Losing Cellulite More Challenging Than Losing Weight

August 18, 2006

CINCINNATI -- Cellulite is forever, or pretty close to it, even in the face of weight loss, according to researchers here.

CINCINNATI, Aug. 18 -- Cellulite is forever, or pretty close to it, even in the face of weight loss, according to researchers here.

The lumpy dimpled fat deposits on thighs and buttocks, more correctly called gynoid lipodystrophy, can sometimes be reduced by weight loss, but not eliminated, wrote Marty O. Visscher, Ph.D., of the University of Cincinnati, and colleagues, in the August issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

For other women, weight loss is associated with an even worsening of cellulite, they added.

A six-month observational study of women enrolled in a variety of medical weight loss programs, as well as women in a weight maintenance program, revealed that obese women who lose significant weight reduced the severity of cellulite.

But for women who had less weight to lose at baseline, the cellulite significantly worsened (P

Weight loss makes skin more compliant or looser. Of note, the women who had a worsening of cellulite has less compliant skin at baseline but "experienced significant increases in compliance" as they lost weight, the authors wrote.

"These findings suggest that relatively minor weight lost (i.e. insufficient to change subcutaneous fat), coupled with less complaint skin before weight loss, are associated with changes in epidermal/upper dermal tissue properties which, in turn, negatively influence cellulite," they wrote.

The American Society of Plastic Surgery estimates that 85% of postpubertal females have some cellulite on thighs and buttocks.

The study was supported by Procter & Gamble and by the U.S. Public Health Service and National Institutes of Health.