Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Skin Republic

Jennifer Toledo-Tan M.D. - The Freeman

Dear Dr. Jen,

I have bumpy skin on my thighs.  I think I'm too young to have cellulite (I'm only in my 20s) but it seems like it's just there to stay.  I've tried a couple of smoothing creams on it but it didn't do anything to make it disappear.  What is really the truth in cellulite treatment?  Is there any hope for me at all?



Dear Dale,

Here's something you need to keep in mind: everyone has cellulite.  Yes, everyone.  Even skinny people do. This is due to dimpling of the skin caused by the subcutaneous fat (that everyone has) underneath. The subcutaneous fat becomes more evident when collagen and connective tissue on top of the fatty layer becomes weak.  Lack of exercise or muscle tone, hormonal factors and having excess fat can make the collagen weaker.

Cellulite can run in families and the older women get, the more it tends to show. Exercise can lessen the appearance of the cellulite but it will not necessarily get rid of it.

There is no miracle cream that can "firm up" the cellulite on the thighs.  Some products containing caffeine or ginger can help lend the appearance of temporary (minutes to hours only) slimmer thighs.

Fillers do work and can smooth out the area.  Radiofrequency (RF) can also give you good effects.  Fillers and RF can last six months to a year.


Dear Dr. Jen,

I've been using lemon on my underarms for a couple of years now and it has worked in lightening the area sufficiently.  However, in the past few months, I noticed that my armpits have darkened and even itch a little bit in spite of the more frequent application of lemon.  I don't use any deodorant so I'm sure it's not an allergy to other underarm products.  Is it possible I've grown immune to the lemon trick and, if so, what else can work for me?



Dear Jessie,

Lemon is a wonderful natural source of citric acid, which can be used to lighten skin.  It works by inhibiting production of melanin a little at a time.  In other words, it works relatively slower than the usual chemicals, but the important thing is that it works.

In using lemon as a brightening agent for the skin, some things must be taken into consideration.  First of all, the underarms skin is very thin.  Thinner than most parts of the body, so it is definitely more reactive to certain products.  Secondly, daily use of lemon might be considered too much.  Depending on the sensitivity of the individual's skin, once to thrice a week is the recommended usage.  If done too frequently, the skin can get dry and then become irritated easily.  This results in itchy, and red skin.  Thirdly, when exposed to the sun, lemon on the skin can have adverse reaction.  A kind of contact allergy can surface and this will cause the skin to darken and become itchy.

I suggest you show your skin to a PDS dermatologist.  She or he will assess if any anti-inflammatory cream is needed before bleaching can be started.  Stop putting more lemon for now. Putting more bleach on damaged skin will only compound the problem.  Lastly, wearing tight sleeves or sleeves that bite into the underarm area should also be discontinued.


Dr. Tan is a diplomate of Philippine Dermatological Society (PDS) and is affiliated with Perpetual Succour Hospital (PSH). For information on PDS, check http://www.pds.org.ph/. For questions or concerns, please text to: 0932 857 7070; or email to: [email protected]; or call The Freeman: (032) 2531276, or PSH: (032) 233 8620 and 232 5929. Your inquiries will be forwarded to Dr. Tan.

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