Someone told me that once. He was never heard from again. Oh how I hate cellulite! Just when I think I’ve got it handled someone takes a photo at the wrong angle or I walk in front of the mirror at the wrong time of the day and BAM, I’m obsessed all over again.
Xiaflex for cellulite, as many aesthetic drugs and procedures, started out with another purpose.
What is Xiaflex?
Xiaflex or collagenase clostridium histolyticum (CCH), by Auxillum Pharmaceuticals, is an injectable drug that was originally made to treat Dupuytren’s Contracture, which is a hand deformity forcing your fingers to stay in the bent position, and Peyronie’s Disease, which is a curvature in the penis of 30 degrees or more. (I’m not sure what the problem is there but…)
Both of these conditions are caused by a thickening of the fibrous tissue layer in the respective, erm, area. (I have no idea why I can’t quit giggling right now, so immature). When Xiaflex is injected into the cord of fibrous tissue and hardened collagen, it helps break down the collagen and allows the finger, or penis, to straighten.
If you read my article Cellfina For Cellulite then you’ll know where this is going. If not let me tell you now.
What is Cellulite?
Cellulite is partially a fat thing, but how do you explain how some people who have extra fat don’t have cellulite and others, who are rail thin, are covered with it. Why? Because there’s so much more to it.
Directly beneath our skin there is an area that collects subcutaneous fat. This is the fat that our body uses for energy and is much more receptive to exercise than to diet and not easily shed. This fat is divided into compartments between fibrous connective tissue called septa (septae for plural), which connects the outer skin to the inner layers of skin and muscle. It looks like this:
Septae are made out of collagen so we all know what happens there. Over time, and having a lot to do with heredity, the collagen becomes hardened and contracts. When one septa contracts next to another septa that doesn’t, unless there’s some super elastic skin on top, it’s going to show as lumps.
Unfortunately skin needs collagen to stay tight, and not only does the collagen we have harden in our fibrous tissues as we age, it also depletes under our skin, making our skin crepey and not so elastic. Cellulite, as so much else, get’s worse with age.
How Does Xiaflex Work?
Xiaflex for cellulite is an injection composed of enzymes that work to loosen up the fibrous tissues in the hand and penis, so the manufacturer figured, maybe it will work for the septae that cause cellulite. Makes sense. So they did a study.
They took 150 women between 18 – 45 years of age. In the study, each participant received 3 treatments given three weeks apart of Xiaflex or a placebo. Each treatment involved up to 12 injections in the cellulite on the butt or thigh.
At the end of the study, researchers found that 68% of the women who received high to mid dosage’s of Xiaflex, reported being ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’, whereas only 34% of the control group, the ones who got to enjoy up to 36 shots of saline instead, felt ‘satisfied’.
I’m glad that they are starting Phase IIB of studies where they will probably try higher dosages and hopefully get great results. I will keep a close eye on this development. That Cellfina treatment still looks a little scary to me.