Cellulite is a condition in which the skin has a dimpled, lumpy appearance. It usually affects the buttocks and thighs but can also occur in other areas. Cellulite occurs when fat deposits push through the connective tissue beneath the skin.
Cellulite can affect both men and women, but it is more common in women, due to the different distributions of fat, muscle, and connective tissue.
The exact cause of cellulite is unknown, but it appears to result from an interaction between the connective tissue in the dermatological layer that lies below the surface of the skin, and the layer of fat that is just below it.
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.
Some other factors appear to be linked to the chance of having cellulite, including hormones, age, genetics dietary and lifestyle factors.
Hormones likely play an important role in cellulite development. Oestrogen, insulin, noradrenaline, thyroid hormones, and prolactin are part of the cellulite production process.
One theory is that as oestrogen in women decreases in the approach to menopause, blood flow to the connective tissue under the skin also decreases.
Lower circulation means less oxygen in the area, resulting in lower collagen production. Fat cells also enlarge as oestrogen levels fall.
These factors combine to make the fat deposits more visible. As the fat under the skin protrudes through weakening connective tissue, the familiar dimpling effect results.
Age also causes the skin to becomes less elastic, thinner, and more likely to sag. This increases the chance of cellulite developing.
Genetics – Certain genes are required for cellulite development. Genetic factors can be linked to a person’s speed of metabolism, distribution of fat under the skin, ethnicity, and circulatory levels. These can affect the chance of cellulite developing.
Dietary and lifestyle factors – people who eat too much fat, carbohydrates, and salt and too little fiber are likely to have greater amounts of cellulite. It may also be more prevalent in smokers, those who do not exercise, and those who sit or stand in one position for long periods of time. Wearing underwear with tight elastic across the buttocks can limit blood flow, and this may contribute to the formation of cellulite.
Several therapies have been suggested for removing cellulite, but none have yet been confirmed by scientific research. For this reason, any promise to get rid of cellulite should be approached with caution.
Liposuction and dieting do not remove cellulite because it does not affect the structure of the connective tissue. Having less weight does not mean you will reduce cellulite, if you have not improved the muscle structure and reduced the body fat %.
Reducing fat intake will mean having less fat to push through the connective tissue. Therefore, it is my experience that eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising may over time reduce the appearance of cellulite. Thus far, the healthy eating and exercise strategy works best. 🙂