Even though cellulite is incredibly common in female bodies (nine in 10, to be specific), I have never been able to accept it as a natural part of mine. The rippling appearance of cellulite generally begins during puberty, and I was no exception to the rule. First noticing it at the age of 13, it continued to be a bother into my early twenties. By the time I hit 30, I was seriously looking into possible solutions. After having exhausted every at-home avenue to smooth my skin to no avail, I started to think the dimpling was something I would have to live with. That’s when Qwo™ came into the picture.
Why I Chose Qwo
Anyone who has sought out ‘solutions’ for cellulite will agree that no amount of dry brushing, foam rolling, coffee scrubs, firming creams, or lifestyle changes will truly change its appearance. Sitting at a size four and standing at 5'5”, I am someone who works out consistently and can attest that your weight, size, and diet can’t naturally change what is in the cards genetically. And, as someone who exercises to feel strong and does not mind having a little jiggle, I knew that my options were limited if I truly wanted the dimples to disappear.
In-office procedures never interested me due to their inconclusive results, which left me in this limbo waiting for a concern-specific fix that does not require extensive downtime. I first found out about Qwo™ through an article we published a year ago when it first received approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It appeared to be a miracle cure for one of my biggest insecurities. The breakthrough injectable is approved by the FDA for use on the buttocks in moderate and more severe cases of cellulite.
I was excited enough just knowing that a solution was approved and within reach. But, when I was offered the chance to get Qwo™ injections administered by Bruce E. Katz, MD, a board certified dermatologist and the founder of JUVA Skin and Laser Clinic in New York City who had been a part of the clinical trials for the treatment, I knew the time to tackle my cellulite had arrived. According to Dr. Katz, Qwo™ has been “tested on moderate to severe cellulite” and “can treat all forms of cellulite.”Embedded content: https://youtu.be/yOLeojEnKWM
Because the process requires three sets of injections spaced 21 days apart, I cleared my calendar and hurried to see Dr. Katz for my shot at smoother skin.
Qwo Treatment & Recovery
During my first appointment with Dr. Katz, I was assessed and told that I was indeed a candidate for Qwo™ (cue the sigh of relief). He had been a part of the clinical trials for Qwo™ and had glowing reviews from his patients, who, two years post-treatment, were still happy with their results. After getting marked up and having my ‘before’ pictures taken (see below), I laid down for the first set of injections.
As somebody unphased by needles, the process was seamless, and Dr. Katz went above and beyond to make me feel comfortable. Unlike Botox®, which is injected into the muscle, Qwo™ requires a different technique. When the needle is inserted, collagenases (the enzyme that breaks down peptide bonds in collagen) are released as the needle is moved around to dissolve the collagen bond. While, from the outside, it appears as though the needle is being moved around, Dr. Katz explained that this is the necessary method to ensure the bands dissolve and release, thereby reducing the dimpling appearance. The overall pain level was no more than that of other injections, and the entire process was done in under 10 minutes. I was instructed to stay on my stomach for another 10 minutes to allow for the injectable to get to work on the fibrous septae.
Now, although I did my research on the treatment — reading up on aesthetics is, after all, my job — I was unaware of the dramatic impact the first round of injectables would have on me. During my initial appointment with Dr. Katz, I was reassured that bruising and swelling were to be expected. In fact, they’re a sign that the treatment is working. “That is indicating that the fibrous bands have been dissolved by the Qwo™,” he explained. I am prone to bruising, so I thought I had a pretty good idea of what the bruises would look like on me. However, I wasn't prepared for what happened a mere 11 hours post-injection.
As the first day progressed, I started to experience a feeling of soreness as though I’d done a glute-heavy workout, and my skin felt raw as if I had a sunburn. Not knowing what I would experience that day, I wore jeans and soon found myself feeling irritated by the denim fabric. By the end of day one (and after constant inspection of my derriere), the small injection sites had blossomed into deep purple, baseball-sized circles. Nothing could have fully prepared me for the shock factor of the bruising, but having the forewarning from Dr. Katz allowed me to sleep easy — albeit somewhat uncomfortably — the next few nights. By my second set of injections three weeks later, the bruising had disappeared and I was ready to do it all again.
The following two treatments mirrored my first experience — sans the significant bruising. I went in, got marked up, took progress photos, and felt the same sore-raw hybrid of sensations with limited bruising (compared to what I had come to expect from round one). The entire process, from consultation to completion, lasted less than three months, and I was excited to see a vast improvement.
Qwo Results & Recommendations
Once the swelling and bruising from the first set of injections went down, I noticed a slight improvement in the appearance of my skin. The real change, however, came at the three-month mark. After the third set of injections, the bruising was barely there — though it did linger for a few weeks (Dr. Katz assured me that this was perfectly normal).
While my case of cellulite may fall in the ‘moderate’ category, in unflattering light or under constrictive clothing, I still found myself concerned about its appearance. Now that enough time has passed, I find that my skin is much smoother, the thought process behind choosing what to wear is less complicated, and my self-confidence has been restored.
As far as the timeline for how long the results should last, there’s no specific answer. Dr. Katz has patients who participated in the trials two and a half years ago and are still happy with their appearance. Even if there is a shelf life to my results, I would gladly go back and do it all again as needed. I would also recommend it to anybody who wants a minimally invasive solution that produces visible results.
For those considering this treatment option for cellulite, here are a few things I think you should keep in mind when scheduling your Qwo™ injections:
- Schedule treatment for a time when you’re less likely to wear revealing bottoms
- Consider what you will wear the day of injection
- Wear underwear that doesn’t dig into the injection site
- Plan your days following the injections to be light and know that sitting or physical activity may cause discomfort
- Expect bruising, especially if you are prone to it
- Schedule any physically demanding activities post-treatment
- Push yourself physically in the days following
- Wear anything too compressive or with a rough texture for the first few days
- Feel discouraged by the bruising, swelling, or soreness (trust the process!)
Cellulite is not a reflection of your health, diet, or fitness capabilities — it's a genetically determined structure under your skin that creates a rippled appearance. While it is currently only FDA-approved for use on the buttocks, Qwo™ is being tested for use on the back of the thighs and has shown realistic improvement to a concern that previously was hard to treat. Despite the deep bruising and discomfort for a few days, the process is quick and the results are real!
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