“Find out what cellulite is, what causes it and what you can do to treat it.”
Cellulite. That chunky, cottage cheese-like fat that collects on women’s thighs and butt, and sometimes, even on the belly and back.
It typically starts gathering when we gain weight during puberty, and it just seems to grow and grow year after year. Almost every woman knows the fear of wearing a bikini bottom or pair of tight leggings and seeing dimply cellulite staring back at her in the mirror…
But what exactly is cellulite?
… and is there anything we can do to get rid of it?
There are many myths, lies and scams centered around cellulite. I even read a blog which claimed that it only affects “fat girls”! Which is definitely not true. In fact, cellulite affects all different types of women, body types, and age groups.
Cellulite is a condition known as adiposis edematosa. And while there is a lot of misinformation out there claiming that it’s the result of gathered toxins, poor circulation, and too much junk food, it really is just excess fat that collects in specific areas of the body.
This video provides a brief explanation:
The reason it appears the way it does, as dimpled, puckered skin, is due to a slight herniation of the fat lying just below the surface. The connective tissue in those areas of the body that are prone to cellulite simply have a bad habit of allowing the fat to ‘pop’ through and dimple in a very unattractive pattern.
To top it off, when muscles in the legs, butt and abs get weaker and less defined, as they often do with age and inactivity, the fat under the skin tends to show more and appear larger, emphasizing the cellulite.
There are three different classifications of cellulite:
- Type 1: No visible or noted symptoms. This type can only be identified with a microscope.
- Type 2: Symptoms include what most would call general identifiers of being overweight like lower surface temperature, pallor issues (also called “pastiness”), a lack of skin elasticity, and Type 1 identifiers as well.
- Type 3: Visible surface texture identifiers that include bumpiness, roughness, or dimpled appearance as well as Type 1 and 2 symptoms. This type is usually referred to as “Cottage cheese” due to the extreme dimpled texture.
When the natural fat storage under the skin starts to expand, the texture of the skin or the microscopic makeup will be affected. Since skin is comprised of layers, when the fat layer expands, the rest of the layers will be similarly affected.
The reason for this expansion is based around how fat is stored under the skin and other tissues in the affected areas. Fat cells sit below the skin and provide a variety of functions (insulation and acting as a protective barrier are just two examples).
When these fat cells are required to contain more and more fat they begin to expand and push outward. The pressure against the muscle tissue pushes agains the dermal layer and skin, which creates the appearance and texture of cellulite.
So, what causes it?
While there isn’t any one single cause there are factors that, together, cause cellulite:
- When hormones change or are imbalanced, this can cause fat to be stored which then leads to the creation of cellulite.
- A simple and unexpected reason for cellulite is tight fitting underwear. Tight or constricting underwear can cause blood flow to be constricted and allow for fat cells to expand faster than normal.
- Coupled with a poor diet high in saturated fats or lacking in vital nutrients, your body’s ability to properly process and store what you eat is compromised.
- Some other causes for increased fat storage are a genetically slow metabolism, type and distribution of fat cells, and race or gender.
Why is it mostly women that get it?
It’s no secret that women are much more likely to have noticeable cellulite than men. The three main reasons;
- The thickness of the skin or epidermis
- The underlying skin structure
- And, the style of underwear worn
The first layer of skin in men is much thicker and more resistant to the physical changes noted in Type 3 cellulite. What’s more, the structure of the skin layers is different between the two genders.
The collagen fibers that run between the muscle and the skin are different in women than they are in men.
In men, these fibers form in a crisscross pattern, similar to a chain link fence, which keeps the fat cells from growing larger. Since the collagen fibers in women run in a vertical up and down pattern, fat cells are allowed to grow larger. When female fat cells grow larger they push against each other and become tightly packed within the small area. This creates the telltale sign of cellulite.
The last reason may seem the most unlikely but is still a significant factor in the formation of Type 2 and 3 cellulite. The type of underwear is a major factor in whether Type 2 and 3 cellulite form. Tighter, “sexier” underwear may be a contributing cause to the increased rate in which cellulite is formed. This is primarily due to fat being deposited in concentrated areas due to the lack of blood flow to the entire area. Without proper blood flow, fat is unable to re-distribute.
How do you get rid of it?
As much as you may want to get rid of cellulite overnight, there is no magic cream or pill which can do this… despite what you may have read in advertisements!
However, there are a few things you can start doing which can reduce, possibly even rid, your cellulite.
Since cellulite is caused by the formation of fat, the “easiest” way to reduce it is to eat a healthy diet and exercise frequently.
There are also a variety of herbal and home remedies, which some suggest also work to reduce the symptoms. Many of them are unsubstantiated, (Apple Cider Vinegar for example) but you may wish to give them a try. The good thing about these treatments, is that they are relatively quick and easy to try.
However, with diet modifications – portion controls and adding more fresh fruits and vegetables – while also lifting weights, you will increase the firmness of your muscles which in turns firms up the skin and minimizes the dimple affect. Which is why this is recommended.
This routine is a good place to start:
For maximum muscle firming and fat burning start cellulite training workouts and specific exercises that hit your lower body and Yoga. Circuit training works both major and minor muscles groups at the same time with minimum time between each circuit of exercises. While diet and exercise is the healthiest way to lose the cellulite, there are other options.
Next, introduce this 30 minute lower body workout, 3 times per week:
There are a variety of different treatments out there. For example, cellulite creams claim to reduce the appearance and texture. However, there is no evidence that conclusively proves that these creams work. In addition to that, aminophylline, the main ingredient of these creams, can cause severe allergic reactions and id deigned for treating Asthma – not cellulite! Other creams use caffeine as the active ingredient, but, these too, have not been proven effective for treating cellulite.
Liposuction is the removal of fat from the body with a suction tube. While this method seems to be the easiest, liposuction can actually cause more damage than not. A lot of the fat that is removed is “deep fat” and no the fat immediately below the epidermal layer. Also, the removal of deep fat increases the disruption of the skin layers. This can actually increase the look of cellulite.
Another one to avoid, are cellulite massages. While massages are great for relaxing and rejuvenation, they do not help remove it.
Laser treatments have also been Okayed by the FDA to be used in cellulite removal. The laser treatment is designed to break up the fat and fibrous tissue under the skin while stimulating collagen production.
This is a video of the Cellulaze surgery treatment:
This is the official website.
Other people prefer less invasive methods by getting spa treatments. While this method might minimize the look of cellulite, it tends to be a temporary effect. People also use mesotherapy which was originally developed in Europe.
You can find an extended list of treatments here (scroll down to #4).
While each of these methods has been shown to affect the look of cellulite, the easiest and healthiest way to get rid of cellulite is diet and exercise. Not only is it a great way to safely reduce cellulite but it is also better for your overall health.