begin to fade.

What is it cellulite? Fat deposits trapped in pockets of connective tissue which are located just under the skin. The fat cells protrude up through the connective tissue causing a cottage cheese appearance. It is most commonly seen in women in the buttocks, stomach and thighs.

What causes it? Cellulite has variably been attributed to structural, circulatory, hormonal, and inflammatory factors, but the path of development is unsettled [3]


1.-Saint Louis..Treating Cellulite? It’s still there. New York Times; 2009. Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/25/fashion/25skinintro.html

2.Khan MH, Victor F, Rao, B & Sadick NS. Treatment of cellulite. JAmAcad Dermatol. 2010; 62:373-84.

3. Wanner M & Avram M. An evidence-based assessment of treatments for cellulite- Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 2008.
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