What Is A Cellulite?

Rising Cellulite —diongillard (Flickr.com)

Cellulite is a term used to describe the visible accumulation of fat deposits just below the skin. Most commonly, cellulite appears in the thighs, abdomen and derriere. Instead of smooth skin, people with cellulite have a bumpy, saggy, “cottage cheese” look caused by the weakening of the fat cell walls. While cellulite is not harmful to one’s health, it’s universally reviled because it looks unhealthy and unsightly.

What Causes Cellulite?

Typically, cellulite appears in women ages 25 – 35 or shortly after giving birth. It is an extremely common condition that may affect up to 90 percent of post-pubescent women. The precise causes are not well understood, but there are several factors that may lead to cellulite.

  • Hormones – Estrogen, insulin, thyroid hormones and prolactin are associated with cellulite.
  • Genetics – Gender, race, metabolism, fat distribution and circulation affect cellulite.
  • Diet – Eating too much fat, carbs or salt and too little fiber has been linked to cellulite.
  • Lifestyle – Sedentary people have more cellulite formation than active people.
  • Clothing – Tight elastic underwear limits blood flow and may contribute to cellulite.

From a scientific standpoint, cellulite is believed to be caused by one or all of the following factors:

  • Poor circulation in blood vessels, causing the vessels to press against the skin unevenly.
  • Chronic inflammation of white blood cells, causing cells to shrink, skin to weaken and bumpy fat to show.
  • Weakened connective tissue, allowing fat to push through the criss-cross matrix and appear as dimpled ruts.
    How To Treat Cellulite

In 2008, women spent $47 million on cellulite reduction products. Though these products exist, it is only realistic to expect a 25 to 50 percent reduction. Here are some of the popular methods used to diminish the appearance of cellulite:

  • Creams – There is no scientific evidence that creams are effective at “dissolving fat,” but many appear to affect the blood vessels, hydrate the skin and add nourishing nutrients. Many Cellulite Creams use Aminophylline Cream as the main ingredients.
  • Massage / Spa Treatments – Regular massage and spa treatments temporarily smooth out the dimpling of the skin and remove fluid buildup, but the results are not lasting.
  • Tanning – The appearance of cellulite is less visible on darker, tanned skin.
  • Liposuction – This surgical procedure removes fat from the body, but in some cases, it has depressed the skin and made cellulite actually look worse.
  • Mesotherapy – The European therapy involves the injection of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids below the skin to break down fat and improve the appearance of cellulite, although there is a risk of swelling and infection

How To Get Rid of Cellulite

Prospects for the future are bright. Researchers are looking at therapies involving laser lights to shrink fat tissue and rollers to soften the bands of connective tissue that cause the dimpled appearance. Currently, the best option people have is to focus on eating a healthier diet, strength training and participating in cardiovascular activities.

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