Do cellulite treatments work?

“It really works, you know…”

If I got a penny every time I heard this phrase about cellulite treatments, I would be a millionaire. OK, I exaggerate here, but you get the idea: I am fed up of BS on this issue 20 years now. If you have not already guessed it (most cellulite treatments do not work), read below why.

A cellulite treatment that works…

The ‘It really works” BS, worth thousands of £££

For a customer, believing this BS may mean a few hundreds of pounds wasted. For a practitioner, though, it may mean ten, thrity, sixty, ninety thousand £££ (or $$$, whichever you prefer) down the drain.

And do you know what makes it even more insulting? To be presented by a machine salesman with blatantly fake before and after photos in order to extract sixty grand out of your pocket. And when you tell them “the pictures are fake, I used to be a photographer and I can see fake pictures from a mile away”, they tell you: “No, those pictures are taken by the such-and-such doctor who has a clinic in Knightsbridge, they are official, they can’t be fake”. To which the answer is, “Yes they can, the doctor is a fraud, and he is not the only one when it comes to fake before and after photos. And because someone is a surgeon and has a clinic in Knightsbridge does not make his fake “before and after pictures” official in any shape or form, thank you very much”.

According to the BS-ers, every treatment under the sun works, even the most pathetic ones. But then how come there is still cellulite left, right and centre, even on celebrities with untold sums of money in the bank, who could have the best of the best when it comes to cellulite treatment?

Kim Kardashian supposedly got rid of hers a few years ago with a low-power, superficially -acting radiofrequency treatment (bipolar RF), Katie Price did the same a couple of years ago with the so called “tripolar” RF. And both today have glorious amounts of enormous cellulite. So, no, it doesn’t work either, even if it is endorsed by a celebrity.

And then of course you have the cheap mechanical massage treatments, that if you ask those who provide them, they all “work you know”. Those actually make a very vibrant case of the “It does work, you know” BS, that I have to hear all the time.


Mechanical massage: a good case study of “It really works, you know”

A few decades ago they used to say about this “It really works, you know”, same as they say today about rolling ball massage and - less and less so - vacuum suction palper-rouler massage. If it worked it would not have disappeared and thousands of scientists around the world would not use the highest possible tech for something that actually “really works”.

A few decades ago they used to say about this “It really works, you know”, same as they say today about rolling ball massage and - less and less so - vacuum suction palper-rouler massage. If it worked it would not have disappeared and thousands of scientists around the world would not use the highest possible tech for something that actually “really works”.

“It really works, you know, and I have also lost 20 pounds in weight”, someone told me about cellulite massage a few years ago, only to confess a few seconds later that she was eating lettuce and water for three months. Yeah, it was the massage that made you lose 20 pounds.

The other day someone who actually provides a mechanical massage cellulite treatment based on rolling spheres told me that “it really works”. Well, she has some vested interested to say that, but no it doesn’t, it’s not so easy.

In that case why the vibration belts of the sixties, the percussion massage of the nineties or the vacuum suction / palper-rouler massages of the noughties, all types of mechanical cellulite massage, fell out of favour with the public, all because they simply DON’T work?

It is a fact: mechanical massage of any type (rolling spheres, vacuum suction, vibration, “fascia blasting”) does NOT appreciably reduce superficial fat accumulation and does NOT appreciably reduce skin laxity (the two elephants in the room, when it comes to cellulite) to declare that “It really works, you know”…

Granted, mechanical massage temporarily helps boost circulation and lymphatic drainage, which gives you the illusion of cellulite reduction. But it is temporary, it is only water removal, NOT fat removal or collagen synthesis, and DOES NOT change the structure of cellulite (too much fat, too little collagen). But then again, the good old clay cellulite wraps do the same and they are much more pleasant, less expensive and you can have them at any corner beauty salon.

If a temporary improvement is all that you want, go for it. But don’t fall for the BS that “it works” because it doesn’t. If it worked, especially at such a relatively low cost, the poor and the rich would simply have no cellulite and would not have to invest thousands of pounds for real treatments that actually do work.

