Nearly every woman has it as surely as they hate it and wish to be rid of it. Cellulite, between 80 to 90% of women experience these dreaded dimpling sometime during their lives. Men do get cellulite as well but it’s far less common than in women. While cellulite is not a disease, much less a life-threatening condition, it’s an ever present nuisance that women go through great lengths to remove them or at least manage them.
The misinformation and myths about cellulite is just as commonplace as the condition itself. Experts do not often agree on causes and treatments of cellulite, thus contributing to the confusion and making it difficult to distinguish myths from facts. This article aims to discuss cellulite, the causes for it and the chances of eradicating the orange-peely condition that is taking residence underneath our skin.
What Is Cellulite?
The appearance of cellulite is generally compared to the peel of an orange because cellulite resembles the dimpled appearance. The dimpled appearance of the skin’s surface can both be attributed to the fat cells and the septa, the fibrous connective tissue bands that run along the surface of the skin. Fat cells push up against the skin over the tight septa while the septa bands remain anchored to the deeper tissue, thus creating mini hills and valleys that can appear all over the skin but mostly on the on the legs, bellies and butts.
The severity of cellulite can be graded. In 1972, a grading scale of three different stages for cellulite was created by Nürnberger and Müller, aptly called the Nurnberger-Muller Scale. Examine yourself in the mirror or ask the help someone to determine which stage you are in.
Stage 1: Cellulite only appears when the skin is pinched, which mean when lying down or standing up your skin is smooth.
Stage 2: Cellulite appears even when the skin or underlying muscles aren’t contracted. Simply standing upright, cellulite can be seen but disappears when lying down.
Stage 3: Cellulite appears all the time, whether the skin is pinch or not, whether you’re standing, sitting or lying down.
What Causes Cellulite?
No one really knows why cellulite develops in most, and does not in some.
Contrary to popular belief, cellulite does not form because of excess fat or being overweight. Cellulite has nothing to do with weight. People can diet and workout and still can have cellulite. This is why there are people who aren’t overweight with cellulite problems.
Cellulite is also not due to toxins. However, your diet and lifestyle can reduce or worsen the condition of cellulite. Too much carbohydrates, sugar and salt with too little fiber and not enough physical exercise will likely result in worse cases of cellulite.
After puberty is the time when cellulite starts to manifest. It may seem that the older the person gets, the more severe and/or widespread the condition becomes. But age is not the sole factor in acquiring cellulite, both young and mature women can have them. Although, the older we get, the thinner our outer skin becomes thus making the cellulite more readily seen.
There are other suspects for bringing about this mostly-women only curse like: hormonal changes, aging, genetics, toxins, weight gain and weight loss, bad eating habits, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and poor lymphatic. Yes, the usual suspects. Incidentally, the above list could also be the often-blamed suspects for the appearance of stretch-marks.
A healthy, active, non-smoking woman in her 20s or 30s and blessed with a mother with not a trace of cellulite, can tell you that even with proper diet and exercise cellulite can appear. In short, no one knows with unequivocal certainty what causes cellulite, we do know, however, what encourages it.
What are ways to treat cellulite?
It’s the question everyone who’s afflicted with the cottage cheese skin condition is dying to get the answer to. Doctors and experts admit the bad news – there isn’t a lasting cure.
But the good news is that there are things you can do to minimize cellulite at home or with the help of costly and perhaps invasive medical treatments.
At Home Treatments
People believe that if only one can do 100 jump squats a day, cellulite will take a hike and never come back. But that’s hardly the truth, you can see workout junkies around gyms who are helplessly cursed with cellulite-ridden, albeit toned, thighs and butts. However, their condition is far less severe than on sedentary people. Cardio and strength-training will shrink the fat cells and tone the muscle fibers resulting in minimized cellulite.
The lymphatic system serves as drainage to help the body remove waste. Lymphatic drainage is like going to the toilet; we all need it. Lymph nodes can become “clogged” and won’t do their job well, which can result in toxins and wastes lingering in cells, including the fat cells. Regular Lymphatic massage can flush and hinder further accumulation of stored fat and wastes. Having a professional perform a lymphatic drain massage from time to time will do wonders not only for your skin but for your general health as well.
You can do your own lymphatic massage at home. Focusing solely on your problem areas, around the thighs and butts and using an anti-cellulite scrub with any of olive oil, grapefruit oil, coconut oil, coffee grounds, seaweed, and other effective anti-cellulite ingredients, massage in circular motions with gentle pressure, taking care not to squeeze too hard, much like delicately kneading a dough. Massage for 15 minutes, at least 4 times weekly.
Not a one-time miracle cure, doing lymphatic, anti-cellulite massage needs to be done regularly to effectively diminish cellulite. Moreover, cellulite may reappear or worsen if left alone.
Dry Skin Brushing
Is dry brushing exactly what it sounds like? Yes, it is the act of brushing the skin with a large and dry, natural bristle brush that’s done usually before showering. It is another form of lymphatic support to boost your lymph and blood flow.
Starting from the feet and hands, dry brushing is typically done in a brushing pattern leading towards the heart. Spend a bit more time and attention to your trouble spots. Brush delicately when you’re just starting. Depending on how stiff your brush is and how much pressure you apply while brushing, skin brushing can be intense. Starting off gently is the way to go, you can apply firmer brush strokes as your skin become accustomed to it. After dry brushing and showering, it’s recommended to finish off with a natural oil. You skin has just been brushed and cleaned, it’s now ready to receive the extra skin loving potions you can give it.
Aside from the at-home treatments, a once a week or whatever the health/skin care professional recommended frequency is, lymphatic massage can be beneficial in reducing cellulite. Other professional and medical treatments include laser, radio-frequency, vacuum suction and even surgery. Liposuction alone will get result in a slimmer figure but it may emphasize cellulite even more by removing the fat, leaving the skin wrinkled thus exposing cellulite. Consult your doctor if you think any of these procedures will help your case.
Now you know what cellulite is, what the possible causes are and which treatments are available. And you might still be asking ‘what is there to do to effectively get rid of cellulite?’ Or perhaps you skipped everything and just want a summary. Here’s the recap:
While there are several procedures available at the doctor’s office, you also have a few things that you can try at home to alleviate the severity of the appearance of cellulite.
Continuous at-home practices of dry brushing and massage, will yield results you can be satisfied with. Look for caffeine topicals with coconut oil or other natural oils for after dry-brushing use. And use coffee scrubs to accompany your massages. Coffee can enhance collagen and elastin production, act as a diuretic to fat cells, and immerse your skin with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. As always, perform a patch test first before using any new ingredient(s) or product.
An active lifestyle and a healthy diet and can decrease the severity of cellulite. Muscle toning exercises especially targeted to problem areas can help reshape underlying muscles, making the cellulite in those areas less noticeable. Diminishing cellulite is only one of the benefits of eating a diet full of vegetables and leafy greens at the same time low on any processed foods, alcohol and sugar.
A healthy lifestyle can help to minimize the appearance of cellulite, but it may not cure present cellulite or prevent future ones from appearing completely. But eating healthy, together with regular exercise, is guaranteed to always make you look and feel better. Cellulite getting less and less noticeable is just a happy side-effect.