health tips, health and wellness

Can Ultrasound Be Effective
in Removing Cellulite?

It's estimated that 90% of American women will suffer from cellulite over the course of their lives, and it doesn't matter if they're overweight, underweight, in good shape, or couch potatoes, cellulite is an equal opportunity cosmetic problem for women.


Cellulite, contrary to popular myth, has less to do with your body mass index than it does with the tightness of the "weave" of the connective fibers holding your skin together, and estrogen. Men are much less likely to get cellulite, because the elastic fibers in men's skin run in more of a basket-weave pattern than women's do. That looser connective tissue pattern for women's skin is there for a reason – it lets women gain more weight in times when food is plentiful, to store for childbirth. For men, the basket-weaving pattern keeps the skin tight, which helps the body remove waste heat from muscular exertion.

Hormones also play a part. Estrogen causes fat cells to become "sticky" and clump. This makes it easier for the body to hold on to fat cells under the surface of the skin, and is the reason why women put on fat around the hips, butt and stomach, as a preparation for childbirth. Testosterone (and to a much lesser extent, progesterone) cause the body to burn fat; this is the other reason why men are less likely to have cellulite.

Unfortunately, most of these factors seem to be genetic. If your mother has cellulite, you probably inherited her genetics for "firm skin", which has led to countless solutions for how to solve the problem of cellulite. The short answer is that most of them don't work. Without visiting a doctor, your best bet is to firm up the muscles underneath the skin; regular exercise is good for you for other reasons, but it will also help "squash the dimples".

To permanently deal with cellulite takes medical intervention and some monetary expense. If you're willing to have invasive surgery, liposuction sucks the fat cells away. It does involve a doctor's visit, and anesthetics, and can be fairly expensive.

One highly promising technique that's undergoing FDA testing now is ultrasound massage; ultrasound is ultra-high frequency sound waves; it's used in a lot of medical fields, ranging from prenatal care to dentistry. Already used in Israel and Europe, ultrasound massage uses ultrasound to burst fat cells, killing them, and letting your body's own waste removal system clear them out; the usual course of treatment is a biweekly visit that takes a half an hour to forty five minutes, and a regular course of twenty treatments can have remarkable results; these treatments can be refreshed periodically if the dreaded thigh dimples come back. Until someone works out a method to tighten the fibers under the skin, ultrasound looks like the best way to go.