Adiposis edematosa. Dermopanniculosis deformans. Cellulite. No matter what you call it, cellulite is a condition that almost every woman will deal with in her lifetime. Don’t believe me? Dermatologists estimate that up to 90% of women encounter cellulite at some point in their lives.
While cellulite isn’t harmful physically, it can be seriously tough on your self confidence. I can’t count how many times I’ve put on a pair of shorts, only to turn around in the mirror, see lumpy thighs, and immediately put on a pair of jeans. Which is silly! No person should have their attire dictated by something as frivolous as cellulite.
Let’s explore this widespread affliction and see what we can do to prevent it and deal with it after it’s appeared.
What causes cellulite?
On a biological level, cellulite is the result of fibrous connective cords that link skin to the muscle below. Fat cells lie between the skin and the muscle, creating a visibly uneven surface when they accumulate to higher volumes.
Essentially, the theories behind what causes this can be divided into two camps. The first includes factors that can’t be altered: genes and hormones. The second involves more environmental factors that are addressable through lifestyle changes.
Causes Out of Our Control
- Hormones. Some medical professionals believe hormones like estrogen, thyroid hormones, noradrenaline, prolactin, and insulin play parts in the process of cellulite production.
- Genes. The genes you’re born with can put you at a propensity to developing cellulite. Things like gender, race, circulatory insufficiency, and distribution of fat below the skin all contribute to developing cellulite.
Causes In Our Control
- Lifestyle/Exercise. Those who are sedentary (i.e. sit or stand in one position for long periods of time) are more likely to experience cellulite. And if all of the other reasons to not smoke weren’t enough, cellulite has been shown to be more prevalent in smokers.
- Diet. While weight isn’t a direct cause of cellulite, the foods you eat can be contributing factors. Diets with too much salt, carbs, and fat are shown to lead to greater amounts of cellulite.
- Clothing. Some medical professionals link cellulite with insufficient blood flow. Making clothing items that cling to the skin, like leggings and underwear, contribute to cellulite formation.
Can you prevent cellulite?
The methods to prevent cellulite are actually really great lifestyle approaches in general. It’s the usual line up of tips: eating healthy, exercising regularly, and reducing stress. Some prevention tips unique to cellulite include wearing looser fitting undergarments and clothing in order to prevent any cellulite that may appear due to restricted blood flow.
But like we talked about earlier, cellulite can be caused by factors totally outside of your control. Which takes prevention off of the table as an option. So, most of us are left to deal with cellulite after it appears.
What can you do to deal with cellulite?
You don’t have to live with cellulite, there are courses of action you can take to minimize and virtually eliminate its appearance. There are treatments and procedures with scientific proof at your disposal. Here’s what the Mayo Clinic recommends:
- Weight Loss. Losing weight is the best approach to treating cellulite. While it won’t eliminate it completely, it’s likely that cellulite will be much less noticeable after dropping pounds.
- Laser and Radio-frequency Treatments. A slew of radio-frequency technologies, infrared light, and diode laser treatments exist that improve the appearance of cellulite after several treatments. These results aren’t permanent, though, lasting on average six months.
- Retinol Topical Treatments. Creams and lotions can get a bad rep regarding their actual efficacy. However, applying cream with 0.3% retinol two times a day has been shown to improve the appearance of cellulite after six months of use.
Naturally, for every single cellulite treatment that is effective, there are thousands that promise the moon but don’t deliver. You’ve probably seen at least one of these treatments advertised online, but it’s essential that you know that none of them have been proven effective in improving the appearance of cellulite.
- Creams. You’ll see tons of creams claiming to be the cellulite silver-bullet. Look out for those touting herbal extracts, vitamins, and minerals. As we’ve said before, the only ingredient in topical creams or gels that’s been proven effective is retinol.
- Massage. Based on the connection that poor circulation contributes to cellulite, massage techniques claim to increase blood flow and remove excess fluid in areas that you’re seeing cellulite. You may see initial improvement in overall appearance after massage techniques, but these results are almost always short-lived.
- Mesotherapy. If the technique involves an injection of a hormone and herbal extract cocktail, you can be pretty sure it’s not the way to go. Instead of helping minimize the appearance of cellulite, these injections can actually cause skin infections, rashes, and more bumpy lumps on your skin.
The bottom line is that almost every single woman on this earth has or has had cellulite. We’ve talked about all sorts of solutions, which vary in type and price. But the best way to both prevent AND deal with cellulite after it appears is a healthy diet and regular exercise. This is easier said than done, right? When starting from scratch, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out the best nutrition or exercise practices. I won’t even get into the lack of motivation…
I wanted to address all of these issues when I created the IdealShape Up Challenge. The challenge offers 12 weeks of 20 minute workouts and nutrition ideas that make living a healthy lifestyle easier than before. Whether you are dealing with cellulite or loose skin during your weight loss journey, the best (and least expensive) way to attack those issues is with a healthy lifestyle change. Forget the laser treatments or expensive creams, live the life you deserve while diminishing the appearance of cellulite. It’s time to take back control of your body and challenge yourself in the meantime!