According to a study published in 2007 by the Millennium Research Group, nearly 90% of women experience some degree of cellulite. Not surprisingly, then, new treatments could (if they are successful) tap into a huge market. A couple of months ago, the FDA declared that Thermage had been cleared to introduce its Thermatip CL system for the "temporary improvement in the appearance of cellulite".

Thermage, which uses a machine called Thermacool, is an extremely painful procedure. Ellen Barkin has described as like having your face lashed by burning hot elastic bands. For those brave souls prepared to withstand the agony, the results are, at best, subtle.

And nothing seems to get dermatologists and plastic surgeons more agitated than an online forum discussion about Thermage's pros and cons. Here is a typical comment: "If you feel that you must scam your patients because you don't have a real treatment or can provide a real surgical intervention for them because you're not qualified to be doing what you are trying to "sell" to unsuspecting patients..."

So how much of a welcome is Thermage's Thermatip CL getting from the medical profession? From what I've seen on professional online message boards, the reception for Thermatip CL is little more than lukewarm. Even the pro-Thermage camp admits that it is taking a while to perfect the technique (more pulses at lower energy) for cellulite treatments and there are "still kinks".

The problem is that the technology works for some people with minimal loose skin and wrinkles. It usually has to be combined with something else. There is also concern that Thermage could make cellulite matters worse. One of the known adverse affects of Thermage is that it causes fat atrophy (recipients who have their face treated sometimes complain of shrunken cheeks, sunk temples and thinning skin).

The bottom line? Thermage for cellulite is unlikely to work, will hurt like hell and may even make your dimples more noticeable.