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Cellulite is one of the most common skin condition which women seek treatment for in the private NYC office of Dr. Michele Green. Cellulite affects nearly 90% of all women, making cellulite treatment one of the most popular procedures in Dr. Green’s private New York office. Cellulite is characterized by dimpling of the skin that causes an “orange peel” or “cottage cheese” like texture. Cellulite can develop on any patient regardless of age or gender, and may appear in various places on the body including the abdomen, buttocks, arms, and legs. The build up of collagen in the connective tissue creates tension on the surface of the skin and push fat cells upwards, which is what leads to the rippling effect on the skin. Although cellulite is an extremely common condition, it can make many of us feel self-conscious. If the cellulite on your legs is preventing you from putting on that cute new pair of shorts or keeping you from wearing a bathing suit on the beach, it may be time to take steps to reduce or eliminate your cellulite. Luckily, advances in dermatology have produced a wide range of treatments that combat cellulite and leave your skin looking smooth.

There are many treatments for cellulite that work to relieve the condition in a variety of ways. You can opt for the injectable QWO treatment, which works to break down the fibrous bands that create the rippling tension on the skin, or you can look into treatments like Thermage FLX and Velashape, which use radiofrequency technology to break the fibrous septae and tighten the skin. Laser treatments such as Cellulaze uses laser fiber to relieve the tension of the fibrous bands, whereas the Cellfina treatment uses a fine needle to accomplish the same task. CoolSculpting freezes fat cells to reduce the bulk of fat under the skin, Carboxytherapy injects carbon dioxide under the skin to increase blood flow, and topical cellulite creams can soften and tighten the skin – all to reduce the severity of the appearance of cellulite.

While the range of potential treatments has the potential to feel overwhelming, expert, board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Michele Green, can help you navigate the world of cellulite treatment and create the treatment plan that is right for you. Dr. Green has over 25 years of experience in cosmetic dermatology. She is an expert in non-invasive cosmetic treatments to remove fat cells, reduce the appearance of cellulite, and tighten the skin. Dr. Green is consistently voted as one of the best dermatologists in NYC and is here to help.

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What is cellulite?

Cellulite is a skin condition in which the surface of the skin is rippling giving it an “orange peel” or “cottage cheese” like appearance. This dimpling on the surface of the skin appears as the result of three biological factors: thickening of the fibrous septae (fibrous bands) that connect the skin to the muscle, the bulk and concentration of fat cells under the skin, and the laxity (looseness) of our skin. As we age, the fibrous septae thicken due to the build up of collagen type 1 and type 3. This thickening of the bands results in tension on the surface of the skin. This tension in the connective tissue also forces the fat cells towards the upper layer of the skin, creating a dimpled texture across the skin. The higher the concentration of fat cells, the more pronounced the dimpling in the skin becomes. Higher skin laxity, meaning skin that is looser, also means that cellulite is more visible because there is more space for the fat cells to fill underneath the surface of the skin.

There are three levels of severity of cellulite, which are as follows:

  • Grade 1 (mild cellulite) – a slight rippling of the skin that results in an “orange peel” like texture, with between 1 and 4 deeper dimples in the skin.
  • Grade 2 (moderate cellulite) – a more pronounced rippling of the skin that results in a “cottage cheese” like texture, with approximately 5 to 9 deeper dimples in the skin.
  • Grace 3 (severe cellulite) – a very prominent rippling of skin that results in a “mattress” like texture, with ten or more deeper dimples in the skin

Cellulite can appear across the body affecting most commonly the arms, stomach, buttocks and leg. Multiple cutting-edge treatment options are available at Dr. Green’s office to address cellulite of any severity level in all areas of the body.

What causes cellulite on buttocks and legs?

The appearance of cellulite is a result of several biological factors, many of which are completely out of your control. Many people believe that cellulite appears because of an increase in fat cells that accompanies weight gain, however, that is not the only contributing factor. While an increase in the number of fat cells can affect the severity of cellulite on the skin, an increase in fat cells alone does not cause cellulite, nor can treatments that only remove fat cells completely eliminate cellulite. Cellulite occurs when the fibrous bands, or fibrous septae, thicken, creating tension between the skin and muscle. These fibrous septae thicken as a result of increased production of collagen type 1 and type 3, which occurs as a result of the natural aging process. As we age, our skin also begins to increase in elasticity and because the skin on our buttocks and legs is more lax, the dimpled skin becomes much more noticeable. As such, the natural aging process is one of the major causes of cellulite, which is one reason why cellulite is so difficult to prevent.

