Cellulite: The Inside Story
Most of us have cellulite. You know: those lumpy, bumpy patches of skin on the upper thighs and butt. Cellulite may sound like a medical condition. Yet it’s nothing more than normal fat beneath the skin. The fat appears bumpy because it pushes against connective tissue, causing the skin above it to pucker.
What causes cellulite? Having cellulite doesn’t mean you’re overweight. Even skinny celebrities have it. If you’re pudgy, though, losing weight may help reduce cellulite.
The Many Stages of Cellulite Development
There are four stages of cellulite:
During stage zero, you typically can’t notice cellulite dimples once you’re standing or stretching out. If you pinch your upper thigh, buttocks or belly, you might notice wrinkles but not dimples.
In the next cellulite stage, cellulite dimples aren’t noticeable when you’re standing or stretching out. However, if you pinch your upper thigh, buttocks or belly, dimples are noticeable.
With stage two cellulite, dimples can be noticed on the buttocks, thighs or belly when standing, but not when stretching out.
In the last kind of cellulite stage, dimples are noticeable either while standing or stretching out. Sometimes people experience painful elevated parts and nodules with stage three cellulite.
Are You At Risk for Cellulite?
Cellulite essentially occurs when fat deposits accumulate under the skin. As these fat deposits and bodily fluids push up against the skin, tissue that supports and attaches the skin to muscles, bones, and other internal structures pulls down, causing the characteristic dimpled appearance of cellulite. While the exact cause of cellulite is unknown, it is more common in women than men. Some risk factors for cellulite include:
- Hereditary factors are thought to play a role in the development of cellulite. Poor circulation, increased sensitivity to hormone fluctuations, and weaknesses in body tissues may be hereditary, and these factors may be associated with the appearance of cellulite.
- As we age, the skin loses some of its elasticity, which can worsen the appearance of cellulite.
- Estrogen levels. Many women develop cellulite during fluctuations in estrogen levels, such as during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Women who use hormonal contraceptives also may be at increased risk.
- Weight gain. Weight gain may worsen cellulite and often makes the condition more noticeable. A sedentary lifestyle may also contribute to the condition. But cellulite can also occur in people who exercise regularly and are thin or normal weight.
- Other factors. Other factors that may contribute to cellulite include inadequate fluid intake, high stress levels, poor diet, smoking, and medications.
Eight Ways to Reduce Cellulite
While cellulite can’t be completely eliminated, you can definitely reduce its appearance by following a healthy diet. Some things you can do include:
- Steering clear of salt and sugar. Sugar gets stored in fat cells and causes them to expand. Consume no more than six teaspoons of sugar daily. Salt leads to fluid retention, which can make cellulite more noticeable. Stay away from foods containing more than 200 mg of sodium.
- Drink more water. Water helps flush out toxins that hide in the fat layers beneath the skin and make cellulite lumps even more visible. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water every day. Hydration also works to plump the skin and make it look less lumpy.
- Vitamin C. Vitamin C is one of the best vitamins to take if you’re trying to battle cellulite. In fact, research has shown a direct link between low blood levels of vitamin C and increased fat accumulation. Vitamin C is also vital for promoting strong and healthy connective tissue. When connective tissue is strong, fat cells are less likely to break through the tissue and appear as cellulite on the surface.
- Kelp contains fucoxanthin, a xanthophyll compound found in green plants with chlorophyll, which helps the body burn fat. Studies show that ingesting kelp can help facilitate a 5-10% loss in body weight, which helps reduce the appearance of cellulite. Add kelp to your diet!
- Flaxseeds support estrogen levels and boost collagen growth. Collagen is the main component of connective tissue. By strengthening the skin, it helps reduce the appearance of cellulite.
- Potassium is one of the most valuable nutrients for reducing water retention and flushing out toxins that may contribute to cellulite. Potassium is found in a variety of foods, including root vegetables and beans.
- B vitamins. B vitamins play an important role in the metabolism of proteins and helps strengthen and repair connective tissue. They also help maintain sodium and potassium balance, which can hinder the accumulation of toxic wastes that can aggravate the appearance of cellulite. B vitamins also act as a natural diuretic, thus eliminating the excess water and bloating that make cellulite more visible.
- Gotu kola extract. This herb helps to reduce cellulite by improving elasticity and thickening the skin.
In addition to following these tips, you should also massage areas afflicted with cellulite. Massage helps by stimulating circulation and draining excess fluids. If you want to eliminate cellulite as much as possible, the best option is exercise, and if needed, weight loss. Experts agree that the most effective exercise routine for cellulite is one that incorporates aerobic exercise and strength training along with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fiber.