Cellulite, the fatty deposits that look like orange peel right under your skin, often appear on your thighs, hips and buttocks. About 90 percent of women will develop this subcutaneous fat at some point in their lives, reported ABC News in 2013. Men can develop cellulite too, but it's far less common because they have less fat around their hips and thighs and have more connective tissue to keep fat in place.
Cellulite can happen to anyone -- even fit and slim folks -- but genetics and aging influence its severity. Women apply creams, undergo laser treatment, go under the knife and use tight herbal wraps in hopes of making cellulite disappear. None of these treatments -- including weight loss, exercise, creams, massage and wraps -- can get rid of cellulite entirely.
What Is Cellulite?
Cellulite is fat right underneath the surface of the skin. It collects in pockets that can make the skin look dimpled. Fibers of collagen, a protein that firms the skin, connect fat to the skin. As these fibers stretch, break down or pull tight, the fat cells bulge out -- creating the appearance of cellulite. Because it's so close to the surface of the skin, it's more visible than other fat in your body. Your diet, level of hydration, hormones and metabolic efficiency all contribute to cellulite development and appearance.
Body wraps are sold for home treatment or for use in a spa. You wrap yourself in a bandage-like product that's been soaked in special compounds -- usually minerals, vitamins and herbs -- that promise to shrink away cellulite. Some procedures promise a loss of 6 to 20 inches from various parts of your body. They also claim to expedite the removal of toxins and waste products that make cellulite look more pronounced and are detrimental to your health in general.
Some topical treatments or creams placed underneath or soaked into the wrap may diminish the appearance of cellulite temporarily, especially if they contain caffeine, which has a brief tightening effect. Wraps may also shrink you down a size or so at first, but this shrinkage doesn't actually mean you're losing the cellulite and isn't permanent.
A body wrap is nothing but a quick fix with exaggerated promises. You may notice the cellulite looks a little less pronounced immediately following a wrap, but these results -- if they occur at all -- fade quickly. If you do experience temporary shrinking of your waist or hips, it's due to water loss and not fat loss. Wraps can also cut off normal circulation, which can be dangerous.
The claim that wraps help rid you of your of cellulite by removing toxins is also bogus. Cellulite doesn't come about because of toxins in the body, but because the connective tissue between the fat and skin has weakened due to inactivity, age, diet, genetics and hormones.
Andrea Boldt has been in the fitness industry for more than 20 years. A personal trainer, run coach, group fitness instructor and master yoga teacher, she also holds certifications in holistic and fitness nutrition.