- Cellulite can occur in people regardless of race, sex, or weight.
A recent post on Kourtney Kardashian’s lifestyle website Poosh asserts that people can prevent their bodies from forming cellulite if they steer clear of foods like alcohol, salt, refined flour, and even fruit.
“While cellulite isn’t completely avoidable (we need a certain fat percentage for our bodies to thrive), we can reduce it,” writer and certified nutritionist Cara Clark wrote in the article. “Eating a balanced diet is key, which includes limiting these foods that definitely contribute to it.”
Some of Clark’s assertions have merit. Consuming too much salt, for example, can lead to dehydration and make cellulite appear more prominent on the skin’s surface level. The same dehydrating effect is true for alcohol, which Clark also mentioned as a cellulite-enhancing culprit.
Read more: Why you get cellulite and what to do about it, according to a dermatologist and plastic surgeon
But the idea that less fruit equals less or no cellulite is way off base, Frances Largeman-Roth, a registered dietitian nutritionist, wellness expert, and author of “Eating in Color: Delicious, Healthy Recipes for You and Your Family,” told INSIDER. “Fruit, while it does contain natural sugar, does not cause lumpy skin on your thighs,” Largeman-Roth said. “In fact, the phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables actually have the ability to boost the appearance of your skin, making it look younger and firmer.”
Additionally, the amount of cellulite a person develops depends on a variety of factors, not just diet. Genetics is one of those big factors.
Everyone has the potential to develop cellulite, though some people are more susceptible
Cellulite isn’t a medical condition, but rather something that occurs “when fat becomes enmeshed with connective tissue below the skin,” double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Zachary Farris previously told INSIDER. “The skin itself takes on a dimpled appearance often equated to an orange peel or cottage cheese, with patients exhibiting sagging and ‘divots’ in the skin.”
Since everyone has some amount of fat below their skin, everyone also has the potential to develop visible cellulite, Dr. Farris said. It can occur in people regardless of race, sex, or weight. “Cellulite doesn’t discriminate,” Largeman-Roth said. “Even young, thin people, and yes, even men, can have cellulite.”
Still, some people are more likely than others to develop it. It largely depends on hormone levels, skin thickness, and how those connective tissues are arranged in the body, all of which are genetic, not diet-related, factors.
Women, too, are a lot more likely to have cellulite than men, thanks to their hormones. In fact, researchers have found that an estimated 80% to 90% of women have cellulite. “As a woman enters menopause, reduced estrogen causes less oxygen-rich blood to flow to the connective tissue layers. As the tissues grow weaker, fat layers are more likely to overwhelm them, resulting in cellulite,” Dr. Farris said.
Weight can also play a role in how much cellulite a person has, but being a certain weight doesn’t mean you’ll always have a certain amount of cellulite. “Cellulite is not an indication of being overweight, but losing weight may reduce the appearance of cellulite,” board-certified dermatologist and dermatological surgeon Dr. Fayne L. Frey previously told INSIDER.
- A dermatologist recently started his own platform for cheaper skin medications.
A year or two ago, dermatologist Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali had an experience that he can’t forget.
He had prescribed a patient an anti-fungal cream, a common medication for conditions like athlete’s foot and ringworm.
She reported back that the treatment had worked, but still seemed unhappy. When Bhanusali pushed further, he found out why: A drug that should have been $6 or $7 had instead cost her $1,200.
In this case, the patient used her drug. But increasingly patients aren’t taking their drugs because they can’t afford them. That can let their already-severe skin conditions worsen, he said.
“I have drugs that I used to prescribe to patients that were $4. And now they’re $800 to $2,000. The same drug,” he said. “It’s getting unsustainable.”
Rising drug prices have increasingly flared up as a problem in the US, keeping needed products out of patients’ hands.
Prices for skin drugs have also surged. One study found that 19 common brand-name dermatologic medications had an average price increase of 401% over six years, with generic drugs also seeing large price increases.
Last year, at the prodding of fellow dermatologists whose patients were having the same price problems, Bhanusali founded a new online platform called Skin Medicinals, selling products for common conditions like acne, rosacea and scars for just $24 to $60.
For instance, corticosteroids creams used for skin itching and redness typically have retail prices of between $75 and $400, according to GoodRx, a price comparison website for prescriptions. They’re available on Skin Medicinals for $35.
Those prices are possible because the products are cheaper generics, mixed specially for the platform by compounding pharmacies in Florida and California. Skin Medicinals doesn’t take insurance, so patients pay cash and then have the drugs shipped to their homes.
Since Skin Medicinals launched in August, more than 15,600 patients across the country have used it, and more than 1,100 doctors have signed up.
- Skin Medicinals sells skincare prescriptions for just $24 to $60.
- Skin Medicinals
Affordable products for rosacea, precancers and more
In the great American drug pricing debate, doctors have remained mostly on the sidelines.
- Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali.
- Dhaval Bhanusali
Though they write prescriptions, most don’t know what drugs will cost their patient. That is, unless they hear back about issues.
Bhanusali, who just started his own practice in New York City and is also an instructor at Mount Sinai Health System, wants to change that.
The 34-year-old physician has had an entrepreneurial bent ever since his days as a medical resident, launching projects like a platform to compare prices between different local pharmacies and one for patients to participate in new drug research virtually, from their homes.
Skin Medicinals came out of that, and exploits a capability dermatologists have long had, to mix up their own custom products like moisturizers and cleansers for patients.
Bhanusali himself learned how to do it in medical school. Recently, the dermatologist even helped formulate a new Amazon private label skin-care line.
Dr. Susan Bard, a practicing dermatologist in Manhattan, learned about Skin Medicinals by word of mouth about four months ago.
