The term 'Cellulite' was first coined in 1973 and identified the dimpled skin that many people, especially women notice on their hips and thighs. It is a fallacy that cellulite appears only on obese women. It can make its ugly appearance even on slim and youthful women. The claims of various anti cellulite creams and lotions and cellulite massage treatments have not been scientifically backed, though anti-cellulite potions flood the markets. Cellulite massage treatment is frequently used to boost up circulation to affected parts.
When the body develops superficial levels of trapped fat, resulting in ugly and uneven dimpling of the skin, it is referred to as cellulite. Cellulite develops in the subcutaneous or superficial layer of the skin. Cellulite is described in medical terminology as Edematous-fibrosclerotic panniculopathy. Fat cells are held together by bands of connective tissue called septae. With water retention, the fat cells expand and consequently stretch the septae. When this connective tissue contracts and hardens, the skin that has stretched is held in a non-flexible length. This gives rise to some sections of skin being held down while others bulge outward.
Cellulite differs from fat in that it is lumpy and occurs in certain areas of the body. It is generally noticed among women though men do get cellulite around the neck and abdomen. The subcutaneous fat layer in men is organized differently from women. They store smaller quantities of fat and are less likely to develop cellulite formation. Cellulite is not necessarily a factor of obesity though it has been noticed that fatter women tend to be more prone to cellulite.
Cause of Cellulite
Cellulite is caused due to a number of reasons, hormones being a primary cause.
- Cellulite is seen to develop among women during periods of hormonal change. It is noticed during puberty, pregnancy, menopause and PMS. Since hormones play a critical role in blood flow, fat, connective tissue and lymphatic drainage, hormones are primarily responsible for causing cellulite. Cellulite cannot be treated by hormone therapy. Typically, cellulite makes it appearance when a woman is around 25 to 35 years of age, though in some cases it occurs earlier.
- Lack of exercise coupled with inadequate water intake and improper diet can lead to cellulite in the subcutaneous layer.
- Aging leads to loss of skin tone due to reduced elasticity of connective tissue. This can subsequently lead to formation of cellulite.
Fat cells (adipose cells) swell due to fat storage and the connective strands stiffen and pull down on their anchor points. The removal of excess fluid is hampered by inadequate lymphatic drainage.
Pinch an area of skin tissue with your thumb and finger. Presence of cellulite is identified by dimples or ripples in the skin that feels like the skin of an orange. It may appear whiter than the rest of the skin and colder too. Symptoms of cellulite include a feeling of heaviness and tightness in the legs. Skin affected by cellulite may be more tender when pressed upon or massaged vigorously. Soft cellulite occurs in large areas and is characterized by loose and sagging flesh. This type of cellulite is easily visible. In contrast, hard cellulite is not easily distinguishable from the body as it attaches directly to the muscle. This type of cellulite occurs in active women such as runners or dancers. Cellulite is sometimes accompanied by broken blood vessels and varicose veins.
While some people claim that exercise can build up muscles in the back of the leg and buttocks and mask cellulite, others feel that not much can be done about it. A healthy diet can go a long way in keeping obesity at bay and reduce the chances of cellulite. But it cannot do anything for the cottage cheese- like lumps that have already appeared on the skin. Women would do well to reduce subcutaneous fat in the diet once they notice signs of cellulite. Exercise can increase the integrity of the connective tissues. Circulation to the affected areas can be stimulated with the help of massage.
A healthy diet can go a long way in reducing build up of cellulite. Keeping yourself well hydrated and avoiding excessive consumption of coffee and alcohol are also recommended. Avoiding smoking and over medication in the form of diuretic pills, laxatives and diet pills can reduce your chances of cellulite build up. Reducing salt consumption can prevent further cellulite deposition, since salt causes water retention. A regular exercise regimen is the cornerstone for good health and fighting cellulite.
Anti Cellulite Lotion
Most topical applications to fight cellulite don't actually attack the cellulite but create a smoother texture by plumping up the skin. This effect is temporary and requires constant application of cellulite creams and lotions. Anti cellulite creams containing aminophylline are used to reduce the dimpling effect of cellulite. Aminophylline, a bronchodilator is said to cause a chemical reaction that changes fat cells into fatty acids that can slide through cell membranes into the bloodstream. Cellulite lotions containing aminophylline must be kept away from heat and used quickly. Some cellulite lotions and creams make use of retinols and AHAs(Alpha Hydroxy Acids) to improve the skin texture.
Since cellulite lotions that contain AHA such as lactic acid and glycolic acid accelerate the removal of superficial layer of dead cells, they are being increasingly used to fight cellulite too. Anti cellulite creams containing Retinoids or Vitamin A derivatives are applied at night since exposure to light destroys Retinol. Though its efficacy in removal of cellulite is still debated, anti cellulite cream containing Retinol is used to improve circulation to the skin and smoothen it too. Some anti cellulite lotions contain caffeine. Herbal cellulite lotions are increasingly used to improve the texture and tone of skin affected by cellulite. Citric, Tartaric and Phytic acids derived from fruits and plants are active ingredients in such anti cellulite treatments.
Many a time, persons undergoing cellulite massage are also advised to wear a special line of tights and panties that are made of a special wave mesh fabric. It also complements natural body movements thereby providing a beneficial exercise to the skin and adipose tissue. This stimulates microcirculation and allows drainage of fluids. Massage machines using rolling cylinders are available in the market to reduce cellulite. You may be asked to wear special stretch cotton covering before the cylindrical rollers are moved on your body. The result is a deep massaging treatment that does not tackle the underlying cause of cellulite but aims at providing cosmetic relief. Excessive massage on cellulite areas can lead to breakage of tiny capillaries.
Some spas and salons offer cellulite massage treatments that include body scrubs and pressure point massage. Essential oils and electrical pulses are also used to stimulate the cells. This type of cellulite massage is claimed to firm up and tone the skin and leave it smooth and silky. Anti cellulite massages attack dryness of the skin and clear out the toxic fatty deposits that cause the 'orange peel' look. Massage to cellulite prone areas such as knees and upper thighs is frequently resorted to. Herbal products using seaweed, horsetail and clematis and ivy are part of the massage therapy for fighting cellulite.
There are various surgical excision and suction treatments that are addressed to remove cellulite. Body wraps are also part of the massage therapy to fight cellulite. Liposuction, mesotherapy and Endermologie are resorted to by some women in the battle against cellulite.