What is Cellulite and What Can I Do About It?

Cellulite is the expression used to describe pockets of fat which are trapped and cause dimpling in the skin. This dimpling is irregular and patchy and has been identified with orange peel.About 90% of post-adolescent women go on to develop cellulite at some time during their life although it is very hardly ever seen in men. The thighs, buttocks and the abdomen are the most common areas for a woman to develop cellulite. Although it is often mistaken for obesity, cellulite is not actually obesity related because it can also take place in thin lean women.

Underneath the dermis and epidermis are three specific layers of fat. Cellulite tends to develop in the subcutaneous fat layers. This layer of fat is unique in its structure compared to the other layers because its fatty parts are structured into specific chambers by strands of linked tissue around it.

Hormonal factors such as estrogen and folliculine also play a role in cellulite formation. Cellulite is for the most part found in women during their hormonal changes such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause and also whilst taking birth control pills. A woman’s hormones are usually responsible for the regulation of their blood flow, fat, connective tissue and lymphatic drainage. Hormones also help out with the storage of fat along with the body’s metabolism in the subcutaneous fat layer.

The fat cells between the two reserve fat layers situated under the subcutaneous fat layer dissolve into a slack network. A person’s genetic makeup predicts their fat storage and metabolism in these layers which are predisposed by diet, exercise and lifestyle. These layers have no responsibility for cellulite forming on a person’s body.

The subcutaneous fat layer in a woman is organised into large upright chambers allowing fat to be stored. In men, these chambers are organised into small slanting units. These store smaller fat quantities and are not likely to form cellulite.

The formation of cellulite results from complex physiological changes that occur in the subcutaneous fat layer. Regular exercise and well balanced diets do not always reverse or prevent its formation, although an unhealthy lifestyle will make the overall appearance worse over time due to poor nutrition, weight gain and lack of sufficient water intake. With age there is a loss in the thickness and tone of the connective tissue in the superficial fat layer and the dermis. Unfortunately noticeable, flaccid cellulite is the result.There are a wide variety of salon treatments and over-the-counter (OTC) products that claim to remedy cellulite. Many do not perform what they claim and as it’s not known or clear which do and don’t work, it is very easy to become sucked in to buying expensive mistakes.

Salon treatments typically use procedures like mesotherapy or endermologie to minimize cellulite. Many OTC products consist of topical treatments which alone are ineffective in the treatment of cellulite. There are also creams available which contain herbs, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. These assist the skin to become softer, healthier and smoother and allow it to repair itself more easily.

Cellulite creams are frequently used in conjunction with a body wrap to improve the appearance of cellulite. Creams which contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatories are more effective when treating cellulite as they stimulate the flow of blood. The areas which are affected by cellulite are usually dry and damaged therefore needing additional moisture, increased blood supply and protection. The appearance of cellulite can be reduced temporarily by increasing moisture to the affected area. It needs to be remembered cellulite needs to be treated from the inside as well as the outside.