In recent years, MedSpa treatments have become an increasingly popular way to reduce the appearance of cellulite. Spas offer a variety of options for decreasing the skin’s dimpled appearance, from laser skin tightening to IPL laser treatments to lipodissolve, all with varying effects and most with a hefty price tag. Before you open your checkbook, however, it is important to understand what cellulite is, why it occurs, and what these MedSpa treatment options actually do.
Cellulite, also commonly called “orange peel syndrome” or “cottage cheese skin,” is a term used to describe the dimpled appearance and texture many women develop in their pelvic area, legs and abdomen. While cellulite is commonly thought of as a side effect of excess fat, almost 90% of women will develop cellulite, regardless of their physical fitness. In fact, while its initial cause is still unknown, dieting has actually been shown to worsen the appearance of the skin. Other factors believed to play a part in the development and severity of cellulite are hormones, possibly including estrogen, that are first released at puberty, as well as genetic predisposition. Stress may also be a factor, as it increases the levels of some hormones, which may promote cellulite development.
The latest trend in MedSpa treatment is the boot camp approach. These regimens, promoted by spas and celebrity fitness trainers, include the Blue MedSpa Cellulite Boot Camp, the Woodstock Fit Body Boot Camp and Mexico’s Bikini Boot Camp. While they differ slightly from each other in terms of actual treatments, they all use the same strategy, performing a number of treatments that each promise to attack cellulite from a different angle. Blue MedSpa’s boot camp, for example, combines nutritional and weight loss programs with detox body wraps and footbaths, body massage and the Body by Thermage treatment, a non-invasive laser therapy.
Even a MedSpa that does not offer a boot camp regimen, may offer laser therapy either on its own or in conjunction with other therapies. Lasers are believed to help break down the subcutaneous fatty tissue, which results in cellulite reduction. Some tests have shown this type of therapy to be particularly effective when used with roller cellulite massagers and suction treatments. It is also sometimes used in conjunction with liposuction or other, more invasive, cosmetic surgeries. Because lasers have been shown to work best with other forms of treatment, many companies have trademarked their particular combination of treatments. One of the most popular is Cynosure’s TriActive treatment. TriActive promises to shape and tone the skin by using a combination of laser therapy, mechanical massage and localized cooling for ultimate cellulite removal.
Those who find boot camps and laser treatments too extreme or expensive often prefer the MedSpa standby of a cellulite cream or body mask. Non surgical liposuction procedures are available, although they may not be as effective. While over-the-counter cellulite lotions have been available for decades, they usually do little more than moisturize the cellulite. Modern MedSpa masks may be made of physician-strength chemicals such as Glycolic Acid, or they may be made of natural ingredients. Epic MedSpa’s Parafango Anti-Cellulite Body Wrap, for example, uses a combination of paraffin wax and dehydrated mud to draw toxins out of the body’s fat cells. While results may not be as extreme as with laser treatments, this type of treatment is more natural, less invasive, and does not cost the hundreds or thousands of dollars that are charged for boot camps and lasers.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember before signing up for a MedSpa treatment is that regardless of their claims of success, results can be greatly varied. In fact, no treatment currently on the market has been proven to successfully reduce the appearance of cellulite all of the time, or even most of the time. Since a 2008 study found none of the available treatments to be particularly successful, numerous doctors and dermatologists have stated their opinions that many treatments have been misrepresented and that people should be wary of spending their money on MedSpa cellulite treatments.