Plagued with these persistent bumps and lumps? Well, you’re not alone. According to Dr Eileen Tan, dermatologist at Eileen Tan Skin, Laser and Hair Transplant Clinic, about 85 to 98 per cent of women are affected by cellulite regardless of their ethnicity.
Cellulite is generally caused by excess fat retention under the skin, which creates a dimpled or orange-peel like appearance. Dr Cheong Wai Kwong, dermatologist at Specialist Skin Clinic, tells me that unlike other fat in the body, these fat deposits are separated by bands of connective tissues in the deeper layer of the skin and form into pockets. When you put on weight, these pockets of fat will expand and cause the skin surface to become irregular.
Water retention can also cause cellulite. When your body has poor circulation, it leads to the accumulation of water between your fat cells, which also results in the appearance of dimples on skin’s surface.
Presently, there are no easy ways to get rid of cellulite. The best way to treat and prevent the formation of these annoying lumps is through diet and exercise. You can also try going for treatments that improve your body’s microcirculation like the Clarins Contour Shaper Body Treatment ($185 for 60 minutes). It uses massage techniques and specialised products to get rid of water retention and improve lymphatic drainage. Skincare that contains caffeine, like the Edible Beauty & Coffee Contouring Creme ($54, Sephora), can also stimulate circulation and help with cellulite.
As if it wasn’t bad enough to get breakouts on our faces, these pesky pimples just had to find their way onto our bodies as well. Most often found on the chest and back, body acne is especially common in hot climates. This is because heat and sweat can clog pores and aggravate pityrosporum folliculitis, the fungal infection which causes acne on your body.
But not to worry, there is an upside. Body acne can usually be treated with proper cleansing and the application of over the counter acne treatments. One of our favourites is the DrGL Cleanser Acne ($78) that can be used on your face, body and even hair. However, if the problem persists, Dr Cheong advises visiting a doctor to get oral medication.
Unless you live in bubble wrap, then you’re sure to get some knocks and bruises along the way. While they might be temporary, they can also be quite unattractive. Bruising becomes more common with age, Dr Cheong tells me, as the tissues that support fine blood vessels weaken, causing them to rupture more easily. To hasten the fading of these marks, he recommends applying creams which have vitamin K in them. Another alternative is to consume foods that contain the vitamin, such as broccoli, lettuce and beef.
The name says it all. These streaks are developed when skin is being stretched, resulting in the dermis breaking up in places and the deeper layers showing through, explains Dr Cheong. They usually occur during pregnancy, rapid growth spurts or weight gain. Generally found on the stomach, buttocks, thighs and lower back, its safe to say these unsightly marks are the bane of all women.
Newer stretch marks that are less than a year old tend to be pink, purplish or brown in colour and can be treated using infrared lasers. However, multiple treatments are required, depending on the severity. As stretch marks get older, they begin to turn into white. Such marks are almost impossible to get rid off completely.
Presently, there are not many treatments that can effectively remove stretch marks. However, medicated creams that contain tretinoin can help to lessen their appearance in the early stages of their formation. However, if you are pregnant, Dr Tan advises against using such creams. Instead, she recommends applying moisturisers so skin is kept hydrated and supple.
Yup, it’s a sad fact that we get sun spots on our body as well. These brown, irregularly shaped patches seem to appear from nowhere when we hit our 30s and 40s. They are caused by overexposure to UVB rays, which activates the production of excess melanin pigments. Over time, these pigments gather on the surface of skin to form dark clusters. They are also sometimes referred to as age spots, Dr Tan tells me, because as we get older we accumulate more sun damage.
However, topical products are usually unable to get rid of very dark spots as these have more pigments and may be too deep in the skin to be erased by cosmetic products alone. In such cases, Dr Tan recommends going for intense pulse light or laser treatments.
Whitening creams can help to lighten newly developed, less obvious sun spots if they are applied consistently. Body lotions – like Cle de Peau Beaute’s Concentrated Brightening Body Serum ($120) – not only brighten and hydrate, but also help to get rid of pigmentation.
However, removing existing spots does not mean that new ones will not form. To prevent their reoccurrence, apply sunscreen liberally over your entire body. Generally, about five teaspoons of sun protection should be enough. Try the Supergoop! 100% Mineral Sunscreen Mist SPF 30 ($49). The refreshing mist is extremely lightweight and allows you to apply on-the-go.
It’s inevitable that skin gets stretched out and becomes loose with damage, ageing and even weight fluctuations. A treatment you can try to treat loose and sagging skin is Exilis. This non-invasion device uses radio frequency to tighten skin and results are said to last for about a year.
However, if you prefer something less pricey, you can also try massaging firming treatments, like the Clarins Extra-Firming Body Lotion ($110) over problem areas twice a day.
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