Between 80-90% of women are likely to develop cellulite—or gynoid lipodystrophy—yet researchers don’t fully understand why it happens. Cellulite is the appearance of bumpy, dimpled skin, usually on the thighs and buttocks, though it can occur in other places.

At Valencia Medical Center, our team of expert providers offers cellulite reduction treatments to help reduce the appearance of cellulite. We can also provide you with lifestyle tips that can help lower the chance of cellulite developing or worsening. In this post, we discuss the three grades of cellulite and some of the immediate actions you can take to discourage cellulite.

How cellulite develops

Though researchers don’t know why cellulite develops in some people and not others, they do understand the process. If you think of the collagen that supports your skin and holds back fat cells as a sort of mesh structure and the fat cells themselves as balls, it’s easy to picture how cellulite develops.

Fat cells become larger and exert more pressure on the collagen mesh. Imagine one of those cages of elastic string used to hold inflatable toy balls in stores. Now think of the balls expanding, pressing against the elastic—that’s essentially what happens when fat cells press against the collagen under your skin.

As women get older, they tend to produce less estrogen, which affects their circulation. With less blood flow to your thighs and buttocks, your body produces less collagen. The combination of larger fat cells pressing against a weaker collagen mesh results in the bumpy look of cellulite.

Grades of cellulite

Cellulite is classified by severity, from grade 0 (no cellulite) to grade 3 (severe dimpling). Here’s how experts describe the grades:

  • Grade 1: mild dimpling, with a slight appearance of draping or sagging skin
  • Grade 2: moderate, sometimes described as a cottage cheese appearance, and more moderate draping or sagging skin
  • Grade 3: severe dimpling, sometimes compared to a lumpy mattress, with severely draping skin

Regardless of the grade, if you have cellulite, you probably don’t like it! The good news is that you can do something about it.

Lifestyle plays a role

While researchers haven’t pinpointed the exact role of the factors likely involved in cellulite appearing, a few things are clearly associated. For example, women approaching menopause tend to have lower estrogen levels, worse circulation, and more cellulite.

Regular physical activity may help improve blood flow and lessen the appearance of cellulite. Not smoking, too, can improve circulation, as well as not sitting for extended periods of time and not wearing underwear with tight elastic across the buttocks. Eating a balanced diet that limits fats, salt, and carbohydrates may also help.

Treatment for cellulite

We offer shockwave treatments to lessen the appearance of cellulite. We use a device that delivers sound waves through your skin in alternating waves of pressure.

Shockwave therapy improves your circulation so that the affected area has better blood flow and increased collagen production. You may also notice less swelling, better tone, and less cellulite.

It may take multiple sessions, depending on the grade of your cellulite. During your initial consultation, your provider can offer detailed information specific to your situation. Schedule your appointment today to find out more about how we can eliminate your cellulite.

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