All You Need to Know about Cellulite

It’s summertime, the shorts are on, and cellulite is back on our minds and in our mirrors. Apparently, those little dimples on our bums and legs aren’t quite as cute as the ones on our cheeks (face cheeks, that is..!). This article gives you more information about the dreaded cellulite and what you can do to help it! Cellulite occurs in over 80% of the female population and rarely occurs in men (I bet all the women reading this just thought the word ‘typical’ in their heads).

Well, despite all that, it’s something very natural to show up on the human body, and the amount of cellulite you may experience can depend on several things.

There are many ways to help reduce the appearance of this infamous friend if that’s something you’re looking to achieve, so let’s take a closer look at what cellulite is, why women get it and what health hacks we can learn to help us.

What is Cellulite?

Cellulite is most noticeable on the thighs, hips and bottom, but it can also appear on the upper arms and the stomach. It’s caused by a build-up of fat deposits just below the skin’s surface which produces the dimpled effect we all know too well. While those who are overweight tend to have a higher chance of getting cellulite, many thin women also complain experience it.

Why is Cellulite more Common in Women?

While both men and women do get cellulite, it is more predominant in women. Estrogen plays a role, plus women typically have more body fat than men. Also, the bands connecting skin and muscle are different in men than they are in women. In men, this band has a diagonal or cross pattern that is smooth and continuous. On women, this connective tissue runs vertically. It’s attached to the skin too which creates chambers that trap and squeeze fat to produce the dimpled effect.

What Causes Cellulite?

There seems to be some disagreement amongst medical professionals about what the actual cause of cellulite is. However, there are some factors that most definitely contribute to cellulite in some. They include:

Skin elasticity: As we get older, our connective tissue loses its elasticity and doesn’t retain the smooth appearance it once had during youth. Hormonal changes make connective tissue stiffer and less elastic, and this, combined with an increase in fat cells, start to cause cellulite.

Hormonal factors – Hormones likely play an important role in cellulite development. Many believe estrogen, insulin, noradrenaline, thyroid hormones and prolactin are part of the cellulite production process.

Genetics – Certain genes are required for cellulite development. Genes may predispose an individual to particular characteristics associated with cellulite, such as gender, race, slow metabolism, fat distribution just underneath the skin and circulatory insufficiency. Remember, your genes did give you many other amazing things, don’t blame the cellulite on your parents!

Diet – People who eat a high amount of saturated fats, simple carbohydrates or salt and too little fibre are likely to have greater amounts of cellulite.

Lifestyle factors – Cellulite may be more prevalent in smokers and those who don’t exercise. It may also occur more in those who sit or stand in one position for long periods of time.

Clothing – Underwear or tight clothing may exacerbate cellulite.

What can you do about Cellulite?

There’s no quick fix for cellulite. Maybe in the future, there will be, but in the meantime, we’ll have to make do with some of these great tips. Implementing some of these cellulite hacks into life this summer will most certainly minimise the appearance.

Exercise: Lack of exercise and cellulite come hand in hand. Excess weight can contribute to cellulite, and so regularly working out will help you to maintain a healthy weight. Combine aerobic movement with strength training for maximum results. This will help you burn calories, and tone your muscles. Sculpting your muscles through resistance training will create a more shapely body, which will look and feel firmer. Try workouts such as Aerobics Introduction, 20-Minute HIIT or Mum on a Mission for cardio and toning all in one programme. Or if you like keeping your training separate, go for Aerobics Level 1. for your cardio fix and 10 Minute Toning or Wake-up Workout for toning and strengthening the muscles.

Eat Well: A healthy diet is important for so many reasons (I think you’d be amazed if we said it wasn’t). But in terms of cellulite, eating well definitely helps to keep those lumps and bumps at bay. Below is a list of foods and drinks that will help minimise your cellulite and improve overall health at the same time:

Water – is shown to be the most effective thing in reducing the appearance of cellulite. Increasing your daily water intake will encourage lymphatic flow; the drainage system we have in the body which helps to removes swelling and oedemas. Water will also boost circulation and help strengthen the collagen in your skin. All of which can help reduce that bumpy-skin look.
Lemon – Citrus fruits are great for their ability to lower the impact of carbohydrates on your body. Carbohydrates are quickly digested by the body and converted into sugar, affecting your insulin levels. Pop some lemon into a glass of water, or pop some over your salad. Citrus fruits can also clean out your liver – win-win!
Avocado – perfect for balancing insulin levels which will help keep your cellulite at bay. This superfood is packed full of potassium and folate. While avocado is high in fat, it’s the good kind that is vital for optimum body function. They’re also high in fibre which is a digestion aid and promotes a healthy gut.
Green Tea – contains an amazing amount of antioxidants that can help keep your body healthy. (It won’t suffice on its own, though – it’s not a miracle worker!). Some studies suggest it can raise your metabolism, reducing fat stores.
Raw Nuts – Raw nuts have amazing anti-estrogenic compounds. They contain plant sterols, which block the absorption of bad cholesterol. This compound increases progesterone in women and testosterone in men, which can balance out overactive estrogen.

Caffeine

An obscure one, but when caffeine is applied topically, it can actually work to dilate the blood vessels and consequently reduce the appearance of dimples on the skin. Be careful not to consume too much caffeine in your diet though as this has been shown to actually aggravate the symptoms of cellulite. So, as long as you’re not having 20 cups of coffee a day and then eating your caffeine body scrub, you should be okay!

Dry Brushing

Apparently, one of the most successful ways of reducing cellulite; dry brushing, which requires minimal expense but maximum patience. Firstly, it buffs away dead skin for a smoother feel. It then increases circulation and lymphatic drainage, helping to rid the body of toxins. Purchase a brush that is natural with stiff bristles but soft enough to run along the body without discomfort. Brush only when the skin is dry (before jumping in the shower is a good shout). There are plenty of great options available from Boots, Body Shop or Superdrug.

Good luck with blasting that unwanted cellulite and we hope to see you in our Cellulite Dynamite class soon!