Dieting can make cellulite worse, say doctors

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Indy Lifestyle Online

It is the one thing (other than Pete Doherty) Kate Moss has got that most women don't want: cellulite.

Millions of pounds are spent each year on creams, machines and even clothes that claim to shift the telltale orange peel effect from legs and thighs, while weight-loss programmes also promise to banish those unsightly creases in the skin.

But leading cosmetic surgeons have now told women they must get used to the lumpy look as a fact of life.

An article in the medical journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery said losing weight will not banish cellulite altogether and in some cases could make it worse.

Recent pictures have showed that even the super-slim model Ms Moss has fallen victim to the condition.

John Kitzmiller, associate professor of surgery at the University of Cincinnati and author of the article, said 85 per cent of women were sufferers - and they should get used to it. Professor Kitzmiller said: "We found that weight loss in overweight patients improved the condition of cellulite but for a few it actually worsened the condition."

Patients in whom cellulite had worsened had started off slimmer than others in the study, suggesting that beyond a certain point, dieting will not do any good. And those who did achieve significant weight loss were still left with some dimpling.

Douglas McGeorge, president-elect of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), said it was the quality of a woman's skin and her age, rather than the quantity of the fat in their thighs, that determined whether cellulite would occur.

He said: "It is not always to do with being overweight. As we age, we lose skin tone and cellulite looks worse. There is no cure as yet for cellulite in anybody - it is part of life."

Cellulite is caused in the bands of fibrous tissue that connect the muscle to the skin. When fat, fluids and toxins are trapped beneath the skin, the bands become hard and tight and the fat is compressed, causing the orange peel effect.

As women mature, the skin layers become thinner and the cellulite looks worse.

Despite the continued scepticism of the experts, the beauty industry still reaps millions of pounds each year from women desperate to try the latest treatments for their dimpled thighs. Patches that are applied overnight to the affected area claim to reduce cellulite, while the supermodel Cindy Crawford insists that massaging a combination of ground coffee and olive oil over her skin every day does the trick.

The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) says liposuction cannot reduce cellulite but certain procedures may break up the hardened tissue causing the problem, while injections of fat into the affected area can temporarily banish dimpling.

Endermologie, a mechanical roller massage therapy that claimed to iron out cellulite, was found to have no long-term benefits in a recent study published in the ASAPS journal. One of the latest products to come on the market is a pair of jeans from the clothing store Miss Sixty, which contain capsules of a cream made from shellfish. When the jeans are worn, the friction makes the capsules burst and the cream is absorbed into the skin.

While women are most at risk of cellulite in the thigh and buttock areas, men are not immune; they may frequently encounter the problem in the neck and abdomen areas.