Sometime last year I became the Image Spokesbutt. I’m not sure how it came to pass; one day I was just quietly minding my own cellulite and the next I was the office guinea pig for new procedures, potions and treatments, even if they involved wearing a makeshift nappy for the better part of a day and night.
Don’t get me wrong- I was/am game. Cellulite came to me late in life- basically overnight, once my hormones started rollercoastering thanks to menopause- and I’m not a fan. So far, most of the more radical things I’ve tried in an effort to get rid of it before it gets too comfortable are ass and thigh-centric because that’s what most machines and treatments seem to target. (Sadly, I haven’t been alerted to anything major for upper arms or knees yet. But I’ll keep you posted when I do. )
Before you go running out to spend hard earned cash on expensive counter measures now that the sun’s out, here’s the lowdown on what’s worked best so far.
Micro-spank the badness out of you with high tech massage developed in France where cellulite, or peau d’orange, is a national obsession. All you have to do is sit back and relax in a super comfy giant armchair while it pummels your legs, butt and tummy. At first, I was deeply skeptical of what it could do - how could something so pleasant actually achieve anything?
Before you start, a therapist works with you to develop a custom massage programme- you determine how intense you want each session to be and whether you fancy a slimming or cellulite focus and then just sit back and let the machine do the rest. The sides of the chair move in to compress flesh tightly against little suction pads that work problem back and side areas up and down for 15 minutes and then you flip over and do the front lying flat facedown for another 15 minutes. (If you are very claustrophobic, take comfort in the fact that you can release yourself from the chair at any time with the push of a button). I started off with an intensity of 6/10 but quickly ramped up to 10/10 .
It's basically like a conventional lymphatic drainage session on speed. It covers way more area than previous machines could and its finely tuned pulses work areas more deeply to maximise circulation.
After three sessions with a day between each, there was no doubt that both tone and surface had already improved. After five, I was addicted. After ten, I’m an evangelist. Now all that remains is to see how long the results last. Will topping up occasionally be enough to sustain the benefits? How often?
Celliss is available exclusively at Nuala Woulfe, 1 hour consultation and treatment, € 75/course of 10 treatments €560)
My life as a spokesbutt began with the most hardcore of treatments, a pioneering, minimally invasive procedure that’s just arrived on these shores. The premise behind it is to tackle head-on the individual collagen fiber strands that attach skin to muscle which create uneven pockets of skin.
Here’s how it rolls: you put on a disposable thong and a doctor analyses every inch of you to see if you have enough to work with then marks up every single dimple worth attacking with a pen- an average person will have 45-60 a side. Not every dimple is suitable; it all depends on your physiology and how the dimples relate to underlying muscle. And one side will probably be worse than the other.
Once targets have been identified, the doctor administers local anaesthetics, which is quite sore. A specially engineered little suction/cutting device is then applied to each and every marked area and the tiny band that connects the most depressed part of the dimple to tissue above is severed so the skin can pop back up to the same level as surrounding skin. This part is uncomfortable, but not sore. I was able to do a crossword puzzle while they worked on me.
When all that’s finished, you get a full wipe down from hip to knee and dressings are applied before you don compression shorts, which you wear for a further 48 hours. Sitting for the first 12 hours is a challenge- not as big a challenge as say after childbirth but you will need to be gingerly about it especially when the anaesthetic wears off. You will also be leaking fluid from each wound site as they pump quite a bit of saline in in order to facilitate the individual snips. (Ergo, do not plan on going straight back into work, or anywhere, right after the procedure). You’ll take arnica for the bruising but even so mine didn’t fade for a full ten days so leave a good fortnight before a beach holiday.
Results-wise, I was gutted to find that in my case it didn't make a big enough difference to justify the cost and bravery required (don’t even think about doing this if you’re shy- this isn’t one for the faint-hearted).
Cellfina is available for hips and thighs from River Medical, €3,000
Many potions and lotions rely on caffeine as an active ingredient for stimulating circulation in problem areas. It's a wake-up for embattled skin. After much experimenting with various products, my favourite is Clarins Body Fit Anti-Cellulite Contouring Expert; it's one of those hero products people are right to rave about. Use it right after showering and leave it soak in while you dry and go about ablutions. It can be a tad sticky if you get dressed straight away and the aquatic mint in it generates a slight tingle that feels best in the open air.
When I went for the Cellfina, the doctor mentioned that, of course, results are enhanced by weight loss. I nodded even though I hadn’t begun to connect those dots. God only knows why I hadn't made the obvious connection between weight gain and cellulite - maybe it was because I’d been gaining weight all my life but had only gotten cellulite recently? Sure enough, though, he was right. Dieting helps because cellulite is just normal fat that everyone has but that you see because specific areas are being pulled at. Alleviate some of the pressure extra weight puts on tissue and you’ll reap benefits.
Bask in Some Safe Sun
More common sense. Some cellulite is only visible in bright, beachy conditions so application of fake tan and/or safe browning, can help hide a multitude of minor blemishes by evening out skin tone. This is essentially camouflage- sunbathing does not help actually diminish cellulite. In fact, sun exposure reduces skin elasticity, potentially making matters worse in the long run. Apply SPF and moisturise and you should be able to manage the cosmetic benefits of being sun-kissed without compounding problems.