An article on cellulite, its causes and treatment caught my attention the other day and had a rather surprising sentence included in it which roughly stated that fat was not the root cause of cellulite.
I often double check whatever I am reading about, particularly if it relates to health issues. While doing this, I found some interesting facts and myths about cellulite, its occurrence and causes as well as some effective ways to reduce its appearance. This article will also help differentiate fat from cellulite, something that many people consider one and the same.
How Fat and Cellulite Change the Appearance of the Skin
For those of you who thought cellulite was just fat, let’s get those facts straight. Fat is present in our bodies and contributes to the appearance of the skin. Contrary to what we think, small amounts of body fat are actually ideal to maintain an attractive appearance, healthy and soft skin as well as to insulate the body to keep it warm.
Fat is present in three layers in our body, the topmost being the subcutaneous layer. The remaining two lie at the bottom as a sort of reserve to store fat cells. Below the surface of the skin, there is a network of fibrous connective tissues called septae that store the fat cells. The fat deposits push up towards the skin and the septae pull the skin downwards, thus resulting in cellulite, an uneven, dimpled appearance in certain areas. This is how cellulite is actually formed.
Because of the uneven appearance of the skin, it is often referred to as the orange peel syndrome or cottage cheese skin. It is medically known by the names gynoid lipodystrophy, adiposis edematosa or statis protusus cutis.
Men Vs Women – Who has more cellulite?
Cellulite is typically present in women so we are looking at a statistic range of 85%-90%, which means nearly every woman has cellulite. The only difference is probably in the degree of its occurrence. Men tend not to have cellulite because their skin is thicker and tougher. Women largely have thinner and more delicate skin that loses its elasticity with age. Normally young girls under 14 or those who have yet to attain puberty have smoother skin than those who are in the post puberty stage.
Men may often be obese or slightly overweight but there is rarely any appearance of cellulite even if they have fat in their abdomen, thighs and arms. We often associate cellulite with fat women but there are plenty of thin women who have bulges just underneath their skin.
Reasons for Cellulite Formation
Cellulite is normally visible on the stomach, thigh, upper arm and sometimes, on the neck. The elasticity and appearance of skin changes with aging. Aside from this, there are other factors that cause cellulite to form.
As women, we blame practically everything that goes wrong with us on our hormones. Well, here is another to add to that list. Yes, hormonal changes such as the kind we experience during puberty has a very definite effect on the septae and fat cells under the skin. Estrogen, progesterone and thyroid hormones play a role in the formation of cellulite.
Diet and Lifestyle
A lot of us are accustomed to eating food that contains high amounts of fat, salt, empty calories and sugar. The result is weight gain and stretching of the skin while the fat deposits remain underneath but pushing outwards to form cellulite.
Don’t forget that the two layers of fat besides the subcutaneous layer store extra calories, which means extra fat. All of this pushing towards the surface causes that unsightly bulge. Also inadequate sleep, lack of exercise, stress and long work hours are factors that make it easier for cellulite to form. Standing or sitting in one position for several hours can also contribute to the condition.
If your diet and lifestyle are healthy and you still find cellulite on your body, it may be a genetic predisposition. However, this does not mean that you cannot fight it off. Putting the right measures in place can control it.
Recommendations to Effectively Deal with Cellulite
It seems that women are predisposed to all kinds of physical conditions that never seem to get better, from PMS to acne, weight gain to cellulite. However, the trick is to find a solution that works best for you.
There are several methods (proven and otherwise) for reducing cellulite such as laser cellulite treatment, body contouring with liposuction and mesotherapy, electrical stimulation, non invasive techniques like endermologie, special massages and cellulite removal creams.
Anti-cellulite Creams and Lotions
Many people swear by anti-cellulite creams. By smoothing and massaging a small quantity over the affected area every day for several months, it has been found to be somewhat beneficial to toning down the appearance of cellulite since after all.
However, reports and results vary from person to person. I expect that treatments such as this cost less than medical procedures and are certainly better than invasive removal techniques. Experts suggest looking for products that contain retinol A, vitamin E, caffeine, aminophylline, L-Carnitine and acai berry extract.
Diet and Lifestyle Changes
One of the best ways to control cellulite is by making appropriate changes to an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. Eating the right kind of food, exercising and getting enough sleep can greatly reduce the occurrence of cellulite. Manage stress so that your body’s hormonal balance is maintained.
As such, I do not recommend invasive and surgical procedures to remove cellulite. After all, a little is okay but too much might need a little attention. Cosmetic surgeons charge ridiculous sums of money for a solution that is clearly temporary. Even after liposuction, many patients find that cellulite recurs after some time. This is because we eat and store away calories that break down into fat cells. However, if they are merely small bulges, it might be best to just maintain a healthy lifestyle (since it is beneficial on all fronts) and understand that cellulite can merely be controlled but not cured.