Cellulite: Getting Rid of Cellulite (cont.)

Cellasene, which contains a mixture of herbs such as ginkgo biloba, sweet clover, and grape-seed oil, as well as non-herbal ingredients, claims to improve capillary circulation, inhibit collagen breakdown (which helps keeps skin firm and elastic), and support healthy connective tissue, thereby reducing the appearance of cellulite.

Too good to be true? When British researchers evaluated Cellasene in a November 1999 study in the Journal of Psychotherapy Research, their results were lukewarm. In the study, one group of women took Cellasene and one group took a placebo pill for two months. There was no noticeable improvement in the cellulite in either group. In addition, some doctors caution that the high level of iodine in the pills can lead to thyroid problems.

The Operating Room: Plastic Surgery

A final cellulite treatment option (and one that Maria will not likely resort to) is the most controversial: plastic surgery, in the form of liposuction. While some physicians claim that liposuction can reduce cellulite, it's best suited to remove "deep" fat, not fat that is close to the skin. "If cellulite improves as a result of the liposuction, I tell patients to view it simply as a bonus," says David Amron, MD, a dermatologic surgeon in Beverly Hills, Calif. In fact, trying to remove fat that is quite close to the skin can lead to unsatisfactory results, such as dimples and depressions. In the end, Kling and Amron conclude that liposuction is simply not an effective treatment for cellulite.

Maria's Quest Continues

So Maria soldiers onward, at (almost) any cost. She is currently midway through a 15-week massage and paraffin-wax cellulite treatment regimen. "So far, I haven't seen any results. But I'm going to give it a few more sessions," she says hopefully. She's crossing her fingers that, at $90 per treatment, this will be the technique that finally works.

Originally published April 10, 2000.

Medically updated April 22, 2003.

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