by Bob Wells, PES
There has been a lot of information, and misinformation, about cellulite that has confused many around the globe. What are the causes? How do we get rid of it? Let's start at the beginning with what is cellulite, and why does it happen.
Cellulite is the accumulated adipose tissue, fat, that appears as dimple like protrusions on the back of many women's legs. Women's skin, rather their connective tissue is not as thick as men's is, thus allowing the fat to push through the connection tissue to alter the shape of the skin, the dimple like appearance on the skin. This coupled with poor circulation is also a major factor in the development of cellulite, which affects between 80 and 95% of women, according to Fit Sugar.
There are other factors that can affect the size and the appearance of your cellulite. Some of these include:
- Poor diet- an imbalanced or calorically inappropriate diet can negatively affect the body's metabolic rate, increasing fat deposit. (Click here for more info about diet, or email Organic Experience)
- Fad dieting- by drastically restricting calories, your body goes into "starvation mode", converting the precious incoming calories into fat.
- Lack of physical activity-not working out regularly lowers your caloric output,
- Dehydration- improper hydration causes the body to store contaminated water subcutaneously, the liver is then diverted from its task of breaking down triglycerides (fats) and instead has to filter the water.
- Total body fat- although lean women may have cellulite, reducing your body fat, via resistance training can reduce or potentially eliminate cellulite.
The treatment for cellulite is usually done in one of the following ways:
- Massages: Endermologie (pictured on the left), a massage technique developed in the 1980s, is believed to temporarily remove cellulite, by increasing proper blood flow to and from the affected area. These massage treatments require two sessions a week at $75 to $300/hour.
- Creams: Another option are creams. Caffeine is in almost every cellulite-reducing cream that shows any benefit, because it helps blood flow to the skin and functions like a diuretic, flushing you out. Another ingredient popular in creams is Retinol. Retinol is believed to work by being able to penetrate the skin, exfoliate it, and increase collagen production, which makes skin thicker and hides the dimpling fat. However, too much can dry out the skin and cause it to redden. For more cream options, check out the line at Sephora.
- Laser Treatments: Laser sessions work primarily by reducing fat and increasing blood flow to reduce the size and appearance of cellulite. Treatments can range on average from $500 to $1000 for each session.
- Exercise: Aerobic exercises, like jogging and swimming, and anaerobic (resistance training) help reduce cellulite, albeit in different ways. Aerobic exercises work because they increase blood flow and lymphatic circulation. Anaerobic exercises work because they metabolize fat and convert it to muscle. For sample exercises, check out Four Great Moves to Tone and Firm Your Glutes.
However, Catherine Saint Louis writes in the New York Times that " rumors of a cure are greatly exaggerated". She quotes Dr. Molly Wanner of Harvard Medical School, who says that "A lasting remedy would have to address the interplay between skin, fat, connective tissue and underlying muscle".
The first three options are merely temporary solutions, but exercise, coupled with a good diet (click here for sample plan), is the best option to permanently reduce or remove unwanted cellulite, and keep it away. So, put down the junk food, and pick up the weights. What have you got to lose? Besides unwanted fat.