ACCORDING to a Swedish idiom, a beloved child has many names. Though anything but beloved, so does cellulite.
Recurring favourite epithets include deliciously descriptive terms such orange peel, cottage cheese, hail damage, waffle effect and mattress syndrome.
Like wrinkles, cellulite is unfortunately largely unavoidable as we grow older. Yet unlike wrinkles that may add character and an air of worldliness, cellulite gives you nothing but dimpled skin. In addition, it's a highly sexually discriminatory condition, affecting women almost exclusively.
The bulging fat cells, or adipocytes, we call cellulite are said to result from a variety of factors ranging from hormones to genes, and diet to lifestyle. It has even been claimed that ordinary underwear can contribute to its formation by restricting blood flow across the buttock. In fact, a certain Dr Bissoon has devoted a whole chapter, titled "The Problem with Panties", to this particular issue in his book The Cellulite Cure.
Stages of hail damage
Hail damage comes in three grades, of which No 3 is the final stage when dimpled skin is visible.
You can check whether you have as yet "invisible", meaning No 1 or No 2, cellulite by doing the pinch test. Squeeze a bit of flesh together to see if dimples appear. If they do, you may wish to take action straight away to restrain the cottage cheese effect.
... unlike wrinkles that may add character ... cellulite gives you nothing but dimpled skin.
Unfortunately, there are no miracle cures for cellulite, though treatments that improve blood circulation and lymphatic drainage are said to be helpful in the short run.
Even so, as with any therapies that promise a better, happier and more attractive new you, many women love spending time and money finding the ultimate cure for the mattress syndrome.
At Phnom Penh's In Style Spa, a massage called "Banishing Cellulite" is offered. The treatment focuses on massaging your skin and fat tissue to create heat and improve blood flow and circulation.
It feels nice, though an hour's treatment is unlikely to accomplish anything much.
The spa also offers a two-hour cellulite treatment, during which a full body massage is followed by application of various anticellulite creams. Spa staff advises that satisfactory results are achieved after several weekly visits, at US$55 a pop, combined with a healthy lifestyle.
NataSpa also promises to rid you of orange peel. The "Super Mask Elimination and Cellulite Slimming" treatment will set you back $80 but promises to "attack cellulite by forcing the body to burn excessive fats stored in adipocytes". It sounds scary at best, yet staff maintain effects can be felt after the very first treatment.
Do it yourself
Alternatively, for DIY prevention, pop into U Care and get your own anti-cellulite lotions and potions, along with a special massager, courtesy of L'Oreal.
Dry body brushing is also claimed to work. Alas, suitable brushes for this activity seem unavailable in Phnom Penh.
Ultimately, the real question is surely why we simply can't accept the hail damage on our bum and thighs and get on with life. Fair enough - your legs might not look like they did when you were 17, but assuming you have matured from the pubescent, pimple-faced and bad-mannered brat, why shouldn't your legs have?
Then again, should you ever need an excuse to go commando, you can always cite Dr Bissoon, and the dreadful problem with panties.