You may feel like every time you come to terms with the inevitability of aging and how it affects your skin, some new skin care woe wages a war against your progress. For many of us, the cycle with stretch marks and cellulite on the buttocks looks something like this: discover stretch marks or cellulite, freak out about it, incessantly search how to get rid of cellulite or stretch marks, possibly try some buzzed about treatment options such as dry brushing, find out cellulite and stretch marks are normal, settle into the fact that they’ll happen, or continue to do everything you can to treat the concern.
But what if your attempts to treat your concerns are not working because what you thought were stretch marks or cellulite on your butt are actually wrinkles? Yep, butt wrinkles — you read that right, they’re a thing. But before you freak out, we’re here to educate you on this skin care concern so you can learn how to deal with it, or put it behind you — not just literally, but figuratively. With the help of Erin Gilbert, MD, board-certified dermatologist, founder and director of Gilbert Dermatology and L’Oréal Paris consultant, we’re talking all things butt wrinkles and what you should know about them.
Beauty Magazine: Is it possible to get fine lines and deep wrinkles on the buttocks?
Dr. Gilbert: Yes, although the good news is that it is unlikely to be severe until you are quite advanced in age. As we age, we lose muscle mass and fat in certain areas of the body. We also lose collagen, which contributes to a reduction in skin thickness. The overall result can be fine lines and deep wrinkles on the buttocks. Another factor to keep in mind is that significant sun damage over time can result in more fine lines and wrinkles everywhere, so keep wearing your sunscreen!
Beauty Magazine: How can you tell the difference between wrinkles and stretch marks?
Dr. Gilbert: Stretch marks characteristically appear over areas of rapid growth or weight gain. This includes areas like the thighs, breasts, buttocks and abdomen in women, and sometimes the arms and back in teens and men. At the start they are usually red or pink, then with time fade to be skin-colored or lighter than the surrounding skin. Despite the color change, one can feel a [depression of skin] over the lines, which represents the fragmented collagen within them. Wrinkles are characterized by skin laxity or folds, and do not display any color changes.
Beauty Magazine: What about wrinkles and cellulite — how do they differ?
Dr. Gilbert: Cellulite is a different animal and a very high percentage of women suffer from it (more than you would think), of all ages. My favorite way to describe a model for cellulite is that the dimples that characterize cellulite are like buttons on a mattress: they are sewn down to the mattress underneath, create depressions, and in the case of cellulite the fat surrounding the bound down dimple peeks through, resulting in an uneven, or “orange peel” like surface.
Don’t worry, you are not alone, and there are great ways to approach stretch marks and cellulite. Various lasers can be used to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. The result is never 100 percent, but it may be enough for you. Interestingly, some people tattoo over their stretch marks, integrating them into the design, and this can actually look pretty cool! One of the new exciting treatments for cellulite is the injectable liquid that breaks down collagen and the tissues that bind the skin above the dimple. After three treatments there is a significant improvement in the appearance of cellulite.
Beauty Magazine: Are there currently any effective ways to treat butt wrinkles?
Dr. Gilbert: Fortunately, we are at an excellent moment in history for non-invasive body contouring. There are a range of devices — including muscle stimulating, radiofrequency and tightening devices — that can be helpful. Additionally, fat transfer (within your own body) can be used. Finally, existing injectables are now being used in hyper-dilute formats (usually four to six times more dilute than the facial dilution) to build volume, contour and to firm the skin of specific areas of the body including the buttocks.
Beauty Magazine: How can you (if at all) prevent your buttocks from getting wrinkles?
Dr. Gilbert: Yes! Rule number one is wear your sunscreen, always! It not only protects you against skin cancer, but it slows the damaging effects of UV rays on the integrity and youthfulness of your skin. Rule number two, engage in regular weight bearing exercise to maintain bone and muscle mass throughout your lifetime. Rule three, avoid rapid, unhealthy weight loss — this can also cause the skin to become lax.
Written by Shalwah Evans, Photo Credit: iStock
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