The New Skinny on Cellulite

For years, youve heard that the only way to improve cellulite is with diet and exercise. Thats pretty frustrating advice, considering that about 90 percent of women—including those who exercise like Olympians—are walking around with unwanted dimples. But all that's about to change.

Research is spurring new treatments that are producing visible improvements in a majority of women. We wish we could tell you that these procedures will magically make all of your cellulite disappear, but that would be stretching the truth. We can say that these are your best bets for making a dent—or fewer of them—in those dimpled thighs.

Lasers that relocate fat
Theyre the latest high-tech take on cellulite removal: painless lasers that smooth the fatty layer for a less-puckered appearance. One, called the TriActive (a laser surrounded by suctioning rollers), recently won approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an effective cellulite treatment. A similar, newer laser is the VelaSmooth—which combines radio waves, infrared light, rolling massage heads, and suction—is awaiting FDA review and generating early buzz. Both of these lasers theoretically firm your skin by boosting collagen while melting and rearranging the fatty tissue.

The process: As you lie on a table, a technician passes the device over your target areas. Far from being painful, the sensation is pleasurable—like getting a slightly vigorous massage for half an hour or so. Youll see your best results after 2 months of weekly treatments. (Dermatologists recommend that you get maintenance treatments at 2-month intervals.)

The proof: In FDA clinical trials done by Mitchel Goldman, MD, a cosmetic dermatologic surgeon and medical director of La Jolla Spa MD in California, the TriActive achieved visible results in 100 percent of patients; 75 percent of them saw their dimples reduced by 50 percent or more. VelaSmooth also seems somewhat successful in studies. “We measured an average thigh circumference reduction of 3.3 millimeters (about 1/8 inch) after eight treatments,” Sadick says.

The payout: $150 to $200 for each of the eight to 14 sessions. Go to for locations.

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Christine Fellingham
Last Updated: February 21, 2008

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