There’s no evidence cellulite is unhealthy or bad for you. It’s just one of the ways the body naturally stores fat. However, if you want to know how to get rid of cellulite, a vast array of treatments can help you smooth it out. Some work over a few days, and others take as much as a year to show results. Read our cheat sheet for answers to questions such as, "what is laser lipo" and "what's inside those body wraps?" Then, the next time you’re at the med spa you won’t mistake Thermage and Zeltiq for two of the French seven dwarfs. Laser Lipo: Body Contouring Without Surgery During this noninvasive treatment, laser beams purportedly break down the walls of fat cells, draining them of their contents. Patients can help their bodies to process the contents by exercising, or by chanting “Metabolize” 30 times in front of a mirror. Sample brand: i-Lipo, which works via laser-emitting pads placed against the skin. To see the treatment in action and see four women wearing sunglasses inside, check out the treatment on The Ricki Lake Show. And read our interview with the owner of a med spa that offers i-Lipo. CoolSculpting: Freezing Fat Cells If you're wondering how to reduce cellulite, you might try CoolSculpting. This method hits fat cells with a targeted cold front, chilling them until they crystallize. Dead, frozen fat cells are easier to metabolize than room-temperature ones, just as TV dinners are easier to digest straight from the freezer. However, the slimming process is gradual—full results don’t materialize for two to four months. Sample brand: Currently the only brand is Zeltiq. This is the company’s signature treatment, available only via their trademarked, handheld cooling device. Radio-Frequency Treatments: Collagen Catalysts Radio-frequency waves heat tissue in order to reshape its subcutaneous collagen—one of the proteins responsible for youthful skin’s tautness. The treatments also promote fresh collagen production. These two effects together can minimize the appearance of cellulite for up to a year and produce even longer-lasting skin-tightening effects. Sample brand: Thermage. Early forms of this treatment could heat skin to uncomfortable temperatures, but the latest technology, like most breath-mint commercials, manages to work in frequent blasts of cool air. Body Wraps: Short-Term Smoothing Most body wraps follow roughly the same protocol: the spa attendant first administers a body scrub and then applies the wrap’s primary ingredient, typically a moisturizing agent. The next step is to swaddle the client in a thermal blanket and leave him or her to relax for roughly half an hour. Though the process temporarily minimizes the appearance of cellulite by plumping up the skin, it doesn’t actually affect fat cells. That means body wraps can work well for a special occasion but not for a long-term fix. Sample types: Wraps tend to vary from spa to spa, but common ingredients include seaweed and caffeine, though the exact mechanism by which they work is sometimes disputed. Topical Creams: Red Bull for Your Skin Many topical creams are explicitly designed to treat cellulite. The key to finding one that works is browsing product reviews before you buy. Anecdotal evidence suggests some creams visibly improve cellulite over two months or so; other creams, however, are glorified water, though you shouldn’t freeze them and put them in a margarita. Sample creams: Popular options include aminophylline creams, which work similarly, and retinol creams, which promote collagen growth. Clarins Super Restorative Redefining Body Care not only breaks down fat cells but also uses caffeine to dehydrate the skin for a temporary toned look. Browse Groupon for deals on cellulite treatments in your city or read more on the Guide: What Is Zerona and How Does It Work? Favin the Maven trys out Zerona, another laser-lipo treatment, and tells you five things you need to know about it.
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