Cellulite: New Treatment Horizons

Call it "cottage cheese", “peau d'orange”, “hail damage”, or “the mattress phenomenon” most girls cringe at the mere mention of the condition called cellulite. If you're a girl you are plausibly haunted by the appearance of cellulite on your body on account of the estrogen hormone. Cellulite refers to the dimple-like skin texture that some people develop on their thighs, hips or buttocks. It's more common in women than in men, in part because of the way the fat, connective tissue and the muscles are aligned in women's skin. Cellulite is caused by fat deposits that push against the connective tissues underneath the outer layer of skin and is not caused exclusively by obesity or weight gain.

So what can be done about this pesky and unsightly problem?
Many companies have toted creams, massages, therapies and other topical ways of dealing with cellulite. All of them have been relatively ineffective for curing the condition; most might improve it for a short time but require continual maintenance.

Latest Treatment Buzz:

A New York Times article earlier this year highlighted a new and increasingly popular procedure that deals specifically with cellulite, known as Cellulaze. The treatment is aimed at people who have tried diet, exercise or other methods to treat cellulite to no avail. The procedure requires local anesthesia and involves making small incisions in your skin so a small pen tip laser can be passed underneath to break up the connective tissue that creates the dimpling effect.

Studies have shown that this laser treatment under the skin increases the thickness of your skin by 25% and the elasticity of your skin by 29% —significant claims that haven't been made by any other treatments. Thicker and more elastic skin can help flatten and smooth the skin surface to improve the appearance of cellulite. In addition, 93% of patients surveyed after the treatment were satisfied or very satisfied with their results at one year post their procedure, and all volunteered to recommend the Cellulaze cellulite laser treatment to a friend.

While Cellulaze is approved by the FDA to treat cellulite, like any other cosmetic surgical procedure, there are limitations to the treatment. Some women who had the procedure –had excellent results with no more signs of cellulite coming back, but few women saw some complications like bruising and swelling.

It is important to note that patient selection is very crucial while choosing this technology. If someone has a large amount of cellulite and loose skin; she is by far not the ideal candidate. Over zealous treatments can give side effects like seromas (fluid build-up).

Make sure if you consider this treatment do your due diligence and go to a certified and experienced doctor with liposuction experience. As with any new technology, it’s always best to do your research and get advice from experienced physicians before making any decisions.


Ingrown Hair

To have a hairless body OR not to have a hairless body that is the dilemma!
Anyone who as attempted body hair removal knows that the path is paved with ingrown hair, folliculitis, razor burns, and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Today we will look deep into the quandary we call ingrown hair. An ingrown hair occurs when a shaved, waxed or tweezed hair grows back into the skin, causing inflammation and irritation. Ingrown hairs are more common among black males ages 14 to 25. But an ingrown hair can affect anyone with curly and tightly coiled hair who shaves, tweezes, waxes or uses electrolysis to remove hair.

Commonly ingrown hairs present with localized pain, bumps, and coiled black dots in the hair removal area. Sometimes the ingrown hair area gets infected and we see more pain with big red inflamed and infected bumps with pus and blood. Either mild or severe frankly these bumps and blemishes can be embarrassing.

Ingrown hairs most commonly appear in males in the beard area, including the chin and cheeks and, especially, the neck. They can appear on the scalp in males who shave their heads. In females, the most common areas for ingrown hairs are the armpits, pubic area and legs. Signs and symptoms include:
  • Small, solid, rounded bumps (papules)
  • Small, pus-filled, blister-like lesions (pustules)
  • Skin darkening (hyper pigmentation)
  • Pain
  • Itching
  • Embedded hairs

When to see a doctor
An occasional ingrown hair isn't cause for alarm. See your doctor if:
  •  Ingrown hairs are a chronic condition. Your doctor can help you manage the condition.
  •  You're a woman with ingrown hairs as a result of excessive unwanted hair growth (hirsutism). Your doctor can determine whether your excess hair is a result of treatable hormonal abnormalities, such as polycystic ovary syndrome.

Hair structure and direction of growth play a role in ingrown hairs. A curved hair follicle, which produces tightly curled hair, is believed to encourage the hair to re-enter the skin once the hair is cut and starts to grow back. Shaving creates sharp edges in this type of hair, especially if the hair is dry when shaved. When the shaved hair starts to grow out, it curls back to re-enter the skin (extra-follicular penetration).

When you pull your skin taut during shaving, the newly cut hair draws back into the skin, causing it to re-enter the skin without first growing out (trans-follicular penetration). Using a double-edged razor also causes hair to re-enter the skin — the first blade pulls the hair out and the second blade cuts it, which allows the hair to retract. Trans-follicular penetration also occurs with tweezing, which leaves a hair fragment under the skin surface.
When a hair penetrates your skin, your skin reacts as it would to a foreign body — it becomes inflamed.

