For years, women have been inundated with products and procedures to help them look younger, feel better, and improve their overall
appearance. While there is a fix to almost any flaw, cellulite is a constant complaint that isn’t easily rectified. “Even with vigorous exercise, it is difficult to get rid of cellulite,” says Jayme Bashian, lead esthetician at Simply Posh Aesthetic Spa (Roslyn, NY). “As a result, women have been seeking the expert help of doctors and estheticians. The market for cellulite-treating devices has been growing consistently in the U.S. every year.”
One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding cellulite is that it affects mostly overweight women. Although bad eating habits can be a contributing factor, so too can hormonal imbalances, poor circulation, and even smoking. “Research has shown that cellulite is caused by inflammation in the skin, which, over time, contributes to the breakdown of collagen, resulting in a reduction of the skin’s firmness and suppleness,” says Flora Vergnolle, CEO of Provence Cosmetics. “This new evidence confirms that cellulite isn’t just about fat, and indeed, many women who are troubled the most by cellulite are slim.” Here are some of the products, procedures, and more that can help your clients tackle the problem.
Bad habits aside, there are a number of products on the market that can help. “The best cellulite products are those that both increase circulation and strengthen and re-elasticize connective tissues to help protect the skin against future cellulite formation,” says Sian Sutherland, founding partner and chief of Mio Skincare. “The main benefit of most cellulite creams is to increase circulation. However, the best cellulite products are those that moisturize, strengthen, and re-elasticize connective tissues to help reduce skin puckering immediately beneath the surface, helping protect the skin against future cellulite from forming.”
Treatments and Techniques
In addition to a variety of creams and lotions that specifically target cellulite, there are a number of services offered by spas and medical spas to help combat its appearance. For example, Repêchage offers the Peppermint Sea Twist ($75, 30 minutes; $110, 55 minutes), an anti-cellulite treatment involving fresh seaweed and three types of mint to improve circulation and reduce swelling. Once the body is wrapped in elastic bandages saturated with seaweed and peppermint oil, it is then covered with Mylar sheets to create a thermal effect. After the bandages are removed, the client receives a stimulating massage to help boost circulation.
An easy way to incorporate cellulite treatments into your menu is by combining them with more popular services. For example, offer a detoxifying wrap or hydrotherapy bath to a massage service. According to Sutherland, you can combat the unsightly condition by using multiple modalities, such as lymphatic drainage, deep-tissue massage, and skin-rolling techniques.
Because cellulite is so stubborn to treat, it’s important to encourage clients to continue the fight even after they leave your spa. Post-treatment, homecare products are imperative to keeping up appearances. “Products plus treatment packages further enhance results,” says Sutherland. “Going to a medical spa is like going to a dentist for a cleaning. You still have to brush your teeth at home to maintain results.”
While diet, exercise, and products aimed at reducing the appearance of cellulite are recommended, clients who are looking for an even quicker fix are in luck thanks to a growing number of devices designed to treat it. LPG Systems uses motorized rollers in its Lipomassage technique to help target cellulite on a variety of areas, such as the arms, legs, waist, and back. The treatments are administered with a special patented head that gently, yet intensively, conditions skin tissue to eliminate fat deposits and improve lymphatic drainage. With the multiple rotational devices attached,
Lipomassage is also able to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin and firm slackening skin.
At Simply Posh Aesthetic Spa, Bashian recommends Bella Contour, a service that combines three technologies in one. First, ultrasound causes a vibrational effect that promotes the release of fat from the cells. Next, interferential therapy creates electric currents that increase the permeability of the cells, allowing lipids and triglycerides to escape through the cell wall. And lastly, vacuum therapy increases blood flow in the treated area, encouraging the transport of the fats into the blood stream and then to the liver, where they are converted to energy by the body’s metabolism.
Brian Radzwill, marketing manager at Chromogenex, agrees that the demand for cellulite treatments in the medical spa arena is growing quickly. “As the popularity of non- surgical aesthetic procedures increases, medical spa patients are looking for cellulite treatments that are pain-free, needle-free, and require zero downtime,” he says. Chromogenex’s i-Lipo and i-LipoXcell are ideal ways to help clients reduce the appearance of cellulite. A revolutionary laser system, i-Lipo incorporates low-level laser technology to provide targeted fat reduction and body shaping results in just 20 minutes. The third generation of the technology, i-LipoXcell multitasks by integrating four technologies—dual wavelength laser, near infrared vacuum massage, multi-wavelength body analysis, and multi-polar radio frequency—to measure body fat, stimulate metabolic pathways, shrink fat cells, tighten loose skin, and improve cellulite and stretch marks. “Many i-Lipo owners have had great success bundling procedures,” says Radzwill. “If a patient is seeking cellulite treatment for her thighs, she is often interested in non-surgical targeted fat reduction in another area, such as waist, arms, neck, and back. Also, the stationary and relaxed treatment position of the i-Lipo and i-LipoXcell allows other spa services, such as facials, manicures, pedicures, and massages, to be offered at the same time.”
Candace Thornton Spann, M.D., dermatologist and co-owner of Couture Dermatology and Plastic Surgery (Las Vegas) offers vShape by Alma, a heat-based technology that also uses radio frequency. “With the delivery of heat to the fat layer, contraction of the tissue is caused, resulting in an immediate improvement in the appearance of cellulite,” says Spann. “The radio frequency causes the stimulation of collagen in the middle layer of the skin, resulting in a long-term benefit and improvement in texture.”
Another choice for those looking to rid themselves of cellulite is Sudatonic, which is a body wrap system that utilizes infrared technology. Bashian cautions, however, that technology alone is not the answer. “There is no technology that can completely prevent the future formation of cellulite,” she says.
There are, of course, more invasive methods to treat cellulite, such as liposuction. However, it’s usually a last resort. “Clients often turn to medical spas before they make the big decision to go under the knife,” says Lydia Sarfati, founder and CEO of Repêchage “Liposuction is a very invasive procedure, and it requires extensive downtime. Would you rather leave the medical spa bruised and bandaged or invigorated and glowing?”
When it comes to promoting cellulite treatments to clients, many experts agree the proof is in the photos. “The best way medical spas can market their cellulite-fighting products is by displaying before-and-after pictures,” says Spann. “There have been a lot of predecessor products that were not effective, so it makes people more confident to see that these products actually work. Using the word cellulite in marketing tools will also draw people, as it is an extremely common concern.” Vergnolle agrees that visual aids are an ideal marketing tool. “Both written and video testimonials from clients and staff who have tried the treatments help,” she says.
According to Bashian, utilizing social media can help your marketing efforts when promoting any of your services, including cellulite treatments. “Using Facebook and Twitter is an excellent way to market cellulite treatments,” says Bashian. “Social media marketing should include a variety of before-and-after photos to help bring the results to life. It is also helpful being affiliated with a dermatology practice in the vicinity to refer patients to you and whom the patients trust.”
Don’t go it alone, says Sarfati, who encourages partnering with local businesses to help boost your bottom line. “Reach out to your community to begin developing a wellness network to which you can refer clients and from whom you can receive referrals,” she says. Sarfati suggests medical spas partner with gyms, weight loss centers, and plastic surgeons. Whether offering cellulite products or treatments as a stand-alone option or combining them with other spa services, helping clients fight the battle of the bulge is a sure-fire way to keep them coming back for more and boost your bottom line.