Cellulite, a woman’s nightmare
Liposuction, cellulase, mesotherapy, coffee scrubs, laser therapy; and this list will go on. These are few of the therapies that women spend millions on to remove womankind’s one common malady – cellulite. Most people don’t know the risk factors of cellulite.
Apart from therapies and surgeries, there are cellulite diets, and cellulite creams, all promising to smoothen ugly and embarrassing cellulite off the skin.
What is cellulite and how is it caused?
Cellulite is the accumulation of fat in the subcutaneous areas of the skin. The skin, or dermis, is elastic by nature, getting its tensile strength from the collagen in the connective tissues that connect the skin to muscles and bones. In connective tissues, fat cells and a network of blood and lymphatic vessels are present that circulate blood and lymphatic fluids essential for nourishment and toxin removal. As fat cells increase in number and grow in size, they weaken the collagen and push their way upwards to the epidermis, protruding as lumps and dimples just underneath the outer skin. Although harmless, the skin appears quite unsightly and unflattering to look at.
Cellulite is also commonly known as orange-peel skin and cottage cheese skin, or hilariously as hail-damaged skin and skin with the mattress phenomenon.
In the case of women, the risk of developing cellulitis increases with age and reaches its maximum levels as menopause approaches.
Hormonal changes, specifically having lower levels of estrogen, could contribute to changes in circulation and decrease collagen production. A combination of fat cells grows more or more in number; Having a thin layer of collagen and an alteration in the blood supply could cause cellulite.
Risk factors of cellulite
Both women and men run the risk of Cellulite formation. However, as women’s skin is thinner than men’s, cellulite is more prominent in women. Besides, women by nature have more body fat than men which results in more cellulite accumulation. The cellulite concentrates mostly in the abdominal area and around the thighs and buttocks, as well as in the upper arms because women store more fat in these areas, while men store mainly in the abdomen.
What are the main risk factors of cellulite?
It is difficult to identify the exact etiology and pathophysiology of the risk factors of cellulite. There are many processes that occur sequentially and simultaneously that affect the development of this condition. These are:
1. Gender – mainly affects women (90%) because of their higher body fat.
Women have an increased risk of developing cellulite, since there is a significant difference in the way that connective tissue and fat cells are arranged, compared to men. In the case of women, fat cells they tend to be arranged vertically, under the skin. As they grow, the upper layers bulge and penetrate through the tissue layer. Generally, fat cells in men are arranged horizontally, and lie flattened against each other.
2. Hormones – fluctuations in estrogen levels in women at various stages of their lives (puberty, pregnancy, childbirth) add to the weakening of collagen.
Structural changes could be caused by hormonal imbalances. Having low levels of estrogen during menopause significantly increases your chance of developing cellulitis. Other risk factors of cellulite include high levels of insulin and catecholamines; both are integral parts in the distribution and storage of fat molecules. High carbohydrate levels in the diet increase the risk of hyperinsulinemia, which supports lipogenesis, or the formation of fat cells and the growth of current cells. Other hormones that could play a role are norepinephrine, prolactin and thyroid.
3. Age – It wanes the skin’s elasticity, adding more dimples.
Age also causes the skin to become less elastic, thinner and more prone to fall. This increases the chances of developing cellulite.
4. Genetics – Having relatives with cellulite seems to increase the risk for developing it.
Certain genes are required for the development of cellulite. Genetic factors may be related to the speed of a person’s metabolism, the distribution of fat under the skin, ethnic origin and circulatory levels. These can affect the possibility of cellulite developing.
5. Lifestyle – inactive and sedentary lifestyle increases fat accumulation and more cellulite.
Staying long and having a sedentary lifestyle could change circulation patterns and increase the risk of developing cellulite. Likewise, some researchers have linked chronic inflammatory changes with an increased risk, finding macrophages and lymphocytes in cellulite tissue. In addition, smokers have an increased risk of developing cellulite, as do those who remain in one place for long periods of time,
Treatment for cellulite reduction
Medically called EFP or Edematous Fibro-sclerotic Panniculopathy, cellulite is however not a medical problem but rather a cosmetic one. Treatment is therefore done by dermatologists, plastic surgeons, aesthetics and beauty therapists. Most of these treatments claim to be effective though no single conclusive proof of cure is yet available. Some popular therapies include:
Cellulite Diet & Supplements:
Some foods and juices help break down fat cells, improve blood circulation, aid metabolism and cell health, and balance hormones. Diets that contain fat dissolving agents like sweet clover, gingko biloba, fish oil, flavonoids from seeds and other sources may help. However, consume with caution as these diets may carry health risks.
It may be non-invasive when laser energy is delivered deep through the dermis into the hypodermis, generating a wound healing response and forming new collagen. Fat is compressed giving the cellulite a smoothened look and feel.
Another laser technique which is minimally invasive directs the laser energy sub-dermally to selectively heat up and melt hypodermal fat deposits which are taken out by suction method. This procedure helps smoothen the contours of the skin surface.
The idea of this massage is to increase blood flow, reduce fluid build-up and smoothen the skin. The kneading action by hand or with the help of low energy machine as in a deep massage process actually helps though the effects are not long-lasting.
A plethora of creams have flooded the market promising to solve the problem of cellulite like magic. Research has revealed many new findings of certain ingredients, namely, caffeine, aminophylline, bladderwrack seaweed extract and vitamin A. There are prove that these ingredients are very effective against cellulite. They contain compounds that are diuretic, antioxidant, fluid eliminating and collagen producing properties, all of which are good for the ameliorating cellulite conditions.
Finally, whatever your age, an anti-cellulite cream might be the simplest, handiest and most powerful solution to anyone serious about smoothening away that cellulite. By doing this, you will get brighter, youthful and healthy looking skin. The best time to start making smart decisions is before cellulite starts to appear.