In other words, what exactly is cellulite?
The dimpled, lumpy appearance of fat deposits on the thighs, hips, buttocks, and abdomen is known as cellulite. It’s not restricted to the face and neck; the arms and breasts are also fair game. Dendy Engelman, MD, of Manhattan Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery in New York City, defines cellulite as “enlarged packets of body fat deep beneath the skin pushed against the vertical connective tissue that surrounds fat cells.” “When adipose tissue expands, it squeezes the subcutaneous space and strains the connective tissue. The dimples are caused by the fat being compressed against the skin’s surface. Our skin care experts lay out the facts you need to know before trying the latest, often unproven, cellulite treatment. (This is the worst piece of advice regarding skin care that dermatologists hear.)
Cellulite is a problem that affects nearly every woman.
Cellulite is extremely prevalent, with 93% of women experiencing it, according to Dr. Engelman. “The first thing women with cellulite need to know is that they’re not alone,” says Bruce Katz, MD, medical director of JUVA Skin & Laser Center in New York City. All but a tiny minority of women are free of those dreaded localized fat deposits.
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It’s important to remember that cellulite isn’t harmful or even a disease.
Cellulite is a completely normal and benign condition, despite the fact that we may not like the way it looks. Tanya Kormeili, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in private practice in Santa Monica, states, “Cellulite is not the disease the media would have us think.” Cellulite doesn’t hurt, and it doesn’t have any other negative effects on your physical health, according to the Cleveland Clinic. (This is the information dermatologists withhold about anti-aging treatments.)
Exercise can help reduce cellulite, which is one of the 11 biggest myths about cellulite that you should stop believing.
The accumulation of extra fat can exacerbate the appearance of cellulite because, well, cellulite is fat. Dr. Engelman says that working out and building muscle can help reduce cellulite. The key to reducing cellulite, according to Dr. Katz: “Generally, the key is weight loss combined with muscle building.” Cellulite is caused by subcutaneous fat pushing against the skin, but beneath that layer is a layer of muscle. When the muscle is relaxed, the skin should follow suit. Workouts that focus on leg lifts, squats, and lunges tend to be most effective because most women carry cellulite in their thighs and buttocks. According to Dr. Katz, most women won’t be satisfied with a reduction in cellulite from just making lifestyle changes. There are noninvasive options available for treating cellulite that involve minimal recovery time.
The appearance of cellulite may also be influenced by one’s diet.
Eating well benefits the body in many ways, and it may also help minimize cellulite. Dr. Katz says that antioxidants and omega-3s can be a woman’s best friend in the fight against cellulite by assisting in the breakdown of fat cells and the strengthening of skin and connective tissue, respectively. Flaxseed, dark berries, and salmon are some of the foods I recommend. In addition, many female patients are relieved to hear that chocolate consumption is not discouraged. Given that natural cocoa is a rich source of antioxidants, eating dark chocolate as part of an anti-cellulite diet is a great idea. (These are the skin care regiments that dermatologists swear by.)
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Many cases of cellulite can be traced back to inherited factors (women of any size can have cellulite)
Whatever the size or shape of a woman, her mother, sisters, and aunts are more likely than not to share that trait. One of the most common misconceptions about cellulite, according to Dr. Katz, is that weight loss alone can get rid of it. Women who have completed marathons or triathlons and still suffer from cellulite are no strangers to me and my treatment methods. I had a patient who had completed the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii four times, but she still wanted me to work on her cellulite. Dr. Engelman agrees: “Cellulite is genetic, so while weight can influence the presence of cellulite, even the thinnest women can have it.”
Cellulite is uncommon on men because of how their skin is built.
On the other hand, cellulite is extremely uncommon in men; the Cleveland Clinic estimates that only 10% of men experience its effects.
This is because a woman’s connective tissue is more malleable, most likely as a result of the extreme stretching required to accommodate a developing foetus. Imagine a pair of fishnet pantyhose; this is how women’s skin is covered, in contrast to men’s skin, which is more like a pair of thick, uniform pantyhose that keeps all the fat in place and doesn’t allow as much herniation. This is a problem with the female anatomy. This is not our fault! Biology! Dr. Kormeili explains that cellulite develops because the “holes” in the fishnet become more porous with age or hormones. Unless they penetrate the skin deeply and mend the fishnet into a thick pair of pantyhose, she argues, “cellulite creams and fads can’t really correct cellulite.”
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Keep away from expensive “miracle” cellulite treatments
We’ve all heard about the miraculous anti-cellulite creams and potions, but are they really worth the steep price tags? The long-term effectiveness and true efficacy of treatments that claim to reduce the appearance of cellulite remain to be studied. Dr. Kormeili urges his patients not to waste their money on products that “promise” results but fail to deliver. There are a number of effective treatments for cellulite, but they all require a doctor’s supervision, so if it’s an issue for you, it’s best to consult with one. (Here are a few other high-priced items that dermatologists would prefer you to give up.)
Caffeine has been shown to have a positive effect on skin texture.
When used regularly, “most cellulite-fighting creams contain caffeine as their active ingredient,” says Dr. Engelman. The short-term effects of caffeine on the body last longer than expected and can be felt for up to a full day. Fat cells are shrunk due to a dehydration effect. Applying these creams with a vigorous massage or rolling motion, as recommended by Dr. Engelman, will help them penetrate deeper into the skin and produce better results. (That’s why reducing the appearance of cellulite is such a challenge.)
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8 Things Dermatologists Wish Women Knew About Cellulite originally appeared on The Healthy.
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