A study in the August issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reports that weight loss may decrease the severity of cellulite for some women—but may worsen the condition for others.

“There is no answer for completely eliminating cellulite, however, it appears the more weight one loses, the better its appearance,” says John Kitzmiller, MD, a coauthor of the study. “Although the appearance of cellulite diminished for the majority of patients, weight loss did not totally eradicate the condition. The dimples appear to be permanent features that lessen in depth as the pounds come off.”

The study examined 29 women who enrolled in medically supervised weight loss programs that included low-fat meals, liquid diets, medication, and bariatric surgery. Seventeen patients experienced an improvement in the appearance of their cellulite and nine worsened. The average weight loss was 30.5 pounds; the range was 2.3 to 102 pounds.

Patients who lost larger amounts of weight and lowered the percentage of fat on their thighs experienced the greatest improvement in cellulite. These patients had a significantly higher starting body-mass index (BMI) and had more severe cellulite on average.

Patients whose cellulite worsened started with a significantly lower BMI, lost smaller amounts of weight, and had no change in percentage of thigh fat.

Skin elasticity after weight loss also played an important role in improving the appearance of cellulite. Cellulite worsened in those whose skin became significantly looser after weight loss.

[www.sciencedaily.com, August 15, 2006]