Another biological factor for the development of cellulite that is also mostly out of our control is the presence and shifting of different hormones in the body. Women are more likely to develop cellulite than men and that is largely due to the type and prevalence of certain hormones, such as estrogen, prolactin, noradrenaline, and insulin, in the body. The development of cellulite is more common in women who are experiencing menopause, as the shift in estrogen can lead to enlarged fat cells and an increase in collagen production in the connective tissue. Your genetics can also have an impact on whether you develop cellulite and the severity of the condition. There are many biological risk factors for developing cellulite on your legs and buttocks that cannot be prevented purely with lifestyle changes. That is when many patients turn to dermatological cellulite treatment to eliminate cellulite.

How to stop cellulite on legs

There is a common misconception that cellulite develops on the body as a direct result of body fat and that you could prevent cellulite if you eat well and exercise often. However, that is not necessarily the case. While exercise can help to develop muscle on the buttocks and leg, which can reduce the symptoms of cellulite, it will likely not be enough to eliminate the risk of developing cellulite completely. There are many other factors that contribute to the development of cellulite that cannot be prevented with a healthy diet and exercise. Cellulite can develop as a result of the natural aging process – particularly for women – due to the shift of hormones that occur throughout a woman’s life. However, while the development of cellulite may not be preventable, there are many treatments available to eliminate cellulite once it has developed.

How to treat cellulite on your legs

When patients ask how to get rid of cellulite on legs, the answer is there are many different treatments to help reduce the appearance of cellulite on the thighs. If you are fed up with the cellulite on your legs, the best first course of action is to schedule a consultation with an expert dermatologist, such as Dr. Michele Green in NYC, to discuss the best options for treatment. When you discuss your physical and aesthetic goals with Dr. Green, she will help you to determine the treatment or combination of treatments to address your unique needs.

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How to get rid of cellulite on buttocks and thighs fast?

Many people seem to recommend exercise and a healthy diet to promote weight loss and build up muscles. While these lifestyle choices can certainly help to make you feel good and reduce the appearance of cellulite, it is not a fast process. If you would like to get rid of cellulite quickly, it is best to turn to advancements in dermatology. At Dr. Green’s office, there are many options for treatment of cellulite, including QWO injectables, radiofrequency technology, laser treatment, Cellfina, topical cellulite creams, and more. Below, you can find more information on each individual procedure to help you form an idea of the cellulite treatment that would work best for you.

What to use to treat cellulite on your legs?

For patients wondering how to get rid of cellulite on the back of the legs, there are a wide variety of extremely effective treatments to reduce or eliminate the appearance of cellulite available at Dr. Green’s Upper East Side dermatology office. When you have your consultation appointment with Dr. Green, the two of you will discuss your treatment options and determine the plan that is best for you.

QWO injection for cellulite treatment

QWO treatment is the first FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approved injectable to eliminate the appearance of cellulite on the skin surface of the thighs and buttocks. This non-invasive treatment is extremely effective in permanently reducing cellulite in just one treatment session. The treatment works by using a fine needle to inject a solution containing collagenase enzymes AUX-1 and AUX-III, which are naturally occurring in the body. These enzymes target the collagen type 1 and type 3 that is responsible for causing tension on the fibrous septae. The enzymes break down the collagen in the septae causing the bands to break, which releases the tension. As a result, the subcutaneous fat cells that had been driven to the surface of the skin, are redistributed and the dimpling on the skin disappears. The injectable takes advantage of the body’s natural processes, which means it takes several months for the effects to become fully visible but afterwards, the results are permanent.

The QWO procedure is quick, simple, and painless. When you arrive at the office for QWO treatment, Dr. Green will mark the treatment area and determine the number of injections necessary. Most patients do not require any anesthesia for the procedure as any potential discomfort is minimal. Following the injections, there is no downtime, meaning patients can return to their regularly scheduled activities immediately. QWO treatment effectively breaks the fibrous septae and redistributes fat cells but does not improve skin laxity and is therefore often paired with a treatment like Thermage FLX.

