Dream Cream or Snake Oil?
Many women and men may be tempted by the dozens of creams that promise to get rid of cottage cheese thighs, but "I have not seen a cream that works yet, so I don't waste my time with them," DiBernardo says.
Ostad echoes these sentiments: "There are lots of creams that say they improve cellulite, but they are really just moisturizers that may contain collagen and they have very transient effects for about an hour," he says. "In terms of long-term effectiveness, they don't offer any."
He is equally cynical about lasers and cellulite. "There is a lot of hype from laser companies, but before we jump in and offer it to patients, we want to make sure there are studies out there that show these really work," Ostad says. "At the present time, I don't think they are good enough."
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
"Laser hair removal is not new, but it is going well," DiBernardo says. "For men, a big area is the back because you can't shave there, and for women it is more the bikini line and areas of convenience," he says.
"We do know that they will need at least three treatments and that could be upward of six or eight treatments depending on the machine, part of the body treated, and skin type," he says. Still, "some people will come in June and get a full treatment and know that their hair will not grow back until September -- so they are set for the summer," he says.
'Backne' Be Gone
"Some people have backs full of terrible acne and the most effective treatment for acne -- whether on the face or back -- is called photodynamic therapy," DiBernardo says. "We coat the skin with a material that's activated by a laser, wait 30 minutes, and hit it with the laser and it activates the molecules to kill acne bacteria and dry up the oil glands," he says. "Nothing else does that other than pills like Accutane," a controversial acne drug linked to depression and possibly suicide.
Photodynamic therapy typically involves two to four treatments, and patients must wait a week to go in sun (with sunblock), he says.