“Cellulite” is a skin condition that gives the appearance of small bumps and ripples under the skin. The bumps are caused by the underlying fat cells growing too large and stretching the natural fiber compartments that hold the skin to the underlying layers of tissues.
"Cellulite" is ordinary fat, but ordinary fat that affects the appearance of the skin. Strands of fibrous collagen tissue connect the skin to the subcutaneous layers and also separate compartments that contain fat cells. When fat cells increase in size, these compartments bulge and produce a rippled appearance of the skin.
Women tend to have cellulite more often than men because they have a vertical pattern of collagen in the underlying layer that holds the fat cells, and when the fat cells become very large, they bulge out of the chambers and appear as cellulite.
In men, the pattern of collagen is tighter, in a diagonal pattern, and they have thicker skin, so there is less bulging of the individual fat cells. Another factor in cellulite is high levels of estrogen, since this hormone has a direct effect on the holding capacity of fat cells through the increase of alpha-adrenoreceptors, the chemical doorways that tell your fat cells to hold on to their contents. Poor diet, bad circulation, and poor lymphatic circulation can all contribute to the appearance of cellulite.
Treating skin with cellulite
There are several extra steps you can take for the treatment of cellulite. Consider your skin care regimen, and fine-tune it to meet the needs of skin that has a tendency to swell with fluids, store fat and have poor circulation.
Although cellulite is a skin condition, it’s closely tied to the storage of excess fat. If you are significantly overweight, you should certainly alter your diet. The dietary enzyme bromelain can improve overall circulation to your skin and adipose tissues by removing the buildup of fibrin on the walls of blood vessels. Treating cellulite requires a two-pronged approach – one being the shrinking of the fat cells themselves, the second being the regeneration of collagen and strengthening of the skin outside of the swollen fat cells.
When cleaning your skin, use your wash cloth or loufah to massage the area where cellulite occurs. At first, use a circular motion and then a brushing motion upwards towards the bowels. This will improve circulation and edema, and help remove toxins and metabolic wastes out of the tissues and interstitial spaces around the collagen and fat cells.
- Dry Skin Brushing
Learn to dry brush your skin at least twice every day – upon rising and before going to bed. Skin brushing provides many benefits in the treatment of cellulite. First of all, it’s “exercise” for your skin, and strengthens the underlying dermis and pattern of collagen in the subcutaneous layer. It stimulates the growth and repair of the tissues by increasing blood flow to the area. It also helps remove toxins and metabolic wastes out of the interstitial fluids surrounding the tissues for disposal. Dry brushing is good for you skin all over, but if you are suffering from spider or varicose veins, brushing these areas vigorously several times every day, first in a circular motion and then upwards towards the colon, can improve the appearance of cellulite.
Cellulite is often associated with the use of HRT and birth control pills. High levels of estrogen from these medications can cause an increase in the fatty tissues ability to store fats and cause them to bulge, pushing out the skin and causing cellulite. If you are using birth control pills for contraception, you may want to ask your doctor for a lower-estrogen dose formula or a non-hormonal form, such as an IUD. If you are on HRT, you may want to consider switching to a lower dose, adding progesterone cream, or using a weaker formula, such as an estrone cream.
Get out of the habit of crossing your legs, knees and ankles. This reduces circulation and increases swelling. Try to keep moving regularly, neither sitting nor standing for long periods.
Regular exercise is necessary for the improvement of cellulite. Not only does it help reduce the appearance of cellulite by burning the fatty acids that are causing the cellulite. It also improves circulation and helps to remove toxin-filled wastes away from the skin. Take up a walking program, or sneaking in a set of exercises in the restroom during breaks.
- Body Wraps
Body wraps, both professional and homemade can improve the appearance of cellulite. Body wraps use a combination of minerals and herbs that stimulate the fat cells to release their contents, they absorb toxins from the skin and reduce swelling. Generally you will find stimulant herbs like kelp or algae that stimulate the fat burning process in the cells. You will find cosmetic clays that will remove toxins and wastes from the pores, and horsetail and horse chestnut that reduce edema (swelling) and provide minerals for strengthening the skin. These formulas are applied to the skin with the use of compression wraps. For recipes for doing home wraps, go to the Botanical Beauty Lab website.
Massage, particularly the kind that improves lymph flow, is very good for reducing the appearance of cellulite. It improves the removal of metabolic wastes and toxins from the interstitial tissues around the adipose tissues, and gives the skin a smoother appearance. There are many professionals offering massage for cellulite, including lymphatic massage and endermology, but if that is out of your budget, you may want to try a home massage device. Many are available, from a simple round-prong hand tool to a powered massager that provides heat, massage and suction similar to the professional endermology machines.