Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Cellulite Debaucle

Cellulite is an annoying plight.

It's associated with people that might have a little more to love but it's becoming evident that even the thinner class deals with it too. So that leads us to wonder what's really causing the "hail damage" that plagues us?! It's common belief that if you gain weight that's why you get cellulite. While it can play a part, losing weight won't actually make it go away. Sadly for us ladies, it seems to be that we might inherit some characteristics that make us susceptible to it's creation! With 90 %  of women experiencing this, we try to see a correlation. Well...
Our skin has many functions, one of them being to protect our bodies. Our skin is comprised of three layers- the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous layer. The epidermis is the outermost layer that we see every day. In the dermis layer is where our elastin & collagen, reticular fibers, and glands live. And finally, the subcutaneous layer is where our fat and connective cells inhabit. Our focus is going to be on the subcutaneous layer.

Just like we adapt to our surroundings, so do our bodies (kind of like the pigment of our skin remember?) . The role of women from the beginning of time has been to nurture and birth children. While this is not the stigma now, our bodies haven't gotten the memo. The structure of the subcutaneous layer as women allows for our fat cells to become larger. This is because our body prepares for children, we need more cushion and our body seems to widen. In men, they are built to be able to be more active (almost like the "hunter" vs "gatherer") and lean. So their adipose cells don't swell or create much of a pull on the fibers, called septae, that hold the three layers together. Look at the image below:
 The yellow fat cells in that make up the hypodermis-subcutaneous level in normal skin are nestled between the chambers of the fibrous septae. Because they aren't pushing against the septae, there is no pull on the dermis and epidermis. Now looking at skin afflicted by cellulite, the cells are pushing up against the septae. This causes tension on the chambers, causing them to pull "pockets" of the dermis and epidermis. This is what gives the dimpled effect. And again, because women have a predisposition to larger fat cells and even smaller chambers of fat cells, then this is more dominant for us. Men acutally have stronger septae because their chambers and in return, far less likely to get cellulite.
Fat cells aren't the only cause of cellulite, even fluid retention and excess fluid in the subcutaneous layer can cause the fat cells to push against the septae. So that's why even retaining water can make the appearance appear more dramatic. (Also, be careful with deep tissue massage. One might think that you can massage to get the fat cells broken up blah blah blah, but it could increase edema or more fluid to that area. However, MLD could be possibly helpful to reduce swelling.) And that's another way marketers and advertisers can get ya! And that leads us into our next portion...
 Lotions and creams will not benefit cellulite. Because the septae are below even the dermis, no products would be able penetrate that deeply without a modality or machine to aid it. Look at a product closely, does it say that it will remove or get rid of cellulite? Or does it say that it will "improve the appearance" of cellulite? This means your cellulite won't look as drastic. That's why people are finding more results with RID of cellulite with recent technology. Ingredients in products could possibly help with releasing some of the fluid held as well as detoxifying ingredients could help the appearance but would not get rid of it altogether. If eliminating the fluid and toxins that could be causing some inflammation:
  • horse chestnut
  • seaweed
  • glycyrrhetic acid (from licorice)
  • green tea
Those are just a few to look for. Diet and exercise can again, decrease the appearance but once cellulite has occurred, it's there. Otherwise, myth busted...no products will help you get rid of cellulite. Want to know about some procedures that are getting attention? Check out here. I'm thinking this could run into another post. Some of the most popular treatments are types of radio frequency treatments that use audio waves to break down fat cells, endermologie which heats up/applies pressure and "liquefies" fat" and compresses the body, and a new treatment called cryptology which freezes fat cells and kills them (however there may be some challenges with how the body reacts).

Whichever way you go, just make you do your research...know your professional and understand the options given!  Read more should you wish! I have a feeling I will be coming back to this topic, so stay tuned!