Cellulite Is Normal: Your Guide To Understanding And Treating It
5 minutes read
Cellulite affects up to 98% of women- almost all of us. So why are we so anxious about something so common? People of all weights, shapes, sizes, gender and ethnicities have it – yes, even supermodels sport it. Let’s get to the naked truth about these dimples.
While cellulite skin won’t jeopardise your physical health, it can have a serious impact on your well-being and mental health. One in 10 women said they had self-harmed or deliberately hurt themselves because of their body image.
Fortunately, famous female personalities and influencers are taking a stand in the name of body positivity, which has encouraged empowering images highlighting cellulite skin as an everyday occurrence. As soon as you see unretouched photos of ‘real’ legs, bums, tums and arms – it puts your body into perspective, and you should view it for all its glory.
Here, we spoke to an expert about the causes of cellulite, the misconceptions around it and why it shouldn’t be a source of shame.
When did cellulite become a feminine problem?
If almost all women have it, why is it a source of concern rather than a cause for celebration? Dimpled or bumpy skin has always existed and never had a name. In fact, for centuries, it was celebrated as a sign of voluptuous femininity.
It was not until 1873 that it was officially named – cellulite. Later in 1933, it was coined as a ‘feminine problem.’ That’s when the obsession began.
What is cellulite and what causes it?
Cellulite – also known as orange-peel skin or cottage-cheese skin -is the lumpy look of the skin due to fat cells build-up. It can be quite visible in thighs, busts, bum, hips, arms, and belly and affects more women than men due to fat, muscle, and connective tissue distribution.
Charlotte McHale, Clarins Training Manager says, “Cellulite has little to do with being overweight. I think that is the biggest misconception that should be debunked right away.”
Adding, “Cellulite is more a matter of the distribution of fat cells beneath the skin and the way they push up through the mesh of collagen fibres. This creates an uneven surface or dimpling in the surface of the skin. The appearance of cellulite differs from person to person.”
Women have less supportive connective tissue than men. Medical experts explain women have larger fat lobules with fewer collagen to keep them in place and a weaker dermis.
In addition, women’s monthly cycle gradually breaks down the connective tissue via enzymes called metalloproteinases (MMPs); the end result both contributes to the appearance of cellulite.
How do you get cellulite?
Hormones and genetics play a major role in the development and appearance of cellulite. If cellulite runs in your family, you’re most likely to develop it too.
As women age, estrogen decreases, which means poorer blood circulation to the connective tissue (such as collagen and elastic) under the skin. This is the reason why cellulite is also common with ageing.
In addition, a sluggish and sedentary lifestyle results in poor circulation of blood. Let’s get something straight: exercise can’t cure cellulite, but it can help prevent or reduce its appearance. Unfortunately, being a fitness freak won’t guarantee a cellulite-free life.
A clinical study also explains that cellulite formation accelerates during adolescence, pregnancy or in women around the menopausal age and affects women over 20 years of age.
Ways to treat cellulite
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having cellulite skin, celebrating it, or on the flip side, even wanting to treat it. It’s your body.
However, if you want to work on smoothing the texture of your cellulite skin, add anti-cellulite products to your daily beauty routine.
McHale says, “Body Fit’s key ingredient is called ‘quince leaf extract,’ which has a stimulating effect on the deeper layers of the skin. This plant extract targets the three types of adipocytes and helps limit fat storage, promotes burning and reduces the action of the fibre producing cells.”
What the quince leaf extract does is:
- Promotes lipolytic activity in fat-storing adipocytes
- Increases the activity of “burning” adipocytes and;
- Condition the “fibre-producing” adipocytes to effectively boost the collagen 6 to fight against the stiffening of the elastic fibres.
A proper application method must be followed for best results. Clarins skincare experts recommend a self-massage body contouring application method using the contouring product:
- Warm the product up in your hands and then massage upwards in a sweeping movement. Smooth from ankles, work up to your hips and bottom.
- For the tummy area, do a paw-like clenched fist and, using a deep tissue firm massage, stroke towards the heart. By doing so, you are stimulating the body’s natural lymphatic drainage.
However, it does need to be more than a quick slather, rub and go once a week for the products to work.
McHale reminds us of the regimen: “Regular use will ensure you see results; use daily and you’ll reap the benefits.”
Learn to be kinder to yourself and the people around you
Picking around other people’s appearance and pointing out their imperfections like cellulite skin can cost them paranoia and sleepless nights.
Experts suggest practising and cultivating self-love and self-compassion. A negative inner dialogue will prevent you from having a positive, happy life.
Moreover, no one has a magnifying glass looking at all your flaws all the time.
All bodies are good bodies whether or not they conform to standardised images of beauty. So let’s focus our energy on accepting our bodies – doing what makes us happy with them – respecting and lifting each other. Life is too precious to worry about something so ordinary and meaningless as cellulite.
Remember: Cellulite is just skin – and you should enjoy the skin you’re in.
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