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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 August 2006, 09:25 GMT 10:25 UK
Cellulite 'worse' after dieting
cellulite - spl
Around 85% of women have cellulite
Losing weight may actually make cellulite worse, a study suggests.

Around 85% of women have cellulite - with celebrity magazines delighting in spotting famous women with tell-tale "orange peel" dimples on their thighs.

US plastic surgeons monitored 29 women who lost weight, and found slimmer women who lost little weight and had looser skin had worse cellulite.

British plastic surgery experts said cellulite was "a fact of life" and that there was no cure.

Cellulite, which can develop on the stomach, thighs and bottom, is caused in the bands of fibrous tissue which connect muscles to skin.

When fat, fluids and toxins are trapped beneath the skin, the bands become hard and tight and the fat is compressed. It is this which causes the dimpling effect.

Age can make skin layers look thinner, and so cellulite looks worse.

Methods suggested to reduce the dimples include exercising and drinking plenty of water.

But millions of pounds are spent each year on creams, patches and other products which claim to get rid of cellulite.

Skin elasticity

This study was carried out by researchers from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

The women were all enrolled in medically-supervised weight-loss programmes including eating low-fat meals, liquid diets, anti-obesity medication and surgery - gastric bypass and gastric banding - were studied.

Cellulite is simply part of life
Douglas McGeorge, British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons

Their body mass index (BMI) - which indicates if someone is a healthy weight - was measured before and after their weight loss programme or surgery.

The average weight loss was 30.5lb, but the amounts lost ranged between 2.3lb and 102lb.

Out of the group, 17 saw an improvement in the appearance of their cellulite while nine found it get worse.

Patients who saw the biggest improvements were those who lost the most weight and so lowered their percentage of thigh fat.

They had a higher BMI at the start of the study, and more severe cellulite.

The women whose cellulite worsened were those who had previously had a significantly lower BMI, lost smaller amounts of weight and had no change in percentage of thigh fat.

How elastic their skin was after weight loss was also crucial, as cellulite became worse in those whose skin became significantly looser after weight loss.

John Kitzmiller, a plastic surgeon and co-author on the study, said: "Cellulite is not specific to overweight people but excess weight may worsen the condition.

"We found that weight loss in overweight patients improved the appearance of cellulite, but for a few it actually worsened the condition.

"Although the appearance of cellulite diminished for the majority of patients, weight loss did not totally eradicate the condition.

"The dimples appear to be permanent features that lessen in depth as the pounds come off."

The researchers said more research needed to be carried out.

Douglas McGeorge, president-elect of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said: "Cellulite is simply part of life. There is simply no cure for it yet."


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