By definition, cellulite is a cosmetic, localized skin condition that causes a dimpled appearance on the surface of the skin. The bumpy “orange peel” texture is a combination of expanding fat cells that bunch up underneath the skin and fibrous bands (septa) that run perpendicular to the surface of the skin. Enlarged fat cells create small bulges while the tight septa cause puckering.
Cellulite is a term for the formation of lumps and dimples in the skin. Common names for cellulite are orange-peel skin, cottage-cheese skin, hail damage, and the mattress phenomenon.
Cellulite can affect both men and women, but it is more common in females, due to the different distributions of fat, muscle, and connective tissue. Between 80 and 90 percent of women may experience cellulite at some point in their lives. It usually affects the buttocks and thighs but can also occur in other areas.
Grades of Cellulite
A cellulite severity scale, published in 2009, ranks the condition using three grades:
Grade 1, or mild: There is an “orange-peel” appearance, with between 1 and 4 superficial depressions, and a slightly “draped” or sagging appearance to the skin.
Grade 2, or moderate: There are between five and nine medium-depth depressions, a “cottage cheese” appearance, and the skin appears moderately draped.
Grade 3, or severe: There is a “mattress” appearance, with 10 or more deep depressions, and the skin is severely draped.
The exact cause of cellulite is unknown, but it appears to result from an interaction between the connective tissue in the dermatological layer that lies below the surface of the skin, and the layer of fat that is just below it.In women, the fat cells and connective tissue in this layer are arranged vertically. If the fat cells protrude into the layer of skin, this gives the appearance of cellulite.
Hormonal Factors and Age
Hormones likely play an important role in cellulite development. Estrogen, insulin, noradrenaline, thyroid hormones, and prolactin are part of the cellulite production process.
One theory is that as estrogen in women decreases in the approach to menopause, blood flow to the connective tissue under the skin also decreases.
Lower circulation means less oxygen in the area, resulting in lower collagen production. Fat cells also enlarge as estrogen levels fall.
These factors combine to make the fat deposits more visible. As the fat under the skin protrudes through weakening connective tissue, the familiar dimpling effect results. As we age overtime this causes the skin to become less elastic, thinner, and more likely to sag. This increases the chance of cellulite developing.
Certain genes are required for cellulite development. Genetic factors can be linked to a person’s speed of metabolism, distribution of fat under the skin, ethnicity, and circulatory levels. These can affect the chance of cellulite developing.
Dietary and Lifestyle Factors
Cellulite is not caused by “toxins,” although a healthy lifestyle may help reduce the risk. People who eat too much fat, carbohydrates, and salt and too little fiber are likely to have greater amounts of cellulite .It may also be more prevalent in smokers, those who do not exercise, and those who sit or stand in one position for long periods of time. It is important to drink minimum of 2L of water daily as our body is made up of up to 60% water to maintain the balance of body fluids and improve circulation of nutrients and removal of any excess waste throughout the body
Wearing underwear with tight elastic across the buttocks can limit blood flow, and this may contribute to the formation of cellulite.
Cellulite is more prevalent in people who have excess fat, but slim and fit people can have it too. It is more likely to happen after the age of 25 years, but it can affect younger people as well, including teenagers.
Treatments available to reduce cellulite
Dry Body Brushing
Dry body brushing has so many incredible benefits it will stimulate the lymphatic system which will in turn increase blood circulation, help to reduce cellulite, improve digestion, increase energy and firm the skin.
The lymphatic system is responsible for carrying toxins out of the body, and it requires regular stimulation to keep things moving freely. Our lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump and the practice of dry body brushing a few minutes every day is a very effective and loving way to move your own lymph. It will increase blood flow and circulation, which will help your body and lymphatic system clear away toxins.
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