Cellulite – what causes it and how to get rid of it?BODY See all BODY posts
Cellulite – the nightmare of every woman over 20. It occurs in 70-90 % of women and with aging it gets even worse. What causes cellulite and how to get rid of it? Is there a permanent solution for the problem?
What is cellulite?
In French medical literature, cellulite appears over 150 years ago. Then it was considered as a disease, but nowadays this theory is not longer supported. Today, cellulite is nothing more than formation of subcutaneous fat within fibrous connective tissue, caused by anatomical changes.
In dermis – the layer under your skin are located hair follicles, blood vessels, sweat glands, nerve receptors and connective tissue. Below this layer, there are 3 other layers of subcutaneous fat. In women, the uppermost layer has large “standing fat-cell chambers”, separated by connective tissue, in men this layer is filled with crisscrossing connective tissue walls. The dermis, which is already thinner in women than in men gets thinner and looser as they age. This opens the door for fat cells to migrate to the dermis. The walls of the connective tissue in the uppermost layer, below the dermis also get thinner, which allows the fat cells there to get larger, as we age.
This collected fat in the buttocks and thighs area is being pushed out from the muscles towards the connective tissues and skin and this is how the cellulite becomes visible.
Causes of cellulite
Smoking and sedentary lifestyle can affect the appearance of cellulite. Mainly, because they reduce the blood vessel flow in the body. Smoking weakens the formation of collagen – the structural protein of connective tissue, which makes it easier for the fat, underlying below dermis to go trough it.
People who eat foods with high content of fat, carbohydrates and salt are at greater risk of cellulite formation. It is important that you include fibers in your diet. Lack of certain vitamins and minerals, which contribute to weight loss can also play a role in the formation of cellulite. A healthy diet helps boost your metabolism and reduce the amount of fat in the body, which automatically means reduced cellulite.
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Genes can also paly role in the formation of cellulite. You might be genetically predisposed to develop cellulite, through an inherent tendency, affecting the fat distribution and deposition in your body. But the number of fat cells in your body remains always the same. What changes, as a result of diet and exercising is their size – they get smaller ot bigger. Which means, that a healthy weight has to be maintained via a balanced diet and active way of life. Slim women and female athletes may also be predisposed to develop cellulite, but as a result of their lifestyle and diet, they have little to no cellulite.
Hormones play a predisposing role in the formation and development of cellulite. Fat collection in any part of the body is determined by metabolic or hormonal needs. Cellulite is a natural process in females triggered by the hormone estrogen, which major function is to breakdown the collagen in the cervix at the time of delivery to allow the passage of the baby. It is believed that except estrogen, there are also other hormones which affect the cellulite formation and development – such are insulin, noradrenaline, prolactin and thyroid hormones.
A study from Harvard Medical School, conducted in 2012, showed that exercising muscle produces a hormone called irisin. It travels in the body, through the blood, and alters the fat cells. Another study of Harvard Medical School from 2009, discovered that humans have 2 types of fat cells – white fat cells and brown fat cells. The main function of white fat cells is to store fat. The brown fat cells, however don’t store fat, but burn it.
So if a person wants to lose weight, the number of brown fat cells, which keep burning calories even after an exercise is over, has to be increased. Irisin also helps to prevent or overcome insulin resistance, which leads to type 2 diabetes. The research has shown, that irisin does this with mice, but humans have this hormone, too. So it is very likely that the effects will be similar in humans as well.
Natural cellulite treatments
As you already know, cellulite is result of fat collection in the buttocks and thighs area in females. This means, maintaining a healthy weight, through a healthy diet and active lifestyle with regular exercise are important factors for its reduction. However, there are other factors, which can promote the reduction of cellulite.
Massage is very beneficial, as it improves the circulation of blood and lymph. The direction of massage should be towards the heart.
There are 4 main herbal treatments that have confirmed beneficial effect on reduction of cellulite. These herbal products strengthen the structure of connective tissue and help fat reduction.
Aescin – Aescin is the main active compound in horse chestnut, responsible for most of its medicinal properties. It has anti-inflammatory action and improves blood circulation in the skin. It helps reduce cellulite by toning the capillaries in the dermis.
Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) – This native to the wetlands of Asia plant stimulates the body to produce substances that increase the synthesis of collagen and improve the blood circulation. It makes skin firm and toned and also improves the strength of newly formed skin and the structure and flexibility of the connective tissue.
Grape seed – Antioxidants in grape seed extract contribute to its cellulite-fighting properties. It contains pycnogenol – a class of flavonoids, which studies have shown to be more efficient than vitamin C and vitamin E in neutralizing free oxygen radicals, which contribute to aging in humans. It improves the structure of connective tissue and the blood circulation. Studies have shown, that it may be helpful in preventing the accumulation of fat.
Bladderwrack – This seaweed, discovered in 1811 was the original source of iodine and was used extensively to treat goitre – a swelling of the thyroid gland, related to iodine deficiency. It is effective in toning and softening the skin. The high iodine content boosts metabolism and stimulates the burning of calories. A study suggests, that bladderwrack has anti-aging properties as it improves the skin elasticity.