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A Bit About the "Science" of Cellulite

A Bit About the "Science" of Cellulite

Scientific American is reporting on "the science of beauty" this week. Yay! First up: A Q&A about cellulite that makes me want to tear my hair out. Boo. There's a reason we don't cover cellulite creams here, and that's because cellulite is not a big deal. I have a problem with pathologizing a "condition" that most women have; better to accept it than waste time, money, and energy worrying about your thighs. To see why this piece has me so worked up,


This brings us to the interview with Lionel Bissoon, a doctor who specializes in treating cellulite. While it's interesting to understand how cellulite develops, and while Bissoon makes good points about how people need more physical activity and more organic foods, there's something infuriating about hearing a man talk about what a so-called problem cellulite is. For instance, check out how he looks at picture books from the middle of the 20th century: "When you find these pictures, women had perfect legs," he says. "And back in the '40s and '50s they didn't have the computer programs to retouch those photos." Putting aside the idea of "perfect legs," it's not as though retouching was invented with Photoshop; any ridges and bumps were erased by hand. Also, Bissoon would like us all to start wearing thongs because bikini briefs are too constrictive. (Funny, that's the same line I used to get from my freshman-year boyfriend.)

Here's the thing: cellulite is not a health problem, and if it's a "problem" at all, it's a cosmetic one that you can't solve. So while it's always wise to eat well and exercise, there's no point in obsessing over a totally normal part of your body. Especially not when the person calling it a problem is a man whose income relies on women perpetually disliking their thighs.

Photo by Berbercarpet

Analyst Analyst 7 years
I noticed a big improvement with my cellulite when I started dry brushing, so that makes me think that there really is something we can do to get rid of it. It also makes me wonder if it's more of a health issue than a beauty issue.
Allytta Allytta 8 years
anonymous 24, you're toddler is supposed to be out of the diapers for the lastb 2 years already. btw i too have noticed that any cellulite treatments do work. ok, people say it's the massaging, but i don't really massage that much, jsut like any other moisturiser.
Allytta Allytta 8 years
i don't really care about my cellulite. i don't put it out there for everyone to see, and the special people who do see don't care. it took me by surprise at first, but men are so much more accepting than we think, basicly we make everything our problem and by we i mean women.
dinghy dinghy 8 years
But then again...why speak sensibly when you can shame women into spending billions, eh ? Well, said, anyway.
Beauty Beauty 8 years
Anonymous #24 — you just made me laugh out loud. I love baby and toddler chub. We used to call my niece the Michelin baby. :)
cdelaney cdelaney 8 years
oh snap, bella! love it!
flyowsley flyowsley 8 years
right on!
simbaspaws simbaspaws 8 years
And I hate briefs...they will not touch my butt...look highly unflattering on everyone. I do not need to look like I have 4 all loose boyshorts and mostly thongs for me. Also, why should he not be able to make these claims, just because he is a man. He is an expert after all.
simbaspaws simbaspaws 8 years
I do think Cellulite is a legitimate issue to address and I do think the doctor is right. I do something against it every day by exercising, eating right mostly and also massaging the area and using treatments. I can only say that they are very effective in treating cellulite and I do not want cellulite and it does bother me and why should I ignore it?
nicole815 nicole815 8 years
very refreshing to hear!
macgirl macgirl 8 years
Who is this Lionel Baffoon and where do we take our flaming torches and pitchforks? ;-)
scully22 scully22 8 years
Woot woot for Bella!
sofi sofi 8 years
:highfive: Thank you, Bella! What do men know about these things?!
Ellenora Ellenora 8 years
Well said, Bella. It's like pimples. We all get them. While annoying it is annoying.
La-Tua-Cantante La-Tua-Cantante 8 years
Very well said Bella!
briannaNicole briannaNicole 8 years
High five bella!
sonya-ina sonya-ina 8 years
Thanks for the encouraging words Bella! :]
kscincotta kscincotta 8 years
Well said, Bella! I would add to the point about the photos from fifty years ago that they may not have had Photoshop, but they also didn't have high definition, high resolution cameras back then, either.
Beauty Beauty 8 years
Sonya Ina, estrogen can affect cellulite, but like you said, you won't die because of it. I forget the exact figures, but something like 95% of women have cellulite. It's totally normal and since you can't really do anything to combat it, I wouldn't worry about it. If it really bothers you, using a self-tanner can minimize the look of it. Whenever I have those moments of "Whoa, that is some dimply skin," I remind myself of all the things my thighs do for me — they help me play soccer, dance, walk, stretch... so why should I spend even a moment hating them? Try to do this whenever you get down on yourself; I guarantee if you focus on the things your body does for you, you'll be a lot less critical of its "imperfections."
joosjoos joosjoos 8 years
haha that article is bullsh*t. and right, the crazy scientists in 2050s will look at Gisele Bunchen and Heidi Klum and say, 'look the women in 2009 have perfect legs, where art thou cellulite?'
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