[By Susie Lowe]

Everyone has it, everyone hates it and everyone’s on the quest to eradicate the dimpled nuisance that plagues our butts, bellies and thighs. Although nearly 90% of women experience cellulite sometime during their lifetime, misinformation about it is just as common as the condition itself. To help demystify this common skin woe and set the record straight, we spoke to the medical experts from the SW1 Clinic specializing in cellulite treatment to give us their opinions about what it is and what causes it, and if there’s any hope in eliminating the dreaded skin dimpling in time for bikini season.

Cellulite is simply fat— FALSE

“Cellulite is mostly fat that has been damaged and is the result of poor circulation and drainage.” Says Dr. Low Chai Ling, aesthetic physician and medical director of the SW1 Clinic. “Women’s fat cells are held in supporting fibers that are not as closely interconnected as men’s, and having an inactive lifestyle results in the fibers tightening their hold onto fat cells which leads to that stubborn, ugly dimpling we call cellulite.”So do watch your weight and don’t be a couch potato or slave to your work desk!

Cellulite is hereditary— TRUE

Just as some families are susceptible to certain diseases, the possibility of extreme cellulite being present is no different. Heredity is a non-modifiable risk factors for having cellulite. But hormones, diet and lifestyle play an important role too, so if your mum and grandmother have or had cellulite, it doesn’t mean to say that you can’t influence it. Therefore, the sooner you take care of yourself, the better you’ll end up looking.

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Having cellulite means you are overweight— FALSE

This is one common, big fat myth (pun intended) that can be very frustrating for those people who are not overweight. Over 80 per cent of women in the western world have cellulite to some degree, including skinny people and even supermodels! (Tyra Banks and Kendall Jenner both admitted to having cellulite). Keep on top of your weight to avoid extreme fluctuations or weight ‘yo-yo’ which stretches the connective tissue in your skin and makes cellulite worse. And if your weight’s fine, don’t try to lose more in a bid to reduce cellulite, the chances are it won’t make much of a difference.

Cellulite worsens with age— TRUE

Unfortunately, for the majority of us, this is true. Cellulite starts to form as soon as estrogens levels increase at puberty, and it should be remembered that it is a degenerative condition. As the years pass, we tend to be less active, put on weight and the skin thinned out, all contributing factors to the worsening in appearance of any existing cellulite. Fat cells get bigger, supporting fibers become stretched, circulation decreases, more fluid gets trapped and the resultant puckering effect on the overlying skin worsens. To stop unnecessary amounts of toxins building up in trapped fluid, cut down on the worst offenders: caffeine, alcohol and nicotine.

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Drinking water will improve cellulite— NOT EXACTLY

It won’t fix the condition but keeping yourself well hydrated is pertinent for good skin health. Most of us are more dehydrated than we think and it’s the outer organ, the skin that usually suffers the most, as the water you do have is preferentially directed to keep the vital internal organs happy. Aim to drink 1.5 liters of water a day to maintain a healthy lymphatic system to remove waste products and keep water levels in your skin at an optimum level.

Exercise will smooth out cellulite—TRUE

Although it won’t get rid of it, as even athletes and regular gym goers can have cellulite. The fact that combining both cardiovascular and weight training exercises improves circulation, removes excess fluid and tones muscles, with skin looking smoother regardless of the cellulite.To stimulate your circulation and boost lymphatic drainage you need to think of your diaphragm and stomach muscles as a piston, so you need to aerobically exercise your whole body for around half an hour up to five times a week for best results. Include dancing, cycling, sit-ups, squats and leg curls and finish with long stretches.

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A healthy diet will prevent cellulite— PERHAPS

A healthy diet is always a good idea, but it doesn’t mean that you won’t get cellulite at all.We do know that anti-oxidants neutralize free radicals, which are implicated in the cause of cellulite and improve micro-circulation. Essential fatty acids, like Omega 3 and 6, are also anti-inflammatory and reduce cells sticking together. Feast on lots of colored fruit and vegetables, especially broccoli and blueberries, along with fish oil in your diet, while steering clear of junk food and artificial sweeteners.

Do cellulite creams help— NOT EXACTLY

No cellulite creams in the current market can get rid of cellulite but there are certain caffeine, collagen and lipid rich preparations that can improve the skin texture and bring you a whole lot closer to having ultra smooth skin.Retinoids have long been considered one of the most miraculous ingredients for smoothing the texture of the skin, softening lines and wrinkles. This vitamin A derivative penetrates deep within the dermis and evokes stimulation right where collagen fibers are created.

CHAI  GOLD OIL RETINOL Vitamin A Anti-aging Neck Treatment is a body specific age-defying oil that can be applied to improve the appearance of cellulite for what it’s worth. Combining retinol with the essence of pure 24-carat gold and essential fatty acids harvested from natural botanicals, GOLD OIL enhances skin’s elasticity, firmness & smoothness for effective skin rejuvenation. By improving circulation and decreasing skin inflammation, pure gold helps to rejuvenate our skin from inside out, giving treated skins a silky smooth feel that you’ll appreciate.

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Liposuction is the only answer— FALSE

Cellu-Melt is a body-cial devised by the beauty experts from the SW1 Spa that uses a proprietary blend of actives in a skin plumping hyaluronic acid base, delivered using a specialized ‘acu-point’ technique. Targeting uneven texture and weakened dermal supports by boosting collagen and elastin production, it is an excellent way to improve skin tone and texture as well as to smoothen out the dreaded ‘orange peel’ effect of cellulite. Complete with a body masque specially formulated to restore skin hydration, softness and suppleness, this 60-minute treatment is your go-to if you want to improve the appearance of cellulite or stretch marks in an effective, fuss-free manner.

If surgical intervention is not on your agenda at the moment, Thermage Body is your next best option that’s approved by FDA for the treatment of cellulite. By utilizing patented monopolar radiofrequency or RF technology, Thermage restores the elasticity of the fibrous septae and strengthens the overlying skin at the same time to improve the “orange-peel” appearance of cellulite. Volumetric heating increases micro-circulation and the perfusion rate immediately, improving the health and metabolism of the treated tissues and promotes tissue repair.Some patients see an immediate improvement in the dimpled appearance of the treated area, but most will see gradual improvements over 6 months after the first session.

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