Orange peels thighs, cottage cheese butt, fat dimples… These are just some of the names people use in reference to cellulite. Despite this condition being general associated with being overweight and eating unhealthy foods, roughly 80-90% of women have it. These are women of various sizes, small and large. Many of which may not be aware simply because it may be on the backs of their thighs or only visible in a bright light.
There are many myths and misconceptions associated with this skin condition even though it is so vastly common. To understand why it happens and how to get rid of it, you need to understand what it is.
What is Cellulite?
Cellulite is quite simply the occurrence of fat deposits under the skin. When normal fat deposits become larger, they can push upwards against the skin which causes the connective tissue to pull down which causes the classic look of dimples and small bumps on the skin. Cellulite can occur anywhere on the body, like stomach or even the arms, but are typically most obvious on the thighs and legs.
“Cellulite is caused by fibrous connective cords that tether the skin to the underlying muscle, with the fat lying between. As fat cells accumulate, they push up against the skin, while the long, tough cords pull down. This creates an uneven surface or dimpling.” – WebMD
Cellulite can occur in men and women, but is overall more common in women. This condition can occur anytime in life but is often most apparent after puberty. Sometimes it may dissipate once a young lady has matured while others get cellulite much later in life. The main issue for many people is that cellulite make them feel self conscious and affects self esteem.
There are different stages of cellulite. In the beginning you won’t be able to see it developing below the skin. Stage 2 cellulite: You’ll be able to see slight dimples when you pinch the skin or when you flex your muscles. The next level of cellulite will be visible when standing but not when laying down and eventually it will be visible all the time. Your cellulite can become more or less visible depending on factors like eating habits, weight, age, hydration, pregnancy, skin elasticity and how long you’ve had cellulite.
Why Does Cellulite Happen?
There are a few different reasons why cellulite occurs. Generally, it’s a combination of a few thing which cause it, not just one issue. Doctors typically agree cellulite production is based on these 3 factors:
- Hormones: Hormones like estrogen, insulin and thyroid are all involved in fat production, explaining why puberty is such a common time for cellulite to appear.
- Genetics: Cellulite is genetic and so even a person with a low body fat percentage may still develop it if they have a family history.
- Lifestyle: People that are generally sedentary or who consume a lot of sugary or fatty foods are most apt to develop fat deposits. Smoking also seems to contribute to the appearance of cellulite.
Some doctors have reason to believe that women who often wear tight clothing can worsen their cellulite or exacerbate the condition quickly in the beginning. That’s not necessarily fact, but something to consider.
Can You Get Rid of Cellulite?
There is a lot of controversy about whether a woman can get rid of cellulite completely. The problem is that some women can have cellulite without even being able to see it. In that case, if the appearance of the cellulite approves it is possible that the woman didn’t get rid of it, she just can’t see it.
Due to this, most fitness professionals and doctors agree that while a woman can’t necessarily get rid of this condition completely, they can reduce the appearance the lumps and bumps. It is important to also consider that women with a very visible cellulite may never be able to fully get rid of the appearance as a severe case of fat deposits may have permanently stretched/scarred the skin.
Here are a few ways you can reduce the appearance of cellulite, at home or with a doctor’s help.
- Exercise with Focus on Strength Training: This technique is a must for reducing the appearance of cellulite. You need to get active and stop leading a sedentary lifestyle. Cardio is important also but put an emphasis on strength training. Resistance training with weights or bodyweight will help tone your muscles, which is important for blasting stubborn fat deposits. Muscle burns fat at rest and having muscle under the skin can help the appearance.
- Lose Weight: Since the size of your fat cells impacts cellulite, it’s a no brainer that weight loss could help improve the appearance of skin affected by cellulite.
- Laser Liposuction: Regular liposuction may make the appearance of cellulite worse, but laser liposuction can destroy the fact cells and thus it could have a positive impact. “How it works: A plastic surgeon makes small incisions to the cellulite-laden area. A probe placed through the incisions and under the skin emits a laser, melting fat bulges and cutting through the fibrous bands that pull on and cause dimples in the skin.” – Washingtonian
Please note that the long term affect of laser treatments are still unknown.
- Change Your Diet: Even if you aren’t overweight, you can still have unhealthy eating habits which may be a contributing factor. Make sure the bulk of your diet is made up of whole foods, like vegetables, fruits and lean meats. Eat healthy carbs, but keep your intake of them at a reasonable level. Avoid processed foods and fast food as much as possible, especially those that are high in sugar, trans-fats and salt.
- Get a Massage: Massage by a professional is very useful for breaking up fat deposits and returning elasticity to the skin. You can find a masseuse experienced in treating cellulite for the best results. Otherwise you can visit a regular one or practice massage on yourself at home.
Other ways you can reduce the appearance of cellulite is to wear looser fitting clothes and underwear. If you have cellulite, don’t feel ashamed or beat yourself up about it. It is a VERY common issue and you are not alone. Having a healthy body, not a perfect body, and loving yourself is the most important thing.