What treatments have been developed to help reduce the appearance of cellulite?

Many treatments have been developed and promoted for the treatment of cellulite.  Lifestyle changes should be the first step and include healthy eating, regular exercise and muscle toning to help keep the body taught and smooth.  Over-the-counter and medical therapies include:

  • Massage treatments: Several machines have been produced that massage and suction cellulite to help with its reduction.  These machines use may use rolling cylinders or electrically powered devices that suction and manipulate affected areas.  Endermologie, a technique developed in France, has been approved by the FDA for temporary reduction in cellulite. Treatments are expensive and regular maintenance is required.  Cellulite will return after cessation of treatment.  
  • Laser or Light therapy (TriActive, VelaSmooth):  The FDA has approved these two light therapy devices for the reduction of cellulite.  These devices combine suction massage with light or laser therapy for the temporary reduction of cellulite.  TriActive combines a laser treatment with suction and manipulation of the skin. VelaSmooth combines laser treatment and massage therapy.   Like Endermologie, these treatments are expensive and require scheduled maintenance treatments. 
  • Mesotherapy: This is a controversial treatment for cellulite that involves injection of drugs into the affected tissue.  Injected drugs are FDA approved but usually used “off-label” or not in the way the FDA intended their use. Multiple injections over many sessions are given and there are mixed results regarding how well they reduce cellulite.
  • Collagenase:  This is a naturally occurring enzyme in the body that breaks down collagen.  
  • Methylxanthines: These are a group of chemicals that include caffeine/stimulant containing compounds.  These compounds are present in many cellulite creams and promote treatment of cellulite by breaking down fat stores.  Unfortunately, these creams cannot deliver a high enough concentration to cause significant fat breakdown. Some individuals may see results but generally there is no significant loss of cellulite. 
  • Other marketed cellulite treatments include cellulite diets, dietary supplements and wraps. Liposuction is not recommended for treatment of cellulite.