“It would be great if there really were some magic bullet treatment for cellulite,” notes dermatologist Gabriela Frías Ancona, director of Grupo Médico Dermatológico and a standing member of the Mexican Counsel of Dermatologists who has a specialized practice at the ABC Medical Center and has honed her talents in Europe and the United States.
“But the fact is that we cannot really solve the problem; we can only treat the symptoms.”
That’s the bad news. The good news, on the other hand, is that like most experts in the beauty and dermatology field, Frías Ancona is convinced that many of the commercial cellulite creams on the market today can indeed penetrate surface skin to even out what lies beneath.
The secret, she says, is to find one that contains ingredients with molecules small enough to pass through the epidermis.
“Unfortunately, most of the products currently available are collagen-based,” she told The News.
“Collagen is just too thick to be absorbed under the skin. What that means is that most women are simply throwing their money away when they buy an anti-cellulite cream.”
Frías Ancona went on to explain that cellulite is composed of superficial deposits of body fat and other residue that gets trapped between layers of skin or muscle.
It causes uneven dimpling or “orange peel” skin.
Although rarely seen in men, it is common in most post-adolescent women, particularly in the area of the thighs, buttocks and abdomen.
Contrary to popular belief, cellulite is not related to obesity, since it occurs in overweight, normal and thin women.
If your skin is losing its natural firmness due to a loss of collagen and elastin, any fat deposit under the skin will begin to be more noticeable.
“You can be born with a predisposition to cellulite,” Frías Ancona said.
“Some sorts of skins naturally contain more elastin and more collagen, but we all tend to lose these with age. We now know that overexposure to the sun, hormonal supplements and smoking can aggravate the problem.”
Increased weight invariably increases your risk of cellulite, since the more fat cells you have, the more likely they are to be noticeable in your thighs and buttocks.
Frías Ancona also said that although your best defenses against cellulite are the traditional methods that your mother always tried to teach you — that is, a healthy diet and keeping physically fit — cosmetic science is also filling its arsenals with new ways to battle orange-peel skin.
CREAMS AND GELS
Christian Dior’s revolutionary Svelte cream broke international records 18 years ago when it first came on the market, registering sales of more than 3.5 million bottles in the first 24 months — a clear sign that women are actively looking for a quick fix to the orange-peel skin that plague so many of us.
And since then, countless other cosmetic and body care companies have produced their own versions of cellulite-fighting creams, lotions and ointments.
Both dermatologists and cosmetologists recognize that one of the main benefits of anti-cellulite creams comes from the massaging process used to apply them, which promotes circulation and can help break up large deposits of fat under the surface skin.
Many modern cellulite treatment products also contain caffeine or other chemical encapsulated in tiny particles to reach the deeper layers of the skin where they can help to break down fat deposits.
Yuriana Luna Espino, a cosmetic pharmacologist who is now the director of Proyección de Clínicas, which distributes the Murad brand in Mexico, pointed out that about 95 percent of all women have some cellulite, and while there is no way to eliminate it entirely, “we can significantly reduce the appearance of orange-peel skin and leave our skin smoother, softer and firmer by using cellulite treatment on a regular basis.”
Firm and Tone, her company’s answer to cottage-cheese thighs, promises to produce visible results after just four weeks of daily use.
“With daily applications, we have seen up to a 40 percent decrease in the appearance of orange peel skin and an 80 percent increase in skin moisture,” she said.
“Firm and Tone has a natural extract of cayenne pepper to stimulate healthy cell growth and circulation. But in the end, the only real way to fight cellulite is through following a healthy diet, getting lots of exercise and drinking at least eight glasses of water a day.”
In addition to the creams and lotions, here are some of the latest weapons to fight off the fatty enemy:
Although not generally available in Mexico, several of these products have been marketed internationally and contain a variety of ingredients such as ginkgo biloba, close, grape see and fish oil.
These preparations claim to have positive effects on the body such as boosting metabolism, improving circulation, protecting against cell damage, and breaking down fats.
So far, there are no valid clinical studies to support the use of these dietary supplements for the treatment of cellulite, and some such supplements may even pose health concerns in people with thyroid or other health problems.
Both Frías Ancona and Luna Espino warned that they should never be taken without first consulting a physician.
Salon treatments and body wraps
The use of chemical astringents and massage can produce visual results similar to those from commercial creams, but in some cases far more rapidly.
Prices vary from salon to salon, but they are generally not overly expensive.
