Cottage cheese quotient
Sara:"I didn't think I had cellulite, but after careful examination of my thighs and backside, I figured the 'miracle creams' weren't a bad idea."
Dana: "Daily yoga devotion has toned my hips and thighs, but my post-baby bum wears a droopy expression, and the backs of my thighs have acquired unflattering dimples."
Sara: Genie in a bottle
Potion 1 L'Oréal Perfectslim Night ($25), a non-greasy gel, uses ginkgo, par-Elastyl and caffeine extracts to smooth and help reduce the appearance of cellulite. Effects: It absorbed really quickly, and minimally softened the skin. Great to wear at night.
Potion 2 Cellu-Ice by Skin Spa Therapies ($80) is a gel-like cream with a strong scent. Effects: Tiny, champagne-like bubbles burst against my thighs; some skin-smoothing qualities.
Potion 3 Shiseido Body Creator Aromatic Sculpting Gel ($68), a non-greasy gel that gives a tingling sensation akin to Vicks VapoRub. Effects: The tingling sensation lasts up to 20 minutes and the result is softer, smoother and more refined skin.
Potion 4 Clarins Total Body Lift "Stubborn Sponginess" ($60) actively slows down the development of adipose tissue, where cellulite originates. The texture is silky smooth, with a fresh fragrance. Effects: A pleasure to use: the tingling sensation was brief, but instantly tightened the tops of my thighs-the best yet.
Potion 5 Lancôme Body Sculptesse Anti-Cellulite Silky Gel ($62) is formulated with caffeine and ginkgo to smooth skin. The texture is silky soft with a heavy fragrance. Effects: Absorbed quickly to tighten the skin.
Potion 6 H20 Plus Aquafirm Body Shaping Lotion ($53) uses a marine blend of firming agents, caffeine and Sepilift to inhibit the dimpling effect and improve skin's elasticity. The texture is thick and the scent is clean. Effects: No tingling sensation, but it noticeably tightened my skin. It's also a great moisturizer.
Dana: Space-age spa
Treatment 1: Ionithermie
Cure Ionithermie Body Treatment Plan, $225 per 75-minute session, available at Absolute Spa in Vancouver (www.absolutespa.com). Recommended for 10 treatments over five weeks for best results.
Ill-advised for pregnant women, diabetics, chronically ill patients or cancer patients, as well as those with pacemakers, who've had transplant surgery or who have metal implants.
Lure This 25-year-old French biotech treatment was found to reduce cellulite by stimulating improved cellular function in fat cells. Electrodes are planted on a marine-extract-infused clay wrap, pumping specialized products into the skin via electrical current, boosting circulation and lymphatic drainage while breaking up cellulite deposits. With continued exercise and a healthy diet, the effects are expected to be long-lasting.
Ouch factor The ocean-inspired wrap feels cold and clammy, and the electrical impulses feel like a thousand miniature masochistic massage therapists pummelling my thighs, bum and belly.
After treatment My navel-to-knees zone looks toned, but tummy flab reappears days later.
Overall The spa experience: divine; the cellulite-effect: disappointing-no doubt my legs, hips and abs would be tight and trim after the 10-treatment regime.
Dimensions before Upper waist, 32.5 inches; thighs, 18 inches.
Dimensions after one treatment Upper waist, 31.5 inches; thighs, 17 inches.
Need to smooth that skin out? Check out some treatments on the next page ...Treatment 2: Velasmooth
Cure Recently approved by Health Canada, VelaSmooth is a vacuum-like device that zaps lumpy cellulite by combining radio frequencies, infrared light and skin massage. It is now available in most major Canadian cities. (See www.syneron.com for more information.) Vancouver's Dr. Sachit Shah charges about $2,000 for 10 40-minute treatments over five weeks.
Ill-advised for women who are more than 50 pounds overweight, diabetics or those using certain drugs to treat skin conditions such as acne.
Lure It diminishes dimples by heating lumpy, subcutaneous fat, then letting it congeal to a flatter consistency, resulting in smoother skin. If I treat my body like a temple, the results should linger for many summers.
