Cellulite, that unsightly wave of dimpled skin that sits just below your butt cheek.
Why is it so difficult to treat?
The reason is, that most of what is known about cellulite is wrong, and simple repetition of errors of the past.
Sorry to disappoint you, but despite popular belief, cellulite has nothing to do with any of the following theories:
- fluid retention
- lack of exercise
- poor circulation
- contraceptive pill
- hormone replacement therapy
Even if it gets us labelled as a HERETIC and BURNED at the STAKE, we want to dispel these dimple dashing myths, once and for all.
So what exactly is cellulite?
Frustratingly, in our industry, we find even our fellow colleagues refer to cellulite as adipose or fat tissue, this is due to misinformation; it is actually a disorder of the connective tissue, affecting type I collagen that begins with the onset of the menstrual cycle.
Type I collagen is the most prevalent protein found in our body – we liken it to our internal scaffolding; a non-bony structural tissue found throughout the whole body. It is this type I collagen that accounts for many female disorders, which is driven by the sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone.
This is a critical concept to understand, and if by chance you find it difficult to get your head around, ask yourself why is it that men don’t get cellulite.
The clinical grades of cellulite
This is characterised by smooth, perfect skin, without any dimpling on standing or lying down.
Deterioration of the skin starts as the integrity of the blood vessels and capillaries, which create a complex transport network throughout out skin, slowly begin to breakdown.
The skin becomes pale with decreased elasticity as dermal deterioration continues; the temperature of the skin is also cool to the touch, which is due to the decline of the micro-circulatory system.
Clumping in localised areas becomes apparent, and with grade two cellulite, you start to see a dimpled appearance on standing, but when lying down this disappears.
This is where skin dimples on standing and lying down, and when pinched it gets worse; the “orange peel” effect is now very visible.
The build-up of fluids and toxins continues to accumulate as the metabolism in the skin’s cells begins to decline. Both the protein synthesis and the repair process are drastically reduced, which contributes to the thinning of the dermal layer.
By now, hard protein deposits begin to form visible nodules, which appear as obvious wave-like structures on the surface of the skin.
The anatomy of cellulite
Ever wondered why it is, that your dimple-dashing buttocks and thighs are the only areas that show cellulite?
Well, this is where nature cleverly makes our body store nutritional fat for infants during pregnancy. This fat is very stubborn and not easily mobilised, making it difficult to remove.
Why is this fat so difficult to mobilise? There are only two layers of subcutaneous fat found within the body:
- superficial layer
- deeper layer
These layers are kept separated by connective tissue, known as fascia.
Fat in both of these layers is stored in compartments; these are similar in structure to eggs in egg boxes, each compartment is separated by fibrous bands of tissue known as trabeculae, which run vertically under the dermis.
Over time, these bands of collagen and connective tissue contract and harden, making the skin become inflexible and weak, these bands break down, releasing globules of fat, which are the cause of the appearance of cellulite.
Often, these fat cells expand to such an extent that it causes the collagen fibres around them to bend – which makes sense when you think of the wavy, dimpled, structure of cellulite; it is why the surface of the skin dimples and puckers, creating the orange peel effect that we associate with cellulite.
So, as you can see, it has nothing to do with poor circulation, water retention, or a build-up of toxins in the system, and everything to do with the menstrual cycle.
Seems like us ladies get a bad deal, and sadly, that even extends to cellulite.