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What Causes Cellulite and How Can I Get Rid of It?

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Question: What Causes Cellulite and How Can I Get Rid of It?
Answer: Ugggh, what is it with getting older? Cottage cheese pops up first on the backs of thighs, shows up later on the arms and eventually even on the calves (we saw a picture a couple years ago in US Weekly of Uma Thurman's cellulite calves!). So what is cellulite and how to get rid of it?

Contrary to popular belief, cellulite is not caused by excess weight. It's all in your genes, which explains why even skinny women can have it (hello Uma!). Cellulite is caused by clumps of fat cells that push up against surrounding fibrous connective tissue. "The inherent thinning of skin's support structure makes fat cells more obvious," according to *David J. Goldberg, MD, in the September, 2007, issue of Elle Magazine. This is what gives you dimples and what appears to be clumps of fat under your skin.

So how to get rid of it? Unfortunately, there's not much you can do ... for now. Much research is currently underway on laser therapies, but none of have proven completely viable (or we'd be lining up at our local dermatologists, with me heading up the line).

Until a "cure" is found, there are some options which some swear are minimally successful:

1. Exercise. Some personal trainers claim exercise can cut down on cellulite. Others suggest building up the muscles in the back of the leg and in the buttocks can mask cellulite.

2. Caffeine. Caffeine, the active ingredient in many cellulite creams, works by pushing water out of fat cells, temporarily reducing the apearance of dimples.

3. Treatments. Some people have found minimal success with Endermologie (not cheap at about $100 a session). This spa treatment rolls and suctions the skin breaking up fat tissue. The results can be significant, according to InStyle Magazine, but short-term.

4. Camouflage. Hide dimples with a fake tan. Self tanner darkens skin, effectively camouflaging dimples.

*Goldberg is clinical professor of dermatology and the director of laser research at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in NYC.

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