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Thermage for cellulite reduction

Thermage is a treatment that uses radiofrequency technology to smooth  and tighten the skin. A handheld device is pressed to the skin where it will simultaneously heat the deep inner layer of skin and cool the outer layer. When the inner layer of skin is heated up, it stimulates the production of the type of collagen responsible for firming the skin. The cooling paired with the comfort pulse technology ensure that you feel no discomfort throughout the procedure.

An advantage of Thermage FLX is that with the device’s updated tip, the procedure can be done 33% faster than previous Thermage generations. After Dr. Green marks the treatment area in a grid pattern, she will apply the handheld device to each point, where you will feel a quick sensation of heat and then a cooling. Treatment on the legs can take between an hour and an hour and a half to complete. There is no downtime following the procedure and you will start to see the effects within several months, as the treatment utilizes the body’s natural processes to produce firmer, smoother skin, reducing the symptoms of cellulite.

Velashape treatment for the appearance of cellulite

Velashape is another process that uses radiofrequency (RF) energy, infrared light, and vacuum technology to reduce cellulite, promote lymphatic drainage, and contour the body. The handheld device, when pressed to your skin, delivers infrared light and RF energy, which heats the fat cells and inner layer of the skin to stimulate collagen production, which provides you with smoother, firmer skin. The vacuum technology dissipates the bulk beneath the skin and severs the fibrous septae to contour the area. After 5-6 treatment sessions, each taking less than an hour, you should begin to see the effects of cellulite reduction as a result of the treatment. There is no downtime following this treatment, which is best used for buttocks and thighs.

Cellulaze to remove cellulite

Another treatment that targets the fibrous bands that are responsible for the appearance of cellulite is Cellulaze treatment. This minimally invasive procedure involves inserting a laser fiber under the skin, which severs the fibrous septae to relieve the tension between the muscles and the skin. Once this tension is relieved, the fat cells get redistributed, providing a smoother look and improving skin thickness. As the procedure does involve a small incision, there is some downtime – typically 1 to 2 days following treatment – and the results of the treatment can last for up to a year. While the QWO treatment similarly involves severing the fibrous septae, the results for QWO treatment take more time to show, as the enzymes are slowly breaking down the collagen in the fibrous bands. Cellulaze, on the other hand, has more immediate effects.

Cellfina for cellulite treatment

Cellfina follows a similar principle to Cellulaze but rather than using a laser to break apart the fibrous bands, the treatment employs a tiny needle to do so. The procedure is minimally invasive, involving the insertion of a microblade in the treatment area (such as the thigh or buttocks) to sever the fibrous septae. Like Cellulaze and QWO, Cellfina is very effective in eliminating cellulite by targeting the fibrous bands but unlike QWO, the effects of Cellfina treatment can be seen within a few days rather than a few months. Since the procedure is invasive, there is some downtime following the procedure – typically one to two days.

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CoolSculpting on thighs 5 months before and after

CoolSculpting to remove fat cells

CoolSculpting is a procedure in which fat is eliminated through freezing the subcutaneous fat cells, causing them to rupture and subsequently to be metabolized by the body. CoolSculpting is an effective procedure to use to “debulk” an area of the body that has a high concentration of fat cells. After eliminating the excess fat from that part of the body, Dr. Green may pair this treatment with QWO injections or Cellulaze to sever the fibrous bands in order to see the most dramatic reduction in cellulite. CoolSculpting is effective for fat on the arms, stomach, and legs.

Carboxy treatment for treatment of cellulite

Carboxy treatment is another treatment that helps to improve the appearance of the skin by injecting carbon dioxide into the tissue under the skin. The carbon dioxide helps to increase the flow of blood to that region, which in turns stimulates the production of collagen. This collagen creation leads to smoother, firmer skin, which helps to decrease the visibility of cellulite.

