Sunday, June 17, 2007

Cellulite treatments

There is no officially proven and approved treatment for cellulite. One of the reasons is that quality research in this area has been scarce. On the other hand, there are a number of empirical treatments on the market claiming to improve cellulite. Which ones, if any, are reliably effective will remain unclear until rigorous clinical studies are conducted. Below we discuss cellulite treatments that either appear promising or are popular or both.

Caffeine creams: Caffeine is known to promote lymphatic drainage from tissues (i.e. remove excess fluid) as well as increase lipolysis (promote breakdown of cellular fat). In theory, this could counteract some of the factors contributing to cellulite. Hence, creams with caffeine or somewhat similarly acting substances (such as aminophylline) have been used to treat cellulite. As of the time of this writing, no independent study has demonstrated the effectiveness of topical caffeine for cellulite. A few studies demonstrating some benefit have been commissioned by skin care companies and cannot be considered unbiased. A single study demonstrating the effectiveness of aminophylline was small and its principal investigator appears to have had a conflict of interests.

Diet: A number of cellulite diets are being promoted by some skin care and/or nutrition experts - mainly in conjunction with sales of topicals, supplements and dieting materials. The more rational of these diets recommend foods and supplements that reduce inflammation, improve microcirculation, strengthen connective tissue and activate fat metabolism, i.e. allegedly address the key factors in the development of cellulite. The problem is that there is no proof that any diet has any effect on cellulite. Until there are any decent studies, dietary treatment of cellulite will remain a wishful thinking. Still want to try to defeat cellulite with diet? Then pick the one that makes the most sense in terms of general health: plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, high in fiber, rich in omega-3 fat, low-glycemic and so forth. You may not cure your cellulite, but at least it wouldn't be a wasted effort. Keep in mind that losing weight does not eliminate cellulite. However, it may modestly reduce the appearance of cellulite because it makes fat tissue shrink.

Directed energy: light, laser, radiofrequency: Directed energy treatments have been making inroads into the cellulite treatment business. Some of the claims are plausible because certain forms of directed energy can reach the junction between the skin and fat tissue and even further. One such device called TriActive incorporates a low-energy laser, a skin-cooling mechanism, and suction massage. The goal is to stimulate collagen, circulation, and lymphatic drainage in the lower skin layer and below while protecting the skin by cooling. A course of treatments with TriActive may cost up to $1,500. Another device VelaSmooth used a combination of radiofrequency energy, infrared laser and suction-based massage. Radiofrequency radiation deep-heats fat tissues causing some fat cells to burst; infrared light heats the juncture between skin and fat, improving circulation and inducing connective tissues remodeling; suction-based massage evens out the newly softened tissue and stimulates drainage. All of the above allegedly reduces cellulite by 50% or more over a series of ten $200 sessions ($2,000 total). The effectiveness of VelaSmooth remains to be proven in solid studies.

Mesotherapy: In essence, mesotherapy involves injecting a cocktail of chemicals, which may include vitamins, herbal extracts and off-label drugs (i.e. drugs approved for other purposes), into the area affected by cellulite. The rationale of this approach is the idea that delivering active chemicals directly to the source of the problem should be more effective than applying them topically and hoping that meaningful amounts will penetrate. The active chemicals are selected by their ability to soften connective tissue, break up fat, stimulated remodeling, circulation, drainage and so forth. The most prudent approach is to wait until more studies are performed to determine safety, effectiveness and best practices for mesotherapy. Or at least try other things first. Mesotherapy is typically performed in a series of 5-10 sessions, costing about $150 each.

Specialized massage: Many salons offer anti-cellulite massage, which usually employs rollers, shakers, suction, vibration and so-forth. Such massage does not seem to cause any sustained tissue restructuring and at best can achieve some degree of short-lived smoothening. Or just even out your excess cash.

Tomorrows Article: Connection between blood sugar & healthy skin………..

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