Cellulite is a very common, harmless skin condition that causes lumpy, dimpled flesh on the thighs, hips, buttocks and abdomen. It forms when fatty tissue deep in the skin pushes up against connective tissue.
The condition is most prevalent in women. It’s estimated that more than 85 percent of all women 21 years and older have cellulite. It’s not as common in men.
What is cellulite – cellulite causes
All of us —regardless of weight, body fat percentage and fitness level below our skin level have cells that store energy in our body. Over time, they grow as a result of several factors, including our daily lifestyle, hormones and eating habits. The fat cells are inside compartments that connect the skin to muscles. When our fat cells are small, earlier in life, they generally fit well inside these compartments. As our body develops, the fat cells grow and those compartments pull down on the skin as the expanding fat cells push upward. That’s what creates the uneven surface of cellulite.
Cellulite is very common. Approximately 85% of all women who’ve gone through puberty have cellulite. Less than 10% of men have cellulite.
Genetics, sex, age, the amount of fat on your body and your skin’s thickness determine how much cellulite our body have and how visible it is. With time, our skin loses elasticity and it is more likely to show the appearance of cellulite. Gaining weight can also make the appearance of cellulite more prominent.
Although people with obesity have pronounced cellulite, it’s not uncommon for slimmer people to notice the appearance of cellulite.
What Causes Cellulite
There is more than one factor that may affect the appearance of cellulite.
Some of those factors include:
Compartments that are found in the structure of the skin cause cellulite. It’s important to notice that the way that connective tissue is arranged varies, mainly by sex.
Hormones are another cause of cellulite that varies between men and women. The primary female hormone – estrogen, plays an important role in regulating fat. It causes fat to naturally build up in certain parts of the body – breasts, thighs, and buttocks (right where cellulite is most common), especially during the reproductive years.
Estrogen also helps to maintain consistent levels of fat. When estrogen declines in menopause, it becomes easier for women to gain weight, which then exacerbates cellulite.
The primary male hormone – testosterone, has the opposite effect to estrogen—it burns fat.
Genetics are a big factor when it comes to cellulite. Cellulite is believed to have a genetic component and it does run in families. In fact, one of the major risk factors for cellulite is having family members who have it.
When our body is younger, our skin and tissues are supple and elastic, stretching and giving way with the skin so everything remains smooth. As we age, our tissues become stiffer and less elastic. At the same time, fat cells tend to expand in certain areas (especially if you’re female), pushing out against the skin.
As we are getting older our outer layer of skin weakens, thins, and loses elasticity and the skin begins to sag. All of this makes cellulite more and more apparent.
How to fight cellulite
Because we have some control over some of the factors that affect cellulite, we can implement some of the changes in our daily lifestyle to reduce cellulite’s appearance.
A healthy diet keeps your skin and connective tissues stronger and more supple. Focus in your diet on:
- Healthy fats
- Whole grains
- Daily water intake
Healthier eating habits can also lower inflammation and prevent water retention which could also decrease cellulite’s appearance.
Some studies do show that exercise can reduce the appearance of cellulite. Regular workouts may help keep body fat levels lower. Exercises improve circulation, which keeps skin and connective tissues healthier as well as improve muscle tone in cellulite-prone areas, smoothing out the appearance.
Topical products like creams and lotions may have an important value when it comes to smoothing out the appearance of your skin. The skin care products that contain carefully selected ingredients are really beneficial when it comes to treating cellulite. These ingredients may work by stimulating circulation in the skin, promoting the breakdown of fat and increasing collagen production.
Ingredients that fight cellulite:
- Fennel – contains a compound closely related to anethole. Research indicates this compound behaves like estrogen. It may increase the amount of estrogen in the body. Fennel also acts as an antiseptic, diuretic and detoxifying agent. The diuretic effect of fennel helps to flush toxins and fat from the body. The estrogen-like properties in fennel may stimulate the production of collagen below the skin surface. New collagen may result in the appearance of smoother skin.
- Lemon is a natural detoxifier which rids the body of cellulite-causing toxins and trapped fluids. It is also rich in bioflavonoids and vitamin C. Used properly, lemon in skincare products can help improve the appearance of your skin and fight cellulite