Cellulite, orange peel skin, dimples, call it what you want, nearly 85% of women claim to suffer from cellulite somewhere on their body. Even though this is a common concern of many women, very few people know what cellulite is.
Cellulite is the most common term used to describe the lumps and dimples found in areas like the thighs, buttocks, and stomach. It is a disorder of the adipose tissue (fat cells) in the deep layer of the skin – called the subcutaneous layer. This layer is extremely important to humans, it helps to regulate temperature, provides protection around vital organs, and even plays a role in hormone regulation in women. The subcutaneous layer is mostly made up of adipocytes (fat cells) and strong connective tissue which act as a supporting network.
What causes cellulite?
To understand the cause of cellulite, we first need to understand the structure of the adipose (or fat) layer in the skin. The circular fat cells are surrounded by connective tissue structures which create a 3D grid, or box, around the adipocytes. This structure creates a layer that is extremely durable and resilient in normal circumstances – but what happens when the structures change?
There are a few key contributing factors to cellulite; poor lymphatic and blood circulation, the quality of the tissue and weight gain.
Poor blood circulation is extremely common in women and usually worsens as we age. Poor circulation means increased water retention and poor delivery of nutrients and oxygen to cells, particularly in the legs. Poor circulation can be caused by genetics, trauma, contraceptive pills, diets high in sodium and much more.
The poor circulation (and lack of nutrients, oxygen and water) eventually leads to a decline in quality of our connective tissue, including collagen and elastin fibres in the skin (responsible for the strength and stretch of the skin).
In addition to poor circulation causing a breakdown of the supporting structures of the cells, an increase in size of the fat cells (ie. Weight gain), causes the fat cells to balloon up out of their ‘grid’ structure causing the dimpling we see on the surface.
|As the connective tissue changes and the adipose cells enlarge, we see dimpling on the surface of the skin from the fat cells ‘bulging’.|
What can be done to treat cellulite?
Here is a hint – it doesn’t involve surgery, or coffee scrubs!
To treat cellulite, we first need to address the contributing causes. This will include looking at medical and family history, medications, and vascular abnormalities in the area. By assessing these factors, we can make adjustments to lifestyle factors to control, or reduce the cause.
Once we have assessed the cause an effective treatment program will include increasing blood circulation to the area, increase the blood pressure inside the circulatory system and improve the function of the lymphatic system. The correct treatment option will vary from person to person – often including a combination of nutrition supplements, in clinic treatments and at home treatments.
If you would like to know our secrets for improving cellulite, call us to book your FREE consultation with one of our skin specialists.