Liposuction for fat removal

Liposuction is an invasive procedure that is performed by a plastic surgeon in order to surgically remove excess fat from an area in the body. The operation involves an incision into which a metal rod is inserted to remove the fat. Liposuction is a form of plastic surgery meaning there is a more significant recovery period and a higher potential for side effects. Further, while liposuction is effective in reducing the amount of fat cells in the treatment area, it does not address the fibrous bands that are largely responsible for the appearance of cellulite. As such, liposuction will likely have to be paired with an additional treatment in order to fully eliminate your cellulite.


Mesotherapy is a treatment used to target the fat cells and promote lymphatic drainage. Proteins and enzymes are injected into treatment area to break apart the fat cells. Mesotherapy is another treatment that is most effective to treat cellulite when paired with a procedure that will also target the fibrous septae, such as QWO treatment or Cellfina. You will likely require multiple treatments in order to see the best results and no downtime is necessary following the procedures.

Acoustic Wave Therapy

Acoustic wave therapy treatment works via the stimulating effects of vibrations on the tissue. The sound waves vibrating the skin and underlying connective tissue, helps to improve circulation and as a result, collagen production responsible for creating smoother, firmer skin.

Topical Cellulite Creams

There a variety of lotions that can be used to help address the symptoms of grade 1 cellulite that you can incorporate into your skincare routine. The creams act as moisturizer for the skin and while reducing the water content of the fat cells. These cellulite creams can contain chemicals such as retinol, aminophylline, and caffeine. Caffeine-based creams are effective in increasing the circulation in the treatment area, which helps to reduce the visible effects of cellulite while retinol-based creams help to stimulate the production of new collagen in the skin.

Do cellulite treatments work?

Yes! All of the cellulite treatments listed above have been shown to be very effective in reducing or fully eliminating the symptoms of cellulite. By targeting the root causes of cellulite – tension in the fibrous bands, the concentration of fat cells, and skin laxity – treatments eliminate cellulite at the source. If you are feeling ready to eliminate your cellulite, you can make an appointment with Dr. Green to determine the treatment plan for you.

Which cellulite treatment is most effective for legs?

All of the treatments listed above work wonders in reducing the appearance of cellulite on the legs. The treatment that is most effective depends on the severity of your cellulite as well as your aesthetic and physical goals. It may be that the most effective treatment is a combination of several different treatments in order to more fully address all of the causes of cellulite on the legs.

What is the best treatment for cellulite on your legs?

There is no one treatment that is “best” for treating cellulite on your legs – it is important to determine the treatment that is best for you. When you have your initial consultation with Dr. Green, she will walk you through the treatment options and you can discuss together the treatment area and your unique needs.

Can cellulite treatments be used in combination?

Yes! Cellulite is caused by tension in the fibrous septae connecting the skin to the muscle, the bulging of fat cells in the area, and made more visible by increased skin laxity. Cellulite treatments may target one specific aspect of cellulite and so are best paired with other treatments that target a different facet. For example, QWO treatment is highly effective in severing the fibrous bands and redistributing fat cells. However, it does not address skin laxity. As such, it can be effectively paired with an RF treatment like Thermage FLX, which will create firmer skin. When you make your appointment with Dr. Green, she will help you to determine the combination of treatments that will work best for you.

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Does cocoa butter help with cellulite?

While cocoa butter cream can help to moisturize the skin, it has not been proven to be effective in reducing the appearance of cellulite. If you are interested in a topical cream to help ease the symptoms of cellulite, it is best to have Dr. Green prescribe a retinol- or aminophylline-based cream.

Does shea butter help with cellulite?

Shea butter is often promoted as a good way to promote smoother, firmer skin. While this can be true, shea butter alone will not be effective in fully eliminating cellulite. When you consult with Dr. Green, she can provide you with many treatment options that will more comprehensively address the issue.

How do I get started on cellulite treatment?

If you’re frustrated with the appearance of your cellulite, there are real solutions that can help. Dr. Michele Green is an expert in cosmetic dermatology. For over two decades, Dr. Green has been practicing the best non-invasive body contouring and cosmetic laser treatments in NYC. If cellulite its an area of concern for you, Contact Us Online or call 212-535-3088 to learn more about whether cellulite treatment options such as Thermage®, Velashape, and QWO may be right for you.

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