While wraps may decrease fluid retention and improve the overall appearance of skin, these effects are temporary.
This is a machine developed in France during the mid-1990s that acts like a vacuum cleaner on the affected areas.
The suction process stimulates circulation and expands the fibrous tissue, creating a smoother appearance.
This method requires at least 12 half-hour sessions over a two-week period.
It is costly, tedious and does not work for all women.
Regular maintenance treatments are required after the initial effect has been achieved or the appearance of cellulite will return.
Luna Espino also said that Endermologie can prove counterproductive if the skin is over-pulled or the treatment leads to a loosening of the tissue network.
Consequently, she said, it should only be applied by a specialized Endermologie technician.
This technology penetrates below the skin, supposedly breaking down fat deposits through exposure to dermal heat.
Recommended by both Frías Ancona and Luna Espino as one of the most effective ways to reduce the appearance of cellulite, the noninvasive treatment is far less expensive than Endermologie.
It requires at least 10 initial sessions plus a monthly maintenance session.
Long, thin needles are inserted at designated points in the body to stimulate muscle activity and increase blood flow, thus producing cell movement in the lower skin.
Results vary dramatically from patient to patient and there is no scientific evidence that this method is effective.
Costs can range from inexpensive to semi-expensive.
This is the most extreme alternative for treating cellulite and, some say, the most effective.
It should only be done in a medical clinic or hospital by a qualified surgeon.
Through this procedure, fat cells are literally suctioned out of the body while the patient is under local or general anesthesia.
The process can be very painful, but the results are permanent, since your body will not produce new cells to replace those that were removed.
Liposuction is costly and is not recommended for all patients.
Remember, we are talking about surgery here, which implies that it involves the same risks as any medical operation.
It is a known fact that free radical damage can hinder the skin’s ability to effectively repair itself overnight. But now, SkinCeuticals has captured the power of resveratrol — the chemical compound in grape skins and other red fruits that is believed to have antioxidant properties — in a powerful night concentrate that repairs and prevents accumulated damage. Resveratrol B E, available only through dermatologists and plastic surgeons, is formulated with a maximized concentration of 1 percent pure, stable resveratrol, synergistically enhanced with 0.5 percent baicalin and 1 percent alpha tocopherol (vitamin E) to boost skin’s own antioxidant defense system and promote its natural nightly repair for improved radiance, elasticity and density. The result is a more luminous complexion with a noticeable improvement in skin tone, texture and resilience, as well as a diminishment in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Clinique’s new Pep-Start Quick Cleansing Swipes — available this month exclusively in Sephora — are wipes that help keep skin out of trouble by removing the excess oil, dirt and debris that can clog pores. They smooth skin through mild exfoliation, instantly moisturize and prep skin for flawless makeup application. Great for all skin types, they are perfect to use on the face, neck, chest, upper arms and back. The Swipes come in a pack of 50, so they are perfect for refreshing skin post-workout, pre-date and any time you want a quick pick-me-up. They are a perfect companion to Clinique’s Pep-Start Hydroblur Moisturizer and Pep-Start Eye Cream.
Three in every four Mexican women will suffer a vaginal yeast infection at least once in their lifetime, and many will have recurring cases. Often caused by stress, chafing, poor diet, lack of sleep, hormonal changes or a change in pH levels, it is important to treat the condition before it can lead to other complications. But many times, women don’t know how to treat the infection and are afraid to ask for help. Worse yet, many begin treatment and do not finish it, which can lead to a boomerang infection. Now, Canesten V, the leading brand for treating vaginal yeast infections both in Mexico and worldwide, has introduced a new one-day treatment that is easy to use. Available over the counter in pharmacies and supermarkets throughout the country, Canesten V 1-Día suppositories take the mess and worry out of yeast infection treatment so you can get on with your life.
The Spanish home goods brand Magefesa has a new line of cookware products, including a seven-safety-point Practika Plus pressure cooker with features comparable to premium labels. The extra-thick aluminum disk with base and fill lines, which are often missing on midrange pressure cookers, make sautéing a breeze and saves the cook from having to guess whether they’ve reached the maximum fill. The Practika Plus lets you choose four settings with a twist of a knob: high pressure, low pressure, pressure release and no pressure. The valve twists right out of its housing for easy rinsing and cleaning, without the need for tools or complicated operations, and the pot’s three-ply base features an aluminum disk which is thicker than most economy pressure cookers.