My Struggle with Cellulite

The first time I noticed a bump on my thigh, I was only 10 years old. I was changing for gym class in the school locker room and noticed an ugly dimple on the side of my upper thigh. At the time, I didn’t know what it was. All I knew was that it looked ugly and so I quickly covered it up. As I grew older, the dimples on my legs multiplied until they were covering a big part of my bottom and most of my upper thighs. Even though I was a slim girl, I never felt great in swimsuits growing up, and was always self-conscious about wearing shorts. My only comfort was that many of my girlfriends started having cellulite as well, so it was comforting to know that at least I wasn’t the only one suffering from this problem.

Now that I am in my 40s and a mom of two, I have learned to be more accepting of my body and have learned to embrace my curves, lumps and bumps. Saying that, I still like to look nice and dress in pretty clothes. So to maintain a healthy weight, I exercise regularly and watch what I eat (most of the time). But the cellulite is still there! Like many moms, I love comfortable leggings, but I HATE the fact that my dimples are so pronounced that they even show through the leggings! Not to mention tight dresses or the dreaded swimsuit… So, when I was asked whether I would like to try the new Qwo® treatment at ReFresh, it was an absolute no-brainer for me!

Qwo® to the Rescue!

The way it was explained to me is that cellulite is caused by fibrous bands that connect the skin to the lower levels of the dermis. If these bands are too tight, they pull the skin inward and create the dimples that are so typical for cellulite. The active ingredient in Qwo® (called collagenase clostridium histolyticum-aaes – since I cannot pronounce that, I call it the ‘Qwo® magic ingredient’) severs these fibrous bands, thereby releasing the tug that creates the dimples. It also redistributes fat cells and stimulates the growth of new collagen, overall making the treated areas look smoother. A typical Qwo® treatment requires a course of three treatments, each 21 days apart. The whole thing sounded amazing to me – if anything, a bit too good to be true?! I was definitely a bit skeptical whether this new treatment would work and rid me of the dimples that had been an annoying eyesore in my mirror for over thirty years. I couldn’t wait to try it out!

The Treatment

First, I had to have a consultation to determine whether I was a candidate for the treatment, as Qwo® treats the typical cellulite dimples, but not skin laxity (loose or sagging skin). So, I swallowed my pride and presented my ugly dimpled bottom to ReFresh’s founder and nurse practitioner, Dawn Sagrillo. Looking at my skin, Dawn seemed very happy to have found such a ‘perfect’ candidate for the treatment. I am glad that my cellulite made someone happy at last!

Dawn proceeded to take photos of my bottom in all its dimpled glory from different angles so that we would be able to compare the before and after. She then circled each dimple on my bottom and upper

thighs with a medical marker and took some additional photos. In total, I had 24 areas that needed treating – gulp! I must admit that the idea of 24 shots into my legs and buttocks did not fill me with joy! But I swallowed my fear and lay face down while Dawn started carefully injecting each dimple with Qwo®. The needles used for this are tiny and some of the injections I barely felt. Dawn was also very caring and gentle and kept checking that I was comfortable. A few of the injections made me jump a little and some were pinchy but, overall, the discomfort was absolutely bearable. Before I knew it, all 24 injections had been administered. The total treatment did not take longer than 10 minutes and was way less uncomfortable than I had imagined. Following my treatment, I just went about my day. The injections sites were feeling a little sore at this stage and when I sat down, I definitely had an ‘ouch’ moment but overall, nothing major. It was later in the evening that my legs started feeling somewhat achy and stingy. It almost felt like I had insect bites at the back of my legs. Going to bed that night it took me a few minutes to get comfortable, but I could go to sleep without problems. The really fun part started the next morning when I woke up and found my bottom and legs covered in black and purple bruises all over. I was glad Dawn explained the bruising to expect, so I knew it was coming. While the bruising looked somewhat intense, the soreness in my legs was nearly gone and merely reduced to a mild ache every time I sat down. In the following days, the discomfort went away entirely, but I started to notice some lumps around the injection sites. I wasn’t sure if this was normal, so when I had my follow-up with Dawn and she examined the treatment areas, she reassured me that the bruising and lumpiness were all normal and indications of Qwo® working its magic!

Vacationing Just after My First Qwo® Injections

Two weeks after my first round of Qwo® injections, I went on a beach vacation to Florida with my family. I still had some residual bruising but decided to wear my bruises loud and proud at the beach and pool. If anyone was going to ask me about them, I would just tell them about Qwo® and what it is. By day three of our vacation, I looked at my legs in the mirror and realized that the bruising was virtually gone. I was also overjoyed to notice that my legs definitely looked smoother and less lumpy already – after just the firs treatment! Having lived with dimpled legs all my life, this was the most amazing feeling!

Qwo® Round Two

Five days ago, I went in for my second round of Qwo® injections. This time, I knew firsthand what to expect and felt a lot more relaxed and at ease. As Dawn wasn’t in the office that day, Nurse Practitioner Arleen administered the injections. Due to all the photographic evidence from my first round of shots, it was easy for Arleen to see where Dawn had injected me previously and she could seamlessly continue my treatment. This time around, I needed four less injections as some of the dimples had already disappeared completely and didn’t require further treatment. Arleen was so gentle that I barely felt many of the shots, only towards the end did they get a bit pinchy.

The evening after my second shots, I felt quite sore again, but this time the soreness only lasted for a few hours and the next morning my legs already felt almost back to normal. I even played tennis that day and had no problems running around. The bruising was also a little less intense and already seems to be lifting. I would definitely say that the side effects are a lot milder the second time.

Two Weeks After Qwo® Round Two

Today it’s been two weeks since my second round of Qwo® injections. The rainbow on my legs and buttocks has shifted to greens and yellows and any residual soreness is entirely gone. I definitely feel that my legs look smoother and less dimpled and it makes me excited about what the final result might look like. Only one week to go until my third and final round of injections…

The Final Round

The day of my final Qwo® treatment has arrived! Today Arleen was performing my treatment again. At first Arleen took some photographs of my legs and bottom to be able to track the effect of the first two rounds of Qwo® injections. Even though there was still some residual bruising visible, it was immediately obvious that my skin looked smoother and less dimpled than it did before! This made me excited to get the final round of injections.

After the photographs were taken, Arleen again marked up the different treatment areas on my legs and I had to lie face down to get my injections. This time I barely felt the injections apart from a few little ‘zingers’ on my thighs. The discomfort post treatment was also significantly less than after the first or even the second time and I was playing tennis with friends that same night without any problems. By the next day I could barely feel any soreness at all. I could still see bruising and felt lumpiness around the injection sites but this was also less intense the third time round.

Bring On The Swimsuit!

Today it’s been three weeks since my last treatment. I still have some faint bruising on my buttocks and thighs but I can definitely tell that the dimples in my skin have mostly disappeared and that my bottom looks a lot smoother. I still have a bit of saggy skin on my upper thighs but this was in line with my expectations as I know that Qwo® is not designed to treat skin laxity. I think once the bruising has faded completely, it will look so much better than before!

I might never have Cindy Crawford’s legs but I will definitely feel a lot more comfortable when I put on my swimsuit this summer – and as it’s Memorial Day this weekend, the timing could not be more perfect!

Refresh Aesthetic Center