When a cellulite treatment comes along making promises that seem too good to be true, I feel it's my duty to investigate. Because, yes, I have cellulite. There. I said it. Despite the fact that almost every woman has cellulite to some degree, it's still something that's difficult to admit -- especially to the entire internet.
So, in the name of science -- and, OK, fine, vanity -- I paid a visit to Dr. Grant Stevens, MD, founder and Medical Director of Marina Plastic Surgery in Marina del Rey, California, to find out just what kind of magic cellulite-erasing wand Cellfina really is -- or isn't.
Here's the good, the bad and the icky of my experience with Cellfina.
Image via Imaxtree
First, you have to go through a consultation. Dr. Stevens evaluated my cellulite, and asked me where my problem areas were. All I could think was, you're literally a stranger staring at my butt, can't you see where my problem areas are? I pointed everywhere from my mid-thigh up, putting special focus on one particularly obnoxious crater on my right butt cheek.
His assessment of my problem areas? "Way harsh, Tai." While he didn't actually quote "Clueless," he did tell me that my cellulite definitely wasn't as bad as I was making it sound. And, in fact, most of the women who come in for this procedure are equally as hard on their cellulite.
According to Stevens, there are five different types of cellulite (pictured here). Mine was type three -- the lowest level he'll treat with Cellfina. Anything less, and he turns people away. But it doesn't just come down to how much cellulite you have; it also depends on the type. While Cellfina can help get rid of dimpled cellulite, it really can't do anything for wavy cellulite. Wavy cellulite is exactly what it sounds like: instead of skin being dimpled, it looks like it has waves running across it.
I left feeling much better about my body, but even more excited about the prospect of a cellulite-free future.
Images via Marina Plastic Surgery
• Do not take aspirin or aspirin-containing products (Advil or Motrin, Aleve or Excedrin), vitamin E capsules or herbal and diet supplements (including fat burners) two weeks prior to surgery.
• Do avoid sunbathing and excessive sun exposure for at least one week prior to surgery. This also includes the use of tanning salons.
• Do wear loose, dark-colored, comfortable clothing, a top that buttons down the front or zips up, and easy slip-on shoes on the day of the procedure.
• Do not wear any jewelry.
• Do not apply makeup, eye shadow, perfumes, creams, moisturizers or hairspray after you bathe on the morning of your surgery. Have your hair simply combed back and wear no hairpins.
• Do have an adult with you that will drive you home.
The exhaustive list of dos and don'ts made Cellfina seem much scarier than I expected. After scanning the documents and waivers, my appointment became real -- and I began to have second thoughts.
The Day of Reckoning
My boyfriend dropped me off at Marina Plastic Surgery, with the promise to return when summoned via text. Wearing loose fitting clothes, my hair pulled back into a wet bun, no makeup or moisturizer (as instructed) and a nervous-yet-excited attitude, I made my way into the building.
Once inside, it was a surreal experience. The people coming in and out of the doctor's office were on a first-name basis with the nurses and technicians. It felt like everyone had been there many times before. "Happy" by Pharrell played in the background, an eerie juxtaposition to the medical procedures being displayed on the giant flat screen in the lobby.
Since they had instructed me to wear nothing cosmetic on my body, I wasn't wearing deodorant, which was not-so-excellent when my nerves -- and sweat glands -- kicked in. What are you doing here, I thought. After all, I can hardly get a flu shot without entering a state of panic. How was I going to endure 30 minutes of needle-prodding?
Before I could bolt, my name was called. My nurse, sensing my jitters (and likely smelling them at this point), was very friendly and soothing. I gave myself a mental face-slap and told myself to get it together. Then, I stripped down and put on a hospital gown and a very tiny and unflattering pair of black underwear. It was time for the "photo booth."
The Before Photos
Once I got into the photo room, I took off my robe and stood in front of the camera wearing only my bra and the teeny underwear they provided me. The technician had me stand at different angles, and took photos of my thighs and butt at each one. I then had to repeat the process with my butt clenched (to really make the cellulite stand out). Just the thing to really boost a girl's confidence.
That's when Dr. Stevens came in with his Sharpie to mark up the spots where they would perform the treatment. (There were a lot -- 28, to be exact.)
Then it was off to the operating room.