Some mechanical massages in fact can actually make skin worse. Vacuum suction massage can give you spider veins and cause skin looseness. Rolling spheres and vibration massage can cause spider veins too. And “fascia blasting” can actually damage your connective tissue.

Yes, like the mechanical massage practitioner mentioned above, I have a vested interest to say all that, as I offer cellulite treatments, but then if those treatments worked, I would STILL offer them, I wouldn’t abandon them 15 years ago. I would not need to research day and night and I would not need to spend so much money and grey matter working with treatments that “work” or looking for treatments that “work” better, for the benefits of my clients.

I have personally practised mechanical cellulite massage, in all its guises, in the beginning of 2000s, and the results were poor. This is why I switched first to strong manual massage with active ingredients and then, a few years later, to high-power, deep-acting radio frequency (because low-power or superficial-acting RF also does not work), COMBINED with high-power cavitation (because low-power cavitation or cavitation on its own does not work either) AND COMBINED with electro mesotherapy featuring multiple highly concentrated active ingredients (because electro mesotherapy on its own does not work), in order to give my clients the absolute maximum benefits per hour of treatment.

I am not a masochist. Instead of paying tens of thousands of pounds and spending untold hours of researching, studying and experimenting, it would be much easier for me to buy an £1k-£10k machine, hire a beauty therapist, train her for two hours and provide 10 mechanical massages a day at low cost and at a mass scale and count the cash. But if you care about your clients, it’s not that easy.

Let’s get real here, mechanical massages are good for some nice circulation boosting, but that’s all. They don’t go further. If you want a temporary boost a few days before your holidays that’s great (or go for clay wraps), but don’t buy the BS that “it really works, you know”…


So do cellulite treatments work?

No. Contrary to the Knightsbridge surgeon’s fake pictures and the “It really works you know” BS of untold equipment salespeople and treatment providers, no, most treatments do NOT work.

This is because most treatments:

  • treat the wrong part of the skin (e.g. bipolar/tripolar RF)

  • are too weak (e.g. acoustic wave; most RF; most cavitation)

  • are totally irrelevant to the key aspects of cellulite (e.g. HIFU, mechanical massage, acoustic wave; injection mesotherapy)

  • all of the above

There is another major reason, which does not have to do with the value of the treatment itself: most women “do not work” themselves, i.e. they keep eating, drinking, smoking, not exercising/walking/moving as in the past, and therefore they don’t give the treatment a chance to work. But that’s another story…

And there is individual variability: some people will react really fast, some will take more sessions to have results. But in all cases, 6-12 sessions is a realistic number of treatments for a treatment that works. The body needs repeated stimulation to change, so three sessions are NEVER enough (don’t believe the hype) and if you need 20 sessions to be happy that means that either you have a lot of cellulite (fair enough) or the treatment is not good enough.

So, in summary, most cellulite treatments DON’T work, a very small number of them DO and in some cases a treatment works better, while in some other cases it works less efficiently. But the treatments that do work are very few and are specific. And this is something which aligns with the experience of millions of women around the world.


So what is the solution?

In my opinion, the combination of deep-acting, strong radio frequency PLUS strong ultrasound PLUS a host of active anti-cellulite ingredients in high concentrations is the best I can offer to my clients for cellulite. It is very technical and very costly to provide, especially when compared to cheaper and easier to provide treatments, but it is the best treatment I know for cellulite.

I have tried and researched all the important technologies, treatments and active ingredients, from the cheapest to the very wildly expensive, from massages to acoustic wave to the, quite pathetic in my opinion cellulite surgery options, and that’s what I would apply on myself or on my partner.

It is not a miracle (whoever believes in miracle solutions lives in the clouds, not in real life), and if I feel that for some people it is not going to “work” (usually severe cellulite, age of 65+) I tell them from the beginning (I have turned away many clients in the past). However, in my experience, this is the best possible approach against cellulite at the moment.

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