Skin Care

By Andrea Toochin

Women of all shapes and sizes share one frustrating commonality no matter how skinny or fit they are – the stubborn strength of cellulite. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), 80 percent of women have cellulite. The main explanation is that the body begins to store fat after puberty to ensure sufficient energy to bear children. What exactly is cellulite? Put simply, it’s the aftereffect of many subcutaneous factors including swollen unhealthy fat cells, weak circulation, and damaged connective tissue.

While doctors encourage regular exercise and a healthy diet, these alone will not banish the dimples or help us handle bathing suit shopping. Before you usher in spring take a quick peek at our diet, treatment, and topical recommendations. This battle is multi-prong attack that involves time, money, willpower and determination.

Diet and Exercise
Although changing your diet won’t help prevent cellulite from forming, eating healthier foods with more vitamins and minerals could repair cells that influence aging and cellulite. Dr. Murad penned the book The Cellulite Solution: A Doctor’s Program for Losing Lumps, Bumps, Dimples, and Stretch Marks to provide an all-encompassing guide detailing every factor involved in the treatment and prevention thereof. Since I know you’re too busy to read this 200-page book I’ve combed through it for you.

The bottom line: cellulite is a product of hormonal changes and genetic disposition. Murad suggests a multi-facet approach to combat it:
1. Thrice-weekly exercise sessions
2. A boring healthy diet comprised mainly of lean protein, fruits and veggies, and high-fiber carbohydrates (whole grains)
3. Spa treatments to promote detox and drainage
4. Regular vitamins and supplements to promote cell repair and hydration (his patented prepackaged supplements are a great option, though I’d recommend additional iron and calcium supplements)
5. Twice-daily applications of a topical to moisturize and tone skin.
6. Dry skin brushing multiple times a week with a natural bristle brush. (Apparently, the models were onto something when they started the rumor about sandpaper. Skin brushing improves circulation and stimulates the lymphatic system, which flushes out toxins.)

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Exercising and using products is straightforward, but how does change their diet to include supplements and suggested foods with such variety at the supermarket? Murad’s book lists nearly every good and bad food. He believes the following seven vitamins and minerals are vital:
1. Lethicin (egg yolks)
2. Glucosamine (Sulfate or Hydrochloride formula, both are available in capsules)
3. Fatty Acids (fish, flax, and nuts, including walnuts, almonds, and cashews.)
4. Amino Acids (supplements)
5. Antioxidants (berries, nuts, red wine, green tea, sweet potatoes)
6. Anti-inflammatories (licorice extract, goji berries)
7. Eight B vitamins and trace minerals, including B1/thiamine (sunflower seeds), riboflavin/B2 (dairy products, leafy greens), niacin (fish, mushrooms, chicken), pyridoxine/B6 (watermelon, bananas), Folic Acid (OJ, beets, beans), B12 (fortified soy milk, dairy), Biotin (cereal, oatmeal, soybeans, tomatoes), and Pantothenic Acid (salmon, avocado, peanut butter). Trace minerals include selenium, zinc, magnesium, silica, copper, and chromium.

Treatments
Before you engage in a pre-diet binge session, take a moment to think. This is not the end of comfort food. You do not have to deprive yourself because what’ll really initiate the fight against cellulite is a long-term treatment program.

Treatments of the past like Endermologie temporarily reduced the appearance of cellulite by massaging the skin and stretching the subcutaneous connective tissue. Modern solutions work differently, mainly by liquefying fat deposits so they drain rather than accumulate. This is the case with Acqua Beauty Bar’s latest service, the Magic Wand Treatment.

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The Magic Wand utilizes a new machine called the Dermasonic to reach the subdermal layer of skin. Ultrasound technology warms the skin to prepare it for the Noninvasive Subdermal Technology, which stimulates circulation and breaks up the fat cells. This product has been so effective that some plastic surgeons have been using it on patients before performing liposuction because it allows them to remove more fat during surgery. Between Magic Wand Treatments Acqua Beauty Bar recommends using Biotherm Celluli-Peel gel; the signature biopeeling complex helps smooth skin and diminish the appearance of dimples.

