The word “cellulite” sends a shiver of insecurity through the souls of most women. That crinkly, dimply, cottage cheesy skin is the bane of our existence. From skinny to fat, athletes to couch potatoes, young and old, rich and poor, cellulite doesn’t discriminate, except maybe when it comes to men. Damn them, right?!
Because it affects most every women at one time or another, getting rid of cellulite has become a multi-million dollar business with everyone from plastic surgeons, to cosmeticians, clinicians and skin care companies helping you to reduce cellulite. The word “Reduce” should be your clue to the nature of cellulite, because no one has yet to find a way to get rid of cellulite. Why? Because cellulite doesn’t really exist in the way that you think it does.
What Is Cellulite?
Let’s go back to the beginning and understand what cellulite is before we try to “reduce” it. When many of us notice cellulite on our thighs or butt cheeks, we begin to increase our workouts and / or get stricter with our diets. We see it as a sign of fat, because most overweight people have cellulite, right? That leads us to think that losing weight is the answer.
So is cellulite fat? Yes and no. Sorry, I know it’s confusing, but stick with me.
Our skin is tethered to our muscles with a sheath of connective tissue called fascia. This fascia wraps our entire body like a cob web under our skin, holding us together. Between our skin and muscle is a layer of fat. In women, the connective tissue is laid out in a criss cross pattern, similar to that of a quilt. Think of the fat as the stuffing in the quilt.
Now add more stuffing to that quilt and watch how it bulges between the threads. The more fat you add, the more bigger the bulges you get. This is why when we gain fat, we notice more cellulite. We “notice” more cellulite, not that we “get” more cellulite.
Now, pull that quilt taut. Notice how the bulges smooth out? That’s how our skin was when we’re young. It was tight and taut, so the fat underneath was flatter and we didn’t notice any bulges. As we age, and our skin slacks and we begin to see those bulges, just like when you let loose on that quilt. The fat was always there, it was just laying smooth against your muscle, under your skin. This is why we may notice cellulite as we age, even though we haven’t really gained more fat.
So, I’ll ask the question again. Is cellulite fat? Yes, but it’s also hardened connective tissue and fascia, combined with loosening skin.
Cellulite is more noticeable on some women more than others, and some scientific studies reveal that it can be heredity. What this means is that you might be predisposed to have more of a criss cross pattern of fascia than your best friend, because that’s the make up of your mother’s skin and her mother’s skin.
Estrogen plays a big part in the how the fascia is laid out, which is why most men do not have cellulite, which is women on birth control notice more cellulite, and which is why women with hormone imbalances have more cellulite.
So that might lead you think … ‘when I am menopausal, I will lose my cellulite, because my estrogen will be lower.” Well, don’t get too excited. When you lose estrogen, your skin loses its elasticity and what happens when your skin sags? Back to that old quilt again. When you let it loose, there are all those bulges staring you right in the face.
Can We Get Rid Of Cellulite?
Now that we understand what cellulite really is, you realize that you really can’t get rid of it because you can’t get rid of the fascia in your body. The best thing you can do is reduce its appearance, like when you were young with tight skin.
Cellulite is really a skin thing more than a fat thing. Knowing that information can save you a lot of time in your quest for smoother legs. Treat the skin, diminish the cellulite.
What Works And What Doesn’t
Let’s save the best for last, and talk about what doesn’t work before we learn what does work!
Liposuction doesn’t work. In fact, it makes cellulite worse. After learning the true nature of cellulite, you now know the reason why. Liposuction removes fat using a cannula to suck the fat out. Since cellulite really isn’t only fat, liposuction causes skin to sag like a deflated balloon. Saggy skin makes cellulite more noticeable.
- Extreme weight loss
Extreme weight loss will make cellulite look worse, too. Aside from the fact that many people who have lost a lot of weight suffer from excessive skin, that loose skin will reveal a lot more cellulite than when they were heavier.
Negative With A Positive
- Cellulite lotions
Most cellulite lotions are really potions, as in hocus pocus potions. They are just moisturizes rebranded with the promise to penetrate your skin to dissolve cellulite. The good part is that some may help tighten your skin, and that’s a step in the right direction.
Celfina is one of the newest and best treatments out there. This procedure doesn’t require anesthesia and has little down time. It takes under an hour, with a doctor first marking the indents on the skin and then inserting a tiny cutting device, the size of a needle, just under the skin to cut those connective bands. When the bands are released, the results are immediate.
Like Celfina, Cellulaze addresses the connective tissue, but uses a laser that goes under the skin to cut the fibrous bands. The procedure is more general than indent specific, takes over an hour, and there is swelling before results are seen.
Endermologie is not an invasive treatment, but can work to smooth out cellulite using rollers and suction done in a clinical or spa setting.
Another non-invasive treatment is Vanquish, that uses radio frequency energy to destroy fat cells, done in a spa or clinic.
- Dry Brushing
If you don’t want to go the plastic surgery route, dry brushing is a great way to tighten your skin at home. It moves your lymph system too, which is beneficial in smoothing out cellulite.
Massagers can temporarily inflame the skin making it thicker and therefore, making the cellulite less noticeable. It helps keep the fascia soft, which makes cellulite less noticeable.
Collagen is our skin’s best friend. Add collagen to your smoothies, or drink bone broth to get your daily collagen. Tighter skin masks the appearance of cellulite.
- Muscle Up
Squeeze that cellulite tight. Too many of us are all about the cardio and not enough about resistance training. It can’t be emphasized enough that loose skin makes cellulite appear a lot worse. When you just focus on fat loss, and don’t fill up that space with muscle, you skin will sag.
Don’t worry, you’re not going to get bulky, you’re going to get sleek legs and get that coveted heart shaped butt instead. Grab some resistance bands and donkey kick your way to a tighter butt with a lot less cellulite.
Cardio workouts on mini-trampolines have proven to help reduce cellulite by keeping your fascia from becoming “jacked.” With high impact cardio, such as running, Zumba, kickboxing, and more, it can actually cause fascia to bunch up and grab onto muscles to stabilize your legs as they leave the ground and return to earth. The trampoline pushes back, stimulating the lymph system and encouraging lymph drainage. It tones all the muscles in your legs, while reducing fat, and your fascia won’t freak out. So get tramping.
Don’t stress over cellulite. We all have it. Instead, take care of your skin and your skin will take care of you. Nutrition, exercise, dry brushing, and non-invasive treatments at a spa are the best way to go, but if cellulite is affecting your self esteem, check out some of innovative procedures, like Celfina or Cellulaze, that are proving to yield great results. Remember, to keep a positive attitude and a smile on your face, because that makes you more beautiful than a perfect set of legs.