First things first; cellulite is not a skin condition or a sign of being overweight. Having cellulite actually makes you normal, with anywhere between 80-90% of women showing visible dimpling of the skin on the arms, thighs, and buttocks. In fact, before modern beauty standards set in, cellulite was a sign of beauty and something to be celebrated as feminine, not something to be displeased with or a sign that you were lacking in some way.
If your skin dimples in places you’d rather it didn’t, you may be on the hunt for a ‘cure’ or a workout that may reduce the appearance of cellulite. Before we get into that though, let’s discuss what cellulite actually is.
WHAT IS CELLULITE?
Cellulite is just the accumulation of fat cells in particular areas of the body that sit between the fibrous bands connecting our epidermis (skin) to our muscles. The dimpling appearance comes from the ‘bulging’ of the over accumulation of fat cells between the fibrous bands, which bunch up under the skin unevenly to give it a dimpled appearance.
WHAT CAUSES CELLULITE?
There is seemingly no rhyme or reason as to why cellulite appears, however, appear it does. Cellulite is far more prevalent in women than men as the main areas where cellulite appears (hips, thighs, and buttocks) are where most fat is distributed after puberty in women.
For mature women, cellulite may appear more defined, or you may even be experiencing cellulite for the first time. This is simply because mature skin retains less elasticity, causing it to sag and expose cellulite.
Anything from weight gain, smoking, a sedentary lifestyle to the tightness of your clothes has been blamed as a culprit for cellulite’s onset. However, with so many proposed causes, it’s safe to assume that, for the vast majority of us, cellulite in some form or another is unavoidable. So why should we be beating up on ourselves if we have a little dimply skin?
CELLULITE AND MENOPAUSE
One of the most common times women experience the onset of cellulite is during menopause when our hormones are most in flux. This flux can have major effects on how our body produces, stores and disposes of fat cells.
During menopause, our oestrogen levels and progesterone levels are displaced. These two hormones are directly linked to cellulite production. While oestrogen is directly responsible for the arrangement fatty tissue, lowered levels of progesterone can lead to microcirculation complications, causing lowered blood flow to connective muscle tissues. These two anomalies create perfect conditions for cellulite to grow.
Lower oestrogen levels also contribute to greater fluid retention and a decrease in collagen, which as we know is responsible for keeping the skin taught and supple.
IS THERE A WORKOUT I CAN DO TO GET RID OF CELLULITE?
Short answer is, basically, no. Women of all shapes and sizes report showing signs of cellulite, so we can rule out cellulite being a symptom of weight gain that will disappear given enough squats and lunges. While weight gain may make cellulite more noticeable, the cellulite itself was there to begin with
Leading a healthy lifestyle, with a nutritious diet and plenty of exercise, may help to lessen the appearance of cellulite, though it may not get rid of it altogether. Lower body fat and tighter, firmer muscles does not necessarily mean no cellulite.
TREATMENTS FOR CELLULITE
While there is no sure-fire lotion or potion we can use to get rid of cellulite, there are treatments available with some proposed benefits.
Caffeine, which you can get your intake of from coffee or tea, is a catalyst for the process known as lipolysis. Lipolysis is the process our body undergoes in the secretion of fatty build up, which can be impaired during menopause due to our hormonal imbalance.
Supplementation of collagen will also assist in skin health and a potential to visibly reduce signs of cellulite by tightening up the skin, which has a tendency to sag during menopause.
Topical treatments containing actives like hyaluronic acid and vitamin A may also be beneficial in lessening the signs of cellulite by plumping the skin and helping to increase healthy skin cell turnover.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Cellulite is 100% normal and 100% part of being a woman, so let’s celebrate that rather than try to hide it away or feel embarrassed by it. Chances are we have all experienced dimpling of the skin to some extent, so let’s embrace that. There is nothing wrong with you and there is nothing to fix.
Let’s feel good about feeling good about ourselves. Celebrate the wins of daily exercise and feeding your body the food that will help it to thrive, and shift focus away from what makes you seemingly less than. Easier said than done, of course, but even if we’re just 1% better today than we were yesterday, we’re already winning.