Cellulite is that lumpy, bumpy stuff that appears on thighs and buttocks and seems to be the bane of many a woman's existence. With such appetizing descriptions as cottage cheese and orange peel texture, who can blame women for stressing out about their bumps? But cellulite doesn't mean you're fat and unattractive. It's very common and any woman can get it, even women who don't have a lot of fat.
What Causes Cellulite?
Cellulite is the appearance of built up fat and fluids trapped by a layer of collagen and elastin, connective tissues in the upper layers of the skin. These connective tissues can become fibrous and tough, creating an uneven surface that forms the familiar lumps and bumps that we call cellulite.
The exact causes of cellulite is not known, but the most likely theory is that it's a result of poor blood circulation - usually in areas affected by cellulite the skin will also be pale and cool to the touch - and possibly poor eating habits. A diet rich in processed food and lacking in proper hydration may contribute to the build-up of fluids and toxins that helps to cause the bumpiness.
Who Will Get Cellulite?
It is estimated that between 85% and 98% of all women will develop some form of cellulite in their lifetime. Some factors that contribute to its development include:
- Genetics play a part in determining who gets cellulite and who does not. If your mother or sisters have it, you will probably have it too.
- Weight can contribute to the development of cellulite. People who are overweight seem to be more prone to cellulite, especially if they do not exercise or their diet is poor, but even women who are thin will tend to have some.
- Age - as people age they tend to lose muscle tone. This general slackening can contribute to the look of cellulite.
While it is possible for men to get cellulite, it is far more common in women. This is probably because women tend to carry their body fat in the areas where cellulite is most common - the hips, buttocks and thighs - while men tend to carry their fat around their middles where cellulite is less likely to occur.
Getting Rid of Cellulite
There are several "miracle cures" being marketed to women who suffer from cellulite. Some may help to improve the look of your skin, and some may not. There is no miracle cure for cellulite and liposuction is not effective for getting rid of it either. Things you can try to improve the appearance of cellulite include:
- Dieting will not get rid of cellulite, but eating healthy, balanced meals and drinking enough water may help to improve its appearance.
- Exercise can cause significant improvement to cellulite, though it cannot make it disappear altogether. A combination of aerobic exercise, stretching and strength training targeted at the affected areas has been shown to improve muscle tone, which improves the appearance of cellulite.
- Massage could help to improve circulation, thereby helping to reduce the appearance of cellulite.
- There are creams on the market that claim to improve the firmness and elasticity of the skin, improving the appearance of cellulite. These creams meet with variable success. Some women may see an improvement with regular use and others may not.