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Therefore, you’re still not convinced a machine can remove inches. Why not visit the woman who’s been fighting cellulite for 34 years, Anushka. Her Five-Week Intensive Body Contouring Program requires two-weekly sessions and is divided into five stages: Heat Treatments, Mechanical Sessions, Lymphatic Drainage, Nutrition and Fitness, and Home Care Strategy. “All are geared to encourage lymphatic drainage and to elevate the metabolic rate in target area,” says Anushka.

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The first week Anushka performs four treatments including her Seaweed Body Wrap, a mud wrap, and ThermoJet therapy, a treatment where clients are wrapped in bandages that force circulation and perspiration. The second week includes a thigh toning treatment and a session with the Dimple Destroyer DermaJet, a machine exclusive to Anushka’s centers in the U.S., which she describes as “triple action – rolling, lifting and ultrasound, which works in rhythmical waves”. The third week involves massage therapy and PressoJet, a system where clients lie in a double-line stocking that inflates and deflates intermittently; the pressure stimulates blood flow and helps the body flush excess fluids. During the final two weeks, Anushka devises specific exercise, nutritional, and skin care plans for each client for long-term maintenance. The skin care regimen usually includes the Cellulite CensoredTM Liposerum, a new topical that promises to smooth lumps and bumps in three weeks.

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If you’d rather indulge in a more natural treatment, Pevonia offers a Green Coffee Treatment. Recommended once a week for six to eight weeks, the caffeine-driven ingredients break up fat cells, eliminate toxins, increase circulation and repair the connective tissue.

Aestheticians begin by massaging the Activating Gel into the stomach, hips, and thighs to stimulate the blood cells. Then they apply a layer of Green Coffee Concentrate, which is followed by the Green Coffee Powder mixture. The client sits for twenty minutes wrapped in bandages, at which point they shower. A healthy application of Tension Gel relaxes the back and calves, while Body-Svelt Cream puts the final addition on the newly svelte buttock area. As with the other treatments, Pevonia Aestheticians recommend exfoliating and massaging cellulite gels and creams in twice daily at home to maintain the results. Since buying a lotion can be as confusing as choosing a career, we’ve devised a selection of our picks.

Topical Gels

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Murad’s Firm and Tone Serum was designed to help minimize cellulite and stretch marks through powerful herbal ingredients including horse chestnut extract, tiger’s herb, cayenne pepper, and cat’s claw. Some participants in an eight-week study showed a 69 percent reduction in the appearance of cellulite. A survey showed that women who applied Murad’s serum twice daily, took his supplements, and ate healthier experienced a reduction in body fat and an improvement in the stage of their cellulite.

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This vegan-friendly skin care company is an ethical venture run by the daughter of Swiss scientists. Q-Switch Optimizing Body Contour Gel is a toning gel that uses caffeine-rich maté and guarana to break up fat deposits; algae to stimulate the lymphatic system, which is responsible for waste disposal; and ginger to ease dermal and subdermal inflammation

Topical Creams

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Insitut DERMed’s Cellulite Rx differs from most products because the formula contains a natural hormone that counters weight gain among women. All of the subjects in an eight-week study of women ages 30 to 53 showed an improved appearance of cellulite by at least 50 percent. Furthermore, 90 percent of subjects lost at least half an inch around their thighs, butt, or stomach. Now, I could tell you about the different antioxidants, fatty acids, caffeine, and amino acids in the products, but the products and the results speak for themselves.

As the packaging warned, my skin became hot and red to such a degree that I wouldn’t dare wear a bathing suit for at least an hour after applying these products. The before and after pictures inspired me to commit to this product because this was the first set of comparison photos I’ve seen where the improvement is immediately visible to the naked eye. Dimpling around the buttocks nearly disappeared, saddlebags diminished, and the skin between the buttocks and the upper thigh was notably tighter and firmer. This is a must-have for baby boomers.

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This French company is a gentle giant with a list of celebrity users that includes Madonna, Martha, and Hollywood’s two most Bootylicious gals (need I speak the names?!). Yonka makes a duo of creams that heal existing cellulite problems and prevent stretch marks from forming, even among pregnant women.

The morning cream (Crème 55) contains ivy and olive flower to reduce pressure and strengthen capillary walls. The night treatment (Crème 155) contains Kawa Kawa, nutmeg, and Capsicum (a pepper) to break up fat cells, promote circulation, and ease inflammation and pain. Unlike other topical solutions, which are meant for use on dry skin, these should be applied to damp skin.

