What is cellulite?
Cellulite is a term for the formation of lumps and dimples in the skin. Common names for cellulite are orange-peel skin, cottage-cheese skin, hail damage, and the mattress phenomenon.
Cellulite can affect both men and women, but it is more common in females, due to the different distributions of fat, muscle, and connective tissue. Between 80 and 90 percent of women may experience cellulite at some point in their lives.
Causes of cellulite
The exact cause of cellulite is unknown, but it appears to result from an interaction between the connective tissue in the dermatological layer that lies below the surface of the skin, and the layer of fat that is just below it. In women, the fat cells and connective tissue in this layer are arranged vertically. If the fat cells protrude into the layer of skin, this gives the appearance of cellulite. In men, the tissue has a criss-cross structure, which may explain why are less likely to have cellulite than women.
Some other factors appear to be linked to the chance of having cellulite.
Hormonal factors and age
Hormones likely play an important role in cellulite development. Estrogen, insulin, noradrenaline, thyroid hormones, and prolactin are part of the cellulite production process.
One theory is that as estrogen in women decreases in the approach to menopause, blood flow to the connective tissue under the skin also decreases. Lower circulation means less oxygen in the area, resulting in lower collagen production. Fat cells also enlarge as estrogen levels fall. These factors combine to makes the fat deposits more visible. As the fat under the skin protrudes through weakening connective tissue, the familiar dimpling effect results. Age also causes the skin to becomes less elastic, thinner, and more likely to sag. This increases the chance of cellulite developing.
Certain genes are required for cellulite development. Genetic factors can be linked to a person’s speed of metabolism, distribution of fat under the skin, ethnicity, and circulatory levels. These can affect the chance of cellulite developing.
Diet and lifestyle factors
Cellulite is not caused by “toxins,” although a healthy lifestyle may help reduce the risk.
- People who eat too much fat, carbohydrates, and salt and too little fiber are likely to have greater amounts of cellulite.
- It may also be more prevalent in smokers, those who do not exercise, and those who sit or stand in one position for long periods of time.
- Wearing underwear with tight elastic across the buttocks can limit blood flow, and this may contribute to the formation of cellulite.
- Cellulite is more prevalent in people who have excess fat, but slim and fit people can have it too.
- It is more likely to happen after the age of 25 years, but it can affect younger people as well, including teenagers.
How to prevent cellulite
Below are the some of the easiest things you can do prevent cellulite.
Exercise can help you reduce body fat, which makes cellulite less noticeable. Choose an exercise program that combines aerobic exercise and strength training. This will help you burn body fat, and tone and define your muscles. A body that is more muscular will look and feel smoother and firmer. Create an exercise routine that focuses on the areas of your body that are prone to cellulite.
This technique is said to stimulate blood and lymph flow, remove dead skin cells, and stimulate new cell growth. It may support detoxification and stimulate your nervous system.
Your diet may affect cellulite, so it’s important to eat a balanced, healthy diet. A healthy diet can also help you to maintain a healthy weight.
• Reduce processed and high-sugar foods that can lead to the accumulation of toxins and fat in the body, and increase your fiber intake.
• Dehydration can make cellulite more noticeable. Water flushes your body and removes toxins that can cause cellulite. Make a point to increase your water intake. It’s recommended that women drink at least nine cups of water each day.
• Detoxing your body may help minimize cellulite by reducing stored toxins that contribute to cellulite. Try to eliminate or significantly reduce the amount of toxins you put in your body through diet and lifestyle.
• Avoiding things such as smoking and drinking.
Treatment and removal: Cellulite treatment at home
Several therapies have been suggested for removing cellulite, but none have yet been confirmed by scientific research.
- Acoustic wave therapy uses a hand-held device to transmit sound waves. It may work, but it can take several sessions.
- Laser treatment may improve the appearance of cellulite for a year or more. It involves inserting a very small laser probe under the skin.
- Subcision involves a dermatologist putting a needle under the skin to break up the connective tissue bands. Results can last 2 years or more, says the AAD.
- Vacuum-assisted precise tissue release cuts the bands using a device containing small blades. As it cuts the connective bands, the tissue underneath moves up to fill the space under the skin, removing the appearance of cellulite. This may last for 3 years, but data on its success is limited.
- Endermologie involves a deep massage with a vacuum-like device that lifts the skin. The United States (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved it as safe, but there is little evidence that it works, say the AAD.
- Medications and creams. Some medications and creams have been proposed because they act on fatty tissues.
- Some researchers have proposed using medications that can improve cell metabolism and circulation, but these have not been tested or proven effective.