“What is the best remedy to reducing the look of cellulite on my thighs and buttocks?” asks a reviewer on RealSelf. “Why is it so difficult to find a solution to this widespread problem for many women?”
It’s one of the toughest problems out there: cellulite. Finding an effective cellulite treatment is the holy grail for many women, and there are a ton of products and creams on the market claiming to get rid of the dreaded “cottage cheese thighs.” One of these latest gadgets is the FasciaBlaster, an at-home tool that claims to eliminate cellulite, whose makers are now facing a lawsuit as reported here by Buzzfeed.
“Without clinical research to back up these claims, there is no way to know if it actually works,” says Dr. Joel Schlessinger, a dermatologic surgeon in Omaha, Nebraska. “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” People on RealSelf echo Dr. Schlessinger’s assessment: As of press time, 14 out of 21 people say the FasciaBlaster is “Not Worth It.”
That said, there is a newer, minimally invasive treatment that is clinically proven to work: Cellfina. It has a better rating on RealSelf, with 79 people rating Cellfina as “Worth It,” with 15 saying “Not Worth It.”
Cellfina is an FDA-cleared device that can produce results that last at least three years in studies. “Cellfina yields long-term results,” says Dr. Sheila Nazarian, a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills. “It doesn’t just make you look better for a few weeks.”
Here’s how it works: your doctor photographs and marks the dimples to be treated. The device numbs the areas being treated, then inserts a tiny blade to cut the fibrous band just under the skin that’s causing the dimpling. The in-office treatment takes about an hour, and only one treatment is needed, at least for those three years. According to Cellfina’s clinical studies, 100 percent of patients still had “noticeable improvement” three years after treatment.
Ready to hit the beach, right? Not so fast. Plan on wearing Spanx round-the-clock for a week. Also, expect bruising and swelling for two to six weeks. “We do more Cellfina in the fall and winter months as people are preparing for summer,” says Dr. Nazarian. “We slow down in the summer because no one wants to be bruised on the beach.”
Related: Q&A with Cellfina doctors
Cellfina also doesn’t treat every kind of cellulite, just dimples. “It is important to point out to the patients that their dimpling will be improved, but not the lines or areas where they lack volume,” says Dr. Nazarian. “Lines are a sign of skin laxity that is better treated with volume enhancement and skin-tightening procedures.”
If you have lines or wavy/rippled skin as well as dimpling, other treatments can be combined with Cellfina. Dr. Nazarian uses Sculptra Aesthetic or fat transfer to add volume, and radiofrequency for skin tightening.
If you want to combine these treatments, what will it cost? The average cost of Cellfina is $4,125 (and most patients only need one treatment). Injections of Sculptra Aesthetic will set you back $1,900 and last about two years. And a skin-tightening treatment costs $1,425. All these prices are U.S. averages based on reviews from people on RealSelf. Costs will vary based on your doctor, geographic area and complexity of your case.
So, it is possible to effectively treat cellulite, but it’ll cost you. The total for all these treatments is $7,450. And, as nothing is proven permanent, you might need to pull out your wallet again in a few years.