Ouch factor Other than the occasional low-grade burning skin sensation, the satchel-sized vacuum nozzle pleasantly kneads my saggy nether regions. The lie-down treatments are about as painful as a pedicure.
After treatment My waist is slimmer, and my abs, thighs, upper arms and butt are noticeably tighter and more toned. Both spirits and backside are forever lifted.
Overall The required daily guzzling of two-to-four-litres of water sets my face and hair aglow, and my spare tire is melting away. The backs of my thighs emit a slight burning sensation after each treatment.
Dimensions before Waist, 27.5 inches; hips, 33.5 inches; thighs, 20.5 inches; arms, 11 inches.
Dimensions after 10 treatments Waist 26.5 inches; hips, 32.3 inches; thighs, 19.9 inches; arms, 10.4 inches.
Treatment 3: Lipodissolve
Cure Lipodissolve, a variation of mesotherapy, is considered safer and more effective than mesotherapy for combatting cellulite. The products used for injection are patient-specific combinations of natural vitamins and herbal products such as soybean lecithin that contain enzymes capable of burning away stubborn cellulite deposits in the stomach, thighs and butt. Although widely practised, Lipodissolve has not received Health Canada approval, since pharmacists still customize the injectible materials based on patient needs and physicians' requests, says Martin Braun of the Vancouver Laser and Skin Care Centre (www.vancouverlaser.com), who charges upwards of $1,000 for the eight-week, four-treatment plan. In Edmonton, cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Barry Lycka (www.barrylyckamd.com) charges about $2,000 for Lipodissolve and Endermologie combined.
Ill-advised for women who are more than 25 pounds overweight, diabetics, chronically ill patients or anyone allergic to the injectible materials.
Lure Both Braun and Lycka report stunning results in combination with VelaSmooth or its predecessor, Endermologie, labelling the procedure a cheaper, less invasive alternative to liposuction. According to Braun, the injectible materials used in Lipodissolve target the beta receptors in fat cells, which trigger faster fat metabolism and melt away the surrounding damaged cellular connective tissue that, together with distorted lumps of fat, create cellulite.
Ouch factor Usually described as a perched-on-a-pincushion sensation; occasionally causes minor skin irritation, swelling or bruising.
Cellulite myths revealed on the next page ...
Cellulite myths and realities
Myth 1: Too much coffee and couch time cause rippled skin.
Caffeine and slothfulness are cellulite-friendly, says White Rock, B.C., medical journalist Lorna Vanderhaeghe. But cellulite is really "a medical condition called lipodystrophy, caused by poor lymphatic drainage in fat cells underneath the skin, distorting collagen (connective tissue) and creating skin 'pockets.'"
Myth 2: Only plus-sized women get cellulite.
If you're out of high school, you're probably sporting orange-peel thighs, says Vanderhaeghe, citing the latest StatsCan report that cellulite affects 90 percent of 20-plus women. Vancouver physician Dr. Martin Braun says super-thin women are less-than-ideal candidates for cellulite-reduction procedures like mesotherapy because their skin cells store too little fat to reap full treatment benefits.
Myth 3: Cleopatra used essential oils to beautify her bootie.
While the ancients may have possessed unsightly dimples, Vanderhaeghe, author of The Body Sense Natural Diet, suggests the obsession is as au courant as yo-yo dieting, junk food and excessive spot exercising-all cellulite contributors. But Vancouver physician Dr. Sachit Shah says today's high-tech treatments, such as VelaSmooth and Lipodissolve, are closer than ever to a cure: "Eighty percent of patients see beautiful results."
Myth 4: Cellulite can be "cured."
In a recent article on WebMD online ("Claim: Say Goodbye to Cottage Cheese Thighs"), the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery concluded that the best anti-cellulite creams and treatments could not permanently eradicate cellulite. However, Virginia Beach, Va., plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Mladick (www.mladickcenter.com) said he foresees in the next five years a longer-term solution via gene therapy, possibly involving the replacement of a defective cellulite-causing gene with a non-defective gene.
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