Soaps

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Pevonia paved the way for double-duty soaps with their exfoliating seaweed soap. Now Korres, our favorite Greek line, sells a guarana and olive stone soap that is just rough enough to exfoliate but not so abrasive that it’ll leave your skin raw for hours. They come two to a pack in a clear rectangular box that’s perfect for travel.

Scar Treatment

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Unfortunately, it’ll take a while to soften and diminish stretch marks that have been around longer than our significant others. If you’re willing to commit to an easy long-term treatment, pick up a tube of Mederma at the drugstore. Reddish scars, whether they are from stretch marks, acne, or burns, will heal quicker than colorless scars. Apply Mederma to recent scars three to four times a day for two months and four times a day to old scars for up to six months.

So, is this battle worth fighting? I say yes. This effort is not purely superficial; it also influences self-esteem. If an effort to prevent aging and lessen cellulite is what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle long-term, this is worth it. Many professionals can help initiate a lifestyle change from nutritionists like Dana Reed to aestheticians like Anushka. In our February 2006 vitamin article, Reed recommended adding Goji berries, Acai pulp, a complex B vitamin and a Glucosamine supplement to our diets, suggestions that parallel Murad’s philosophy. Anushka forces her patients to evaluate consumption and sugar intake, and recommends healthy breads from French Meadow and Greens+ energy bars to quell sweet cravings.

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{Tibetan Goji berries are said to help lower cholesterol, improve fertility, and prevent premature aging because of inherent antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. The Tibetan Goji Berry Company distributes authentic Goji berries. www.gojiberry.com}

Though raw energy bars may not be as exciting as a muffin or a cookie, they’re tasty enough to satisfy cravings and it won’t spike your sugar levels. We may justify a muffin thinking we won’t eat again until 4 p.m. but that only confuses our body. “People tend to eat more simple than complex carbohydrates and only one or two meals, thinking it will help them lose weight but it stops the metabolism,” notes Anushka. “I do a tailored nutrition. I like to know their diet and lifestyle. I give them recipes and menus. To be successful in this program you need to encompass all of the above – lifestyle nutrition, not facing deprivation, proper target exercises, a combination of therapies, and working to create a better lymphatic flow.”

Embrace a lifestyle change now by making a quick trip to an Asian supermarket or a natural grocer. Swap skim for soymilk and cookies for nuts; add tofu or edamame to your diet; pick up some Goji berries or pomegranate juice, and for god sakes eat your greens. Once you receive that reunion invitation in the mail, you’ll thank us.


Anushka products, like the $85 6.75 oz bottle of Anushka Cellulite CensoredTM Liposerum, are available at www.AnushkaOnline.com. Anushka is offering Beauty News NYC readers a 15 percent discount on all online purchases over $50. To get the coupon code, simply register for our Members Only section.

Authentic Tibetan Goji berries are available at Live Live, 261 E. 10th Street, New York 212.505.5504 and Yaron Urbas / Dream Universe On Line 1424 East 34th Street, Brooklyn 347.274.1934. www.gojiberry.com 800.328.4654

The Murad Firm and Tone Dietary Supplement Pack lasts four weeks and costs $130
Firm and Tone Serum 6.7 oz $70 www.murad.com

A 60-minute Magic Wand Treatment costs $175 at Acqua Beauty Bar 7 East 14th Street 212.620.4329 www.acquabeautybar.com

Biotherm Celluli-Peel $48 6.7 oz available at Acqua Beauty Bar or at www.biotherm-usa.com

The 80-minute Pevonia Green Coffee Treatment costs $150, available at banyan CitiSpa www.banyancitispa.com

Alchimie Q-Switch Optimizing Body Contour Gel $60 for 3.3 oz www.alchimie-forever.com

The three-product Cellulite Rx system costs $150, available at Nordstrom and C.O. Bigelow

Yonka Crème 55 and Crème 155 both come in 4.4 oz bottles and cost $44 each, call 800-391-5333 for stores.

Korres Gurana soap $6.50 available at www.beautyexclusive.com

Mederma .7oz tube, $17.50 available at CVS and Walgreens.

Originally published April 2006
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