The LipoTherapeia Update II: The Seven Deadly (Cellulite-Producing) Sins. Sugar and Cellulite. Post-liposuction Treatments and Cellulite

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Cellulite expert Georgios Tzenichristos reveals the 7 most important cellulite-causing lifestyle habits, how post-liposuction recovery treatments can also be used for cellulite reduction, and how sugar causes cellulite.

When my clients ask me what is the single most important thing they can do to reduce their cellulite, my answer to them is always the same: stop eating sugary food

Through the LipoTherapeia Update, every month cellulite expert Georgios Tzenichristos publishes a summary of his recent lectures on cellulite, lymphatic drainage, skin firming and cosmetic surgery aftercare. This month the subjects are the effect of sugar on cellulite, how certain post-liposuction treatments can also be used for cellulite reduction and how common lifestyle habits cause cellulite.

Post-liposuction treatments enhance liposuction effectiveness, reduce cellulite
Although liposuction, abdominoplasty, vaser and smart lipo can not remove cellulite (cellulite is integrated into the skin and thereby can not be removed surgically), these surgical treatments are sometimes the only practical options for the removal of stubborn deep fat such as that found on the thighs, buttocks, stomach and waist.

However, bruising, swelling and pain of varying severity is experienced immediately after all types of liposuction, while tissue hardening and scar tissue “bumps” may potentially appear a few weeks later. Cellulite may also become more apparent, as the removal of deep fat exposes the overlying skin's laxity.

As with all any surgery, immediate post-operative care is essential for fast recovery (bruising removal, swelling/pain reduction and overall healing) and for scar tissue prevention after liposuction. Contrary to popular belief, treatments should start as soon as possible after liposuction, in line with other types of surgery, and ideally within 2-3 days after the operation.

For the first two weeks, the combination of electrostatic massage and manual lymphatic drainage massage is ideal for the quick resolution of swelling, bruising and pain. From the third to sixth week more vigorous treatments, such as ultrasound and lymphatic stimulation massage will help prevent scar tissue and aid in the removal of cellulite. And from the sixth to twelfth week after liposuction, one can focus more specifically on cellulite with more vigorous treatment such as deep cellulite-specific massage, high-intensity ultrasound or radiofrequency treatments.

"The right post-liposuction treatment can also be a very effective anti-cellulite reduction treatment, thereby helping the client maximise their investment and make the most of their cosmetic surgery operation", explains cellulite guru Georgios Tzenichristos.

The seven deadly (cellulite-producing) sins
Cellulite has several lifestyle causes, in addition to a hereditary component. Here we present the seven most significant ones, in order of importance:

  • Sugar intake (analysed later on this release)
  • Inactivity: Inactivity does not only cause cellulite by upsetting the body's calorie balance, it also denies the collagen cells of the valuable mechanical stimulation they need to stay functional and productive, and encourages the fat cells to proliferate at the expense of collagen cells, thereby replacing firmness with fat.
  • The contraceptive pill: Estrogen is the main factor why women develop cellulite and men don't. Oestrogen stimulates the proliferation of fat cells on the thighs and hips and ensures that these same fat cells are equipped with proteins that resist fat loss, thereby setting the foundations for the development of cellulite. Hormonal contraception provides excessive amounts of artificial, unnatural estrogen, leading to the familiar contraceptive pill-type cellulite appearance on the thighs and hips. This appearance is characterised by skin looseness, puffiness and excess adiposity, or 'fat trousers', as some women tend to refer to it.
  • Binge eating and drinking: Overeating, especially in combination with inactivity upsets the calorie balance in the body and can lead to excessive deposition of fat into the fat cells. Alcohol bingeing and food bingeing leads to the “dumping” of excessive calories straight into the fat cells - especially the hip and thigh cellulite-layer-fat-cells.
  • Smoking: Smoke components cause oxidative damage and inflammation on the skin and blood/lymph vessels, thereby impairing circulation and lymph drainage and degrading the quality of skin collagen and elastin. Since connective tissue deterioration, poor circulation/lymphatic drainage and inflammation are major causes of cellulite, it is easy to understand why smoking is so bad for cellulite.
  • Alcohol consumption: Alcohol is very similar in its effects to sugar, in that it provides the body with potentially cellulite-causing excess calories, plus the means to guide these calories straight into the fat cells. This is because alcohol metabolites are preferentially used by the body as a fuel source, leaving the carbohydrates and fats to be stored as fat in the fat cells. Alcohol also increases appetite, tires the liver, reduces energy levels, and in the long run causes water retention and poor circulation (after an initial diuretic and blood vessel-dilating effect).
  • Hydrogenated/fried fats and oils: The effects of trans-fats and fried fats and oils are now very well described by science. These oils and fats act as toxins and/or free radicals and cause inflammation and oxidative damage, thereby impairing the function of almost all cells and tissues in the body. In this way, hydrogenated/fried fats and oils indirectly contribute to cellulite formation, in addition to their calorie burden.

Sugar, in all its forms and guises is the most important cellulite-causing factor today
If we have to single out one of the seven most important causes of cellulite we mentioned above, that would be sugar intake. Sugar, in all its forms and guises (sucrose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, maple syrup etc.), is the most important cause of cellulite today. This is because sugar consumption has sky-rocketed in the last few decades, due to its stress-releasing properties, its addictive nature and the wide availability of convenient, so-called “energy-boosting” sweet foods such as muffins, croissants, ice cream, chocolate, cookies, milk shakes, fizzy drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks etc.

Low and medium glycemic index sugary foods, rich in fructose, such as fruit juices, honey and agave nectar are directly converted into fat by the liver. On the other hand, high glycaemic index sugary foods such as croissants, doughnuts and sports drinks abruptly increase blood glucose levels before being transformed into fat. Furthermore, sugar contributes to low grade inflammation (also part of the cellulite problem). Finally, sugar induces skin ageing and connective tissue degradation (also aspects of cellulite) via a chemical reaction called glycation.

"When my clients ask me what is the single most important thing they can do to reduce their cellulite, my answer to them is always the same: stop eating sugary food", states Georgios.

Georgios Tzenichristos specialises in cellulite reduction, skin toning, lymph drainage, and post-liposuction recovery treatments since 2000. In addition to running his busy cellulite clinic in South Kensington, London, Georgios has developed his own range of cellulite creams and regularly lectures and writes about cellulite and related subjects.

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