#SpaExpertSeries - Cellulite with Christina Fessler

 


A passionate Spa Manager from Salzburg, Christina has been working in the spa industry for over 18 years. She worked her way up from Spa Receptionist to Spa Manager at the De Russie Spa in Rome, where she still works today. She has also worked on a number of consulting projects, and continuously furthers her knowledge and eductation, having done courses on Naturopathy, Alternative Medicine, and even becoming a Yoga Trainer.
As a true spa expert, Christina knows a thing or two about skin problems. So, we asked her about cellulite…

What is cellulite? 

Cellulite is a very common, harmless skin condition that causes lumpy, dimpled flesh largely on the thighs, hips, buttocks and abdomen. The condition is most prevalent in women.

We know that cellulite occurs when the skin overlying certain areas of fat is pulled downward to the deeper tissues by connective tissue bands. This creates an uneven surface.

To go into a little more detail, the skin is divided into three layers: the epidermis is the top layer; the dermis the middle layer; and the hypodermis the bottom layer. This bottom layer stores fat in fat cells. As fat cells accumulate in this layer, they push up against the upper layers of the skin. This causes the connective tissues, which are arranged vertically across the three layers, to stretch and pull the top layer of the skin down. This creates an uneven surface or dimpling.

  

What causes cellulite? 

Little is known about what causes cellulite. People of all body types and weights can get cellulite.

However, women are more likely to get cellulite than men. Women have a different fat, muscle and connective distribution to men. Furthermore, in women, the fat cells and connective tissue in this layer are arranged vertically. In men, the tissue has a criss-cross structure, which may explain they are less likely to have cellulite than women.

Some women are also more predisposed to it than others. The amount of cellulite you have and how noticeable it is can be based on your genes. Your skin structure, texture and body type affect the appearance of cellulite.

Body fat percentage and muscle tone can also affect whether you have cellulite, although even very fit people can have it.

Cellulite can also become more visible as you age and your skin becomes thinner and loses elasticity. This exposes the rippled connective tissues underneath.

In addition, hormonal factors play a large role in the development of cellulite.

Can the right at-home body care routine improve the appearance of cellulite? 

It’s important to note that cellulite cannot completely disappear, but you can improve its appearance. There are indeed ingredients and routines that can help smooth the skin over it, or improve its tone. You want to do things that favour the elimination of fluids and the removal of waste from the tissues.

So, here are my tips:

  • Dry body brush daily if you can; it’s a method of body exfoliation that has been practiced for centuries in many cultures, but is having a resurgence at the moment. You can buy these very cheaply online, and they’re great for increasing circulation and blood flow, and stimulating drainage from the lymphatic system to smooth skin's surface, and even out lumps and bumps.
  • Scrub your body regularly with a good scrub; Irene Forte’s Trapani Sea Salt Body Scrub is great to stimulate lymphatic drainage and smooth the skin’s surface. It’s not available online, but it’s exclusive to spas, the De Russie Spa being one of them.
  • Moisturise your body whenever you come out of the bath or shower; many people neglect their body, and feel it’s only important to put good product on their face. Hydration is incredibly important. Irene Forte has an amazing range of body products, which are considered ‘skincare’ for the body due to the number of actives in each one. If you prefer creams, opt for the White Wine Body Cream, and if your prefer oils, go for the sculpting Blackcurrant Body Oil.
  • Self-massage as often as possible on need areas; massage is a great way to boost circulation and eliminate fluids. There are many videos online that can show you how to do this.

Can you help us with some ingredients to look out for in body care to help combat cellulite?

Ingredients that are very rich in Vitamin C, such as Blackcurrant. Studies suggest this important vitamin is crucial for collagen synthesis and has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

Peptides are great too. These are amino acids that serve as the building blocks for Collagen and Elastin. Those are the things that make up the connective tissue in your skin that becomes weakened and allows for cellulite to show. Given that not many body care products contain peptides, a great tip is to apply the Irene Forte Hibiscus Serum on need areas of the body.

Beech Bud is another great ingredient. It’s rich in hydroxyproline that helps to increase Collagen and Elastin in the skin, promoting plumper and more elastic skin. The flavonoids and peptides also promote skin firmness. Irene Forte’s White Wine Body Cream and Prickly Pear Body Cream both contain Beech Bud.

Algae works to reinforce barrier function, and is another fabulous ingredient. At the De Russie Spa, we have some body treatments with the Irene Forte Algae & Clay professional body wrap. Gotu Kola and Horse-Chestnut are also great ingredients, which also happen to be present in Irene Forte’s professional range that we use at the De Russie Spa.

Caffeine is also considered a good ingredient. It increases blood flow to the area and works as a diuretic, which can help reduce the appearance of cellulite.

I also love ingredients like Orange, Lemon, Lavender, and Aloe Leaf Juice, for helping improve the appearance of cellulite.  

What treatments would you recommend?

I would recommend regular manual massage and body scrubs. I would also recommend any kind of draining treatment.

At the De Russie Spa specifically, we have a fabulous Aryuvedic detox package, which includes the following three treatments:

  • Ayurveda Garshan Dren: a treatment designed to fight imperfections caused by water retention and poor circulation, as well as to help fight edematous cellulite.
  • Ayurveda Garshan Slim: a treatment designed to shape the body, reduce fat and hard cellulite.
  • Ayurveda Garshan Tone: a treatment designed to stimulate lipolysis and fat burning, supporting drainage and oxygenation of the body

I also really like the Irene Forte Sicilian Earth & Sea Toning Treatment and the Mediterranean Nourishing Treatment, both available at the De Russie Spa.

It terms of body treatments with machines, I really like Endospheres; whilst not available at the De Russie Spa, it’s available across a number of our sister spas. Irene Forte has also developed two great treatments with her products and this machine: Endospheres Sculpt and Body Transforming Endospheres.

I also think that LPG Endermologie is a fantastic machine. Unfortunately, this is not available yet at the De Russie Spa. I’m hoping that it will be there soon!

Last but not least, Venus is also meant to be a good machine. It’s actually available at our sister property, The Charles Spa in Munich.

Can a good lifestyle help reduce the appearance of cellulite?

Yes, it can definitely help.

Your diet is incredibly important. Make sure you avoid eating too much fat, carbohydrates, and salt, which often results in an increase in cellulite. Add fibre and colours to your meal by introducing several varieties of vegetables and fruit. I would also suggest trying to increase your Omega-3 intake. By consuming the wrong kinds of fats, you create an imbalance of the fatty acids that the body needs for smooth skin and tissue. What you need is the fatty acids in Omega-3. Fish is going to be your best source of Omega-3 so get yourself some Salmon or Cod. If you don’t like to eat fish, then perhaps opt for some supplements. However, do consult a nutritionist or doctor before adding supplements into your diet!

Movement is important to burn body fat and increase muscle tone. Things like squats, leg exercises and cardio are known to help.

Most importantly, drink plenty of water. You need to always stay hydrated!