The Fight Against Cellulite

The Fight Against Celulite

Article by Maggie Staszcuk
This article appears in the September | October 2019 issue of ASCP Skin Deep magazine

Skin Deep Magazine - The Fight Against Cellulite.Client squeezing her thigh with an orangeOh, cellulite. It’s a word few women want to hear and a condition no woman wants to see. But what is cellulite, and what can we do for clients who want us to make it disappear?

Cellulite is the dimpling, puckering, and irregular skin texture that can occur anywhere on the body, but most commonly affects the buttocks, thighs, and hips. While men can experience cellulite, it is women who are afflicted with this “orange peel” appearance. At least 85 percent of women over the age of 21 are affected.1 This has to do with the amount of estrogen in the body and the difference between men and women’s connective tissue and distributions of fat.

Cellulite is classified into three grades. The ability to effectively treat cellulite is partly based on its grade. Grade 1 is considered mild. The skin has 1–4 superficial depressions and a slightly draped or sagging appearance. Grade 2 is moderate, with 5–9 medium-depth depressions in the skin, a “cottage cheese” appearance, and the skin is moderately draped. Grade 3 is severe. There is a “mattress” appearance with 10 or more deep depressions and the skin is severely draped.2

Many factors are said to contribute to the development of cellulite, such as long-term inflammation, thinning of the epidermis, and an increase of estrogen in the body.3 While no one wants cellulite, it is genetic and often uncontrollable. Nonetheless, there are a variety of noninvasive modalities available to treat or curb the appearance of cellulite. These include radio frequency (RF), ultrasound, and infrared light. Each modality comes with its own studies and degree of effectiveness, and each practitioner also has their own anecdotal theories to accompany the treatment plan for best results. Some of those theories include increasing water intake, boosting circulation, or applying topical creams with active ingredients like caffeine or retinol.

According to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, there are only four energy-based devices cleared by the FDA for the treatment of cellulite. These include VelaShape (RF and infrared light), Venus Freeze (RF and pulsed electromagnetic fields), ThermiSmooth Body (RF), and Zimmer Z Wave (radial pulse therapy).4 Energy-based cellulite treatments are delivered through the skin, so they are considered noninvasive and have little or no downtime. Additionally, results are usually temporary. In order to maintain optimal results, a series of treatments is required followed by repeat visits. An additional advantage of energy-based cellulite reduction is that it may also help achieve mild fat reduction and result in a smoother, more even skin texture.

During treatment, the combination of RF, vacuum massage, and other modalities like infrared heat allows for deep heating of the connective tissue and fat cells. As a result, it stimulates new collagen and elastin. This leads to a reduction in skin laxity and overall appearance of skin texture. An average of five treatments are needed, with most people requiring a series of 4–6. Results are gradual. Some clients may see a change in just one treatment, while most people will see results after the first few treatments.


ASCP Skin Deep magazine, Esty of the Year issue 2021ASCP Skin Deep magazine

The award-winning ASCP Skin Deep magazine is the premier estheticians' source for the latest trends, techniques, products, and news from the biggest names in the industry. In this issue:
Skin care down there: See Interested in adding intimate skin care services to your menu? Here's what you need to know
A relaxing waxHow to turn a Brazilian wax into an enjoyable - and even relxing - treatment
Sweet rewardsGet the scoop on the benefits of Brazilian and bikini sugaring


Liability Insurance

Professional liability insurance for advanced chemical peels protects you in case a client sues. ASCP members have access to optional chemical peel insurance and other advanced modalities like permanent makeup, microneedling, and radio frequency services. More information about advanced chemical peel insurance and advanced esthetic coverage that protects you and your esthetics practice, including the steps for applying, visit Pricing for advanced chemical peel insurance ranges from $672 - $792 for the year, and you can bundle that coverage with other advanced modalities to save more.



1. American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, “Cellulite,” accessed June 2019,

2. Peter Crosta,, “Everything You Need to Know About Cellulite,” accessed June  2019,

3. American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, “Cellulite.” accessed June 2019,

4. American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, “Guide to Cellulite Reduction Treatments,” accessed June 2019,

Please note: We have recently updated our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Learn more...