Can You Beat Cellulite?

3 experts take a look at the latest treatments

By Colette Bouchez
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Cynthia Dennison Haines, MD

Perhaps nothing is cuter than a pair of dimples accentuating your smile. But it's not so cute when dimples turn up on your thighs, buttocks, tummy, and upper arms.

The problem is cellulite, fatty deposits of dimpled skin that can appear on even the most fabulously thin body.

"That's because cellulite is not a fat problem, it's a skin problem. It has nothing to do with what you weigh, or how much weight you lose," says Hollywood dermatologist Howard Murad, MD, author of The Cellulite Solution.

The fat that causes cellulite is not the same as the fat that takes us from a size 10 to a 14, experts say. That fat lies far below the skin, closer to our bones, and it is what the body burns as fuel for energy.

Cellulite, on the other hand, is made up of fat cells that reside within the skin. They can't be burned as fuel, says Murad, so dieting, exercise, even liposuction won't help.

Cellulite is a decidedly womanly problem, primarily targeting females over 35. Although doctors aren't sure why, many say hormones and anatomy are key.

"The best evidence for increased incidence in women is that it's related to hormonal changes, but also the anatomy of what's called 'septa' -- fibrous bands of tissue that surround fat cells in the skin to help keep them in place," says Bruce Katz, MD, medical director of Juva Skin and Laser Center in New York, and clinical professor of dermatology at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.