CELLULITE – What is it and what can you do to avoid and/or treat it

It wasn't until the early 1970s that the word cellulite was, if not invented, at least popularized by a French dietitian who offered treatments promising to reduce it. (Market-driven motive? You decide.) When short hemlines and snug blue jeans commanded fashion in the '70s, encouraging women to pay closer attention to the shape of their bottom and thighs, the war against cellulite began in earnest, enlisting a militia of combatants: creams, devices, and special exercises (remember Thin Thighs in 30 Days?), surgical procedures, including liposuction, and, most recently, lasers. The war rages to this day. Cellulite products generated $11.8 million in U.S. department stores last year, and the number of liposuction procedures performed on women increased 168.5 percent between 1997 and 2007.

You may know what it looks like and how you feel about it, but do you know what cellulite is? Here's a graphic way to think about it. Picture your body as a sofa. (Or perhaps, more kindly, a love seat.) The stuffing is fat, just below the skin. Bands of fibrous tissue run through the fat like threading. Due to genetics or hormones or inflammation—in other words, circumstances largely beyond your control—those bands can become inflexible and brittle, and the fat pushes up through them in a way that makes the skin look lumpy and dimpled. Your weight does not determine whether you have cellulite: You can be thin and have it.

Unfortunately there are many factors that influence the onset of cellulite, but Dermatologist Dr Ariel Haus says some of these include: “Dieting too hard or too much (less is more ladies), hormonal factors (estrogen is said to be one of the most important hormones to initiate and aggravate cellulite), and changes in metabolism.”

If you’re not already body brushing or using the foam roller on a regular basis then you should be. Haus says a massage and good scrubs support circulation. “Daily body brushing, stroking in the direction towards your heart, or a strong-handed massage on the thighs will increase fat dispersion if done on a regular basis,” he says.

According to Haus, cellulite is a big fan of females with inactive careers. ‘If you’re desk bound in your job then your day will consist of little action,’ he says. ‘Take breaks, make tea and walk and talk rather than emailing. All of these small simple steps remind your rear it needs to keep in shape.’

To help prevent cellulite, Haus suggests trying to cut down on the following: ‘Refined and processed foods and artificial foods that contain sweeteners, additives and chemicals,’ he says. ‘Plus dairy and high fat products, sugar and high sugar products are all thought to contribute to the dreaded orange peel.’

Do what you can and take measures to improve the appearance of your body but after all is said and done, love your body and wear clothes that flatter your shape and make you feel comfortable and beautiful!

Sources: Valerie Monroe, Vicki-Marie Cossar


Susan Arruda