Cellulite is the dimpled-looking skin that commonly occurs in the thigh region. It forms when fatty tissue deep in the skin pushes up against connective tissue. Cellulite is not a medical issue; it’s purely cosmetic, affecting 80-90% of women and is not as common in men.
What is cellulite?
Cellulite isn’t fat, so let’s just set aside that myth right now, with even skinny people being affected. Cellulite refers to the puckered appearance of skin when fatty tissue pushes through the fibrous bands, called septae, that connect skin to muscle. The exact cause of cellulite is unknown, but it appears to be formed due to poor blood flow to the skin, specifically to the dermis and septa. The dermis is the layer of skin above the fat cells that contains elastin and collagen fibres. When it is starved of nutrients and oxygen due to poor circulation, it loses its firmness. This gives skin a sagging appearance but also allows for bulging fat cells to push through, causing the dimple effect of cellulite.
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 men are less likely to have cellulite than women.
In addition, hormonal factors play a large role in the development of cellulite, and genetics determine skin structure, skin texture and body type. Other factors, such as weight and muscle tone influence the effects of cellulite.
While there is no cure for cellulite, there are therapies available to help reduce the appearance of cellulite. This can range from pricey and invasive therapies such as freezing, subcision, laser therapy and liposuction to more manageable therapies such as dry brushing, creams and massage.
When looking at anti-cellulite treatments, you would need to treat both the inside and outside of your body to achieve:
- Improve skin health (outside) – healthy skin is firm and can stretch and minimising the dimple effect. So you want to invest in good oils and creams that feed the skin.
- Increase blood circulation (inside) – areas prone to cellulite (belly & thighs) are usually places where your body stores fat and blood circulation is poor. By getting the circulation going fresh blood brings in nutrients and oxygen while the lymph system removes metabolic waste and excess water.
- Good diet & exercise (outside & inside) – regular exercise assist in getting circulation going. And by eating healthy and cutting out sugars and carbohydrate rich foods will help for healthy skin and body and in turn help to reduce cellulite.
It is best to have a holistic approach in invest in treatments that makes you feel good and improves your overall health and wellness. Invasive therapies and surgeries are expensive, can be painful with side effects or downtime and usually not permanent.