Risk Factors:
Having tightly curled hair is the main risk factor for ingrown hairs, so the condition is more common among blacks, Hispanics, and Middle Eastern populations.

Simple Solutions:
  • Not removing hair is one way to avoid an ingrown hair.
  • Using a scrub once a week helps to prevent in grown hair.
  • Using a AHA or BHA (like glycolic or sylicylic acid) lotion on the area also helps in preventing the problem.
  • If the area is infected and too painful see your dermatologist.


Hair Free Body Confidence

The minute a girl hits puberty the hormones kick-in and the problem of body hair becomes very real. Despite innovative contributions from medicine and technology the quest for the most efficient and effective method for depilation is still on. If you invest some time into learning what are the different methods available to de-fur the body you’d end up with a long list. Sifting through my long research list I found out that there are only three methods that click with me:
  1. In a big hurry: grab a lady-razor
  2. In a mood to splurge: go for the permanent laser hair reduction
  3. On a budget: grab mechanical epilators. (My hero has always been Braun Silk-e’pil!!!)

Let’s get comfy and talk about hair-related body image and personal hygiene issues & of course the different depilation options (their pros and cons).

Staying Natural
Lets toy with the notion –letting your inner hippy be in charge and flaunting body hair in it's full fleecy glory.
Pros: Life becomes much simpler, no effort, no expense
Cons: Be prepared to be teased, ridiculed and name called publically and privately. Visually it is an undesirable picture, as civilized well-groomed society is so used to a clean hair free female body image.

We have multifold techniques for hair removal and shaving is arguably the most popular.
Pros: Cheap, convenient, time effective
Cons: The main drawback of shaving is that the hair grows back quickly. Most nasty aspect: the newly growing stubble feels thorny, sharp and so non-feminine. Some people claim hair increase in density (thickness). Ingrown hair, and folliculitis are frequent complaints among shavers.

Hair Removal For The Brave

Sugar based hair plucking.
Pros: Done at home it’s a relatively a cheap procedure, allows you to have hair free body for up to 3-4 weeks.
Cons: Done at salon; ends up being quiet expensive (as it is a repeat procedure), painful, messy and oh so! associated with folliculitis and ingrown hairs.

Laser Hair Removal:
Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation in a lay-girl’s vocab it means permanent hair reduction.
Pros: Almost Permanent hair reduction, elegant way to loose excessive hair.
Cons: Expensive, painful (depending on your pain threshold) and comes with risks of side effects if done under incompetent hands.

Mechanical Epilators:
A real effective technique, which involves ripping out the hair from the root (plucking). Most people are aware of waxing as a method of body hair removal, but less are aware that devices exist that act as automated tweezers. They are like electric shavers; difference is they use a spinning set of tweezers that rip out large areas of hair real quickly.

As this is my go-to choice for depilation -Let’s Dig Deeper….

Pros & Cons: The benefits of epilation are clear; you can get rid of hair for four or more weeks without having to constantly shave. However, you need to have the strength of will to survive the relatively painful initial work. Epilation can be relatively painful, but I think it is a lot easier to maintain than shaving and waxing. After all the hair is ripped out, it re-grows sporadically and in lighter forms, so it is easy to periodically remove what re-grows. Some people even report permanent reduction in the hair density.

The method is a little painful, but allows you to remove hair in minutes. And good news is the results last for weeks. Sometimes post-epilation skin reacts to the plucking force resulting in red raised bumps around the formerly occupied hair shafts. The irritation persisted for several days, but eventually heals, with perfectly smooth and hair-free skin. Some hairs re-grow, probably because their roots hadn't been ripped out, but they are few in number and it is much less painful to remove few stray hair than a group of twenty or more simultaneously.

The pain can be lessened by application of topical anesthetics or ice, taking some acetaminophen might help also. My advice; if you’re a girl get used to pain! You are ripping out clumps of hair, after all how are you not supposed to feel pain. On a chipper note I think women probably have it easier than men with epilation, since they generally have lighter and less dense hair.

I encourage any fellow brave girls to try this method of hair removal, since pain builds female character and this method delivers smooth and great results.

So finally which method to choose?
It depends on:
Where the hair is? -Shaving moustache hair = bad move.
How much hair are we dealing with? -No amount of bleach is going to achieve a Brazilian down below
What’s your pain threshold? -Waxing and epilation is not for the faint hearted.
What’s your skin type? -Sensitive skins may react badly to creams and waxing.
What’s your budget? –Laser and salon wax treatments cost mucho dinero

And remember: Just because our gal pals are waxers/shavers doesn't mean we should be. Try for yourself find out which method works for you. Happy selections!