Cellulite. It's that icky, yucky dimply skin on your ass and thighs. Some people also have it on the their abdomen. Almost all of us have it, and almost all of us hate it.
What's totally fascinating is the number of "treatments" on the market - creams, pills, wraps, massages, surgery, lasers, acupuncture, patches - costing from a few bucks to a few thousand. Each company swears its product is the most effective.
But even if you eat well and get lots of exercise, even if you're a skinny little thing, you can still have bumpy, cottage-cheesy skin.
Some say over-the-counter treatments don't work and that short of forking over a couple of grand and climbing onto the surgeon's table, there's not a lot to be done. Others say it's possible, through lifestyle changes and massage, to make cellulite less noticeable.
Yeah, maybe you shouldn't worry about it. Maybe we should all be bigger people and rise above such petty concerns. Who am I kidding? I loathe my cellulite. If a real cure ever comes out, its inventor will be a kajillionaire.
What the experts say
"Begin with a vigorous dry brush on the area, then apply 100 per cent natural sesame oil, the kind made from raw rather than toasted seeds. Massage the area on a daily basis, starting first with the dry brush, then the warmed oil. Grated ginger root as an exfoliant can be applied to the area, and drinking hot ginger tea in the mornings with lemon is helpful."
ANDREA OLIVERA , ayurvedic practitioner, Toronto
"People find that even if they exercise and look after themselves, cellulite develops. [Some people] inherit a propensity for fibrous tissue, honeycomb, that develops under the skin and accumulates pockets of fat. All the treatments address the bumps, but there are more disfiguring ripples, pits and valleys, skin that's actually stuck to the walls of the honeycomb. What we do is free up the skin with a minimally invasive procedure [an injection process]; then we tighten it and stimulate fat breakdown within the swollen fat cells by applying trans-dermal creams I've created. It costs under $2,000 for the procedure, plus 14 weeks' worth of creams. None of the creams you buy in the drug store work, because by law they're not allowed to. Anything sold as a cosmetic cannot penetrate skin. We are the only clinic in the world that does this procedure."
STAN GORE , cosmestic surgeon, Toronto
"An integrated approach has the best success in getting rid of cellulite: improve circulation with regular, moderate exercise, d rink adequate fluids to hydrate the body, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Include sea vegetables in the diet two to three times a week, and herbs can help, of course. Use body creams/lotions with horse chestnut. Massage affected areas regularly. Drink teas or tinctures of a combination of yarrow, cinnamon and gotu kola (Centella asiatica). With yarrow, some cautions may apply for pregnant women and those with ragweed allergies."
DANETTE STEELE , herbalist, Toronto
"Excess fat underlying the skin bulges out because collagen fibres holding the fat in compartments deteriorate with aging. Treatment aims are to reduce fat and increase overall tone of the musculature and connective tissue. Eat a healthy diet with complex carbohydrates (whole grains), healthy fats (fish oil, cold-pressed olive oil) and lots of water to flush out toxins. Exercise daily, alternating aerobics and lifting weights. Skin brushing with a loofah, always toward the heart, and hydrotherapy (alternating hot and cold water) are very effective. A liver detoxification protocol supervised by a qualified practitioner would include liver, kidney, bowel and lymphatic system drainage. Coffee grounds or seaweed wraps have shown some success topically. Improving the integrity of the skin with vitamins A, C and E, glucosamine and MSM are also effective."
ZORANA ROSE , naturopath, Toronto
"We do something called the aroma detox massage. It's an exfoliation that detoxifies you, allows you to have glowing skin and helps with cellulite. It's a citrus salt scrub. The product is made in-house by a cosmetic chef with juniper berry and citrus oils. We scrub your body from toe to head with the citrus scrub. After you rinse in the rainwater shower, we massage you with the same blend and follow that with a massage with oils proven to help with detoxification and cellulite, horsetail and clematis. This helps break down the cellulite and clears out the toxic fatty deposits."
HEATHER BOYD , aromatherapist, RoXpa Spa, Toronto