Since then, she’s prescribed treatments to at least 100 patients through the platform. The new platform has been especially helpful for those with rosacea and who struggle with skin discoloration after, say, a rash, she says.
It’s also provided affordable products to treat precancerous growths, which can in rare cases turn into cancer. Some patients may have hundreds of these “precancers,” but Bard said she’s heard of the drugs costing as much as $1,000.
“These are conditions that must be treated,” Bard told Business Insider. She understands why health insurers don’t want to pay for overly expensive products, “but who gets left holding the bag? Me and my patient.”
Hopes of sparking a ‘revolution’ about drug prices among doctors
Crucially, though, Skin Medicinals can only sell generic medications, which no longer have patent protection.
To get a prescription through it, one’s doctor must first sign up, as Bard did. Once they do so, a patient can create an online account and order their medication. The drug is then shipped to their house.
Bhanusali built the platform with support from other dermatologists. He used his own money to do it and took no funds from investors. Any profits will go to nonprofits or to building new features for the Skin Medicinals site, including potentially allowing patients to get virtual dermatology visits, he told Business Insider.
But he hopes the implications will go far beyond dermatology, calling it a “revolution” that he hopes will empower other types of doctors to do something about high drug prices, too.
“We hope other fields can join us,” he said.
- John Greim/Getty Images
We don’t all have the time or the money for extravagant skin care treatments – and many products don’t really work anyway.
But science suggests you can make your skin happier, healthier, and smoother if you know what to put on it.
“A good skin care regimen is so important to overall skin health and maintaining a youthful appearance to your skin,” dermatologist Kathleen Suozzi from the Yale School of Medicine told Business Insider.
Suozzi suggested three simple tricks you can perform at home that will lead to noticeably better-looking skin by the end of one month.
That said, she advised that to accurately determine whether an approach works, you have to try a skin care regimen out for at least three to six months.
“It’s really a marathon and not a sprint,” Suozzi said.
Here’s the low-hanging fruit to start with.
First, use alpha hydroxy acids to exfoliate, make your skin feel softer, and minimize wrinkles.
- Neil Kremer via Flickr
Alpha hydroxy acids are chemical compounds that are naturally present in fermented milk, citrus fruits, and sugar cane.
They’re a key ingredient in many chemical peels and skin products because they can help make your skin brighter and softer, and also help improve the appearance of thin wrinkles.
“What alpha hydroxy acids do is they shed off the top layer of dull skin,” Suozzi said. “By helping that turnover and shedding the excess dead skin cells that can collect on your skin, it gives the skin a more bright appearance, softer feel, and can also help even out pigmentation.”
To try a peel out at home, choose a pad that includes an alpha hydroxy acid. Some of the most common ingredients to look for include glycolic acid, lactic acid, and citric acid.
Dermatologists like Suozzi often perform alpha hydroxy acid peels in the office, but she said you can use an alpha hydroxy acid peel pad at home once a week. Many of the products will say something like “at-home peel treatment” or “facial peel pads,” but look for one that includes some kind of alpha hydroxy acid. Most work like a facial cleanser pad and tingle a bit when you rub them on your face.
Suozzi recommends that you start slowly to see how your skin reacts to this treatment. And be careful if you go out in the sun afterwards, because the new skin will be especially sensitive.
Then depending on your tolerance, you can increase the frequency of your peels to two or three times a week.
The second tip might sound obvious: remember to moisturize.
Suozzi said this skin problem comes up again and again.
“Moisturized skin appears plumper and healthier than dry skin,” she said, adding, “you don’t have to spend a lot of money on these expensive night creams.”
Suozzi said that although people often comment how much better their skin looks after a facial, a lot of that improvement is simply because their skin has been adequately moisturized.
When selecting a moisturizer, look for a product with hyaluronic acid.
Hyaluronic acid is a natural component we have in the dermis of our skin, and it retains water.
“Moisturizers that have hyaluronic acid aren’t replacing the hyaluronic acid that’s naturally within your skin,” Suozzi said. “But hyaluronic acid in itself is excellent moisturizer, and it’s great because most skins can tolerate it.”
Products with hyaluronic acid come in less greasy gels for more acne-prone faces, and thicker creams for more mature skin, too.
“If you’re acne-prone, you’re not always able to take the thicker moisturization of a cream, and maybe you’re better off with a lotion, which is thinner,” Suozzi said.
The third recommendation for making your skin look better in a month is to seek out antioxidants.
Antioxidants are specific vitamins and minerals (like vitamins C and E) and other substances like beta carotene that are common in some fruits and vegetables.
Antioxidants can protect our cells against oxidative damage from UV rays and pollution and even out some pigment issues, which can make your skin look younger and less spotty.
For people looking to make darker patches (like sun or age spots) less visible, Suozzi said antioxidants could help.
“They also act as lighteners, so they can help lighten pigment issues that makes skin look older and sun damaged,” she said.
Suozzi said one of the best ways to use antioxidants is in a serum.
Serums are designed to be applied to your face before moisturizer and can be added to both your morning and night routine (though if you’re only going to do it once a day, dermatologists recommend night time).
Look for one that includes vitamin C, vitamin E, or other antioxidant-rich ingredients like green tea or pomegranate.
However, don’t let all these fruity ingredients trick you into thinking you can eat your way into better skin. While it’s great to incorporate more nutrient-rich, fiber-filled fruits and vegetables in your diet, eating them won’t do as much for your skin as just putting something on it. Instead of a fruit detox plan for your skin, just get something at the pharmacy or beauty supply store.
But remember that everyone’s skin is different.
“There’s not going to be one magic thing that’s perfect for every person,” Suozzi said.
So be patient with your skin, and don’t continue beauty regimens that irritate it. Remember, you’re in this together.