Brian Widenhouse, M.D.

Orange peel syndrome, cottage cheese skin, hail damage, the mattress phenomenon - all these refer to the same condition- cellulite. Cellulite is the official term used to describe the dimpled appearance in the skin caused by fat deposits. These deposits are just below the surface of the skin and give the skin an unwanted rippled look. In most women, cellulite appears after puberty particularly on the abdomen and thighs.

What causes cellulite? Many researchers believe hormones, particularly estrogen, play a role in aggravating cellulite. This is because almost all women have cellulite. Women usually store fat in their butt and thighs due to estrogen production, which is why cellulite most often appears in these areas. However, cellulite can also occur in other areas including the knees, lower abdomen and under the arms. The condition is aggravated during pregnancy, menstruation, nursing and estrogen therapy. This is the female body's natural way of storing fat to make sure enough calories are stored for pregnancy and lactation. Genetic factors such as gender, race, metabolism, and body composition can predispose someone to cellulite. Other factors including diet, smoking, sedentary lifestyle and even tight clothing may also contribute to the formation of cellulite.

It is important to remember that cellulite is not fat. Losing weight may help improve the appearance of cellulite, but it can also make cellulite appear worse by making the skin sag. Slender women who have never been overweight still have cellulite. To see how much cellulite you have, pinch the skin of your thigh between two fingers and see how much the appearance changes. The cellulite will appear as ripples or dimples in the pinched part of the skin. The dimply look of cellulite that appears without pinching is what concerns most women.

There is no known cure for cellulite, but there are several therapies that have been used to treat its appearance. These treatments can be very effective in reducing the “cottage cheese” look. There are many factors that contribute to how successful one treatment will be over another – age, background, weight, and lifestyle. Every woman is different and if one person shows improvement with a cream, another might need more advanced treatment.

A doctor’s first approach is usually prescription creams or lotions. Brian Widenhouse, M.D. can prescribe methylxanthine creams which result in a major improvement in some women. There are also many other treatments available including lymphatic massages, ultrasound therapy, heat therapy, radio frequency therapy, radial waves therapy, magnetic therapy, Dermasonic ultrasound and Endermologie.

Talk to Brian Widenhouse, M.D. to understand all the treatments that are available to you by calling (843) 518-5000 to make an appointment.

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