Smooth Operator

Flatten cellulite and diminish stretch marks

3-16 Beauty_Cellulite_web1If you’ve ever stood in line at the grocer and perused celebrity mags blasting famous gals for having—eek!—cellulite, it’s no wonder you might shrink in horror at the thought of baring your own thighs and derriere in a pair of Daisy Dukes or a bikini.

For those of you who would do anything to get rid of those rippling bumps and tiny potholes riddling your once smooth body, cutting-edge treatments can help. If you’re suffering from stripes of the stretch-mark kind, there are some tricks of the beauty industry trade that can help with those too. So far, no treatment will completely banish cellulite or stretch marks, but some can work wonders—enough to give you the boost of confidence you might need to flaunt what you’ve got this summer.

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Ciao Cellulite

Of course there are topicals a-plenty available at drug and department stores touting that they smooth away cellulite from the outside in—if you vigorously apply them once or twice a day for a month or more. These typically feature key ingredients like caffeine or vitamin A, and work to stimulate circulation and skin tightening. The effects are temporary at best, so let’s dig into the more complex cosmetic procedures handled by professionals.

Surgical: Two surgical procedures boasting blue-ribbon results with just one treatment are SmartLipo and Cellulaze. Dr. Margarita Lolis, a Yale graduate and board-certified and fellowship-trained dermatologist, uses SmartLipo (laser liposuction) at a specific wavelength to break up fibrous bands under the skin to smooth and tighten. “[You] should expect to see firming of the skin and improvement of dimpling by three to six months after the procedure,” Dr. Lolis said. Cost is on average $5,000 or so.

Cellulaze, the first one-time laser procedure approved by the FDA to treat cellulite, is scoring top ratings by real patients on RealSelf.com. “Cellulaze … melts the excess fat, encourages collagen production, thickens the skin, and releases the fibrous bands [that imprison fat cells and allow them to bulge], encouraging them to heal in a new formation, which reduces dimpling,” said Dr. Dr. Mitchell Chasin, Medical Director of Reflections Center for Skin and Body in New Jersey. Depending on where you go, you can expect to pay upwards of $5,000.

Non-surgical: Devices that use radio-frequency waves, heat energy, or a combination of radio-frequency and infrared are widely popular for combatting clingy cellulite. Look for procedures like Exilis, Thermage, ThermiTight, and VelaShape that shrink fat cells, boost collagen, and tighten skin. These usually require six to eight treatments and results vary, but are temporary (with some results lasting up to a year) and require maintenance treatments down the road.

Financial Help

Can’t swing the expense of treatments all at once? Consider applying for CareCredit, accepted by 175,000 (and counting) providers nationwide. Call (800) 677-0718 or visit CareCredit.com/apply for more details.

[one_half]Sayonara Stretch Marks

If you have had a baby, lost a lot of weight, or gained weight rapidly, you might be experiencing stretch marks. If those jagged, bright-red stripes bother you, you can always start with a topical like Retin-A or something super specific like Mustela Maternity Stretch Marks Recovery Serum. These products have been clinically tested to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

When you need more than a topical, Dr. Chasin said lasers can do the trick. His treatment of choice is fractional lasers (Fraxel). “Fraxel … targets both symptoms of stretch marks: the lack of collagen and underlying structural support, as well as reddish discoloration,” Dr. Chasin explained.

Dr. Chasin also recommends vBeam Perfecta. “vBeam Perfecta provides the best results when done as soon after stretch marks start to appear as possible,” Dr. Chasin said. “vBeam targets the red pigmentation of stretch marks, and helps them to heal in a tone closer to the natural skin tone of the patient, rather than a red or purple color.”[/one_half]

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[one_half]Home Cellulite Treatment

The Instrumental Beauty Cellulite Massager System ($60) features a handheld massager you can use on the hips, thighs, and abdomen. The silicone tipped massage rollers stimulates circulation to help tighten and firm skin while improving appearance of cellulite. The massager’s pulsating action intensifies the massage to help eliminate toxins and fat.[/one_half]

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By LaRue V. Gillespie

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