What Exactly Is Cellulite and What Causes It To Appear

Cellulite is a condition where the fat under the skin does not match the contour of the skin which causes it to often resemble an affect of noodles or the skin of an orange. It’s not a medical condition. It’s just something that seems to mainly be a concern in women but it can be cosmetically unattractive.

It has been estimated that at least 90% of women suffer from cellulite to some degree, and that it has a hormonal connection. Estrogen seems to aggravate the condition, but other hormones like insulin, adrenaline, noradrenaline, prolactin, and thyroid hormone may also be implicated. Some people may be more predisposed genetically towards developing cellulite than others. It is possible for men  to suffer from this condition, but  it’s not common to do so because of the hormonal differences and also differences in the structure of the connective tissue in the areas just under the skin.

Cellulite can occur in various parts of the body, but is most often found in the thighs and buttocks, followed by the hips, stomach, and upper arms.

What Causes Cellulite?

Cellulite develops when the skin’s sub-structure changes, often due to a combination of age and other factors. There is normally a mesh of fibrous connective tissue under the skin which helps to keep fat cells tightly packed together in compartments, and to give support to the overlying skin. When cellulite develops, the septet, or strands in the walls of the fibrous components, can become thickened, suggesting a patchy effect that is further exaggerated by the thinning of the skin surface and the pushing up of fat cells into lumps or nodules.

The process of cellulite development is complex but involves impairment of blood flow or lymphatic flow or both. This leads to poor nutrition of tissue cells, and retention of fluid from inadequate lymphatic drainage. The situation tends to get gradually worse from increased pressure on small capillaries, further restricting blood flow, and the accumulation of toxins due to inadequate lymph activity.

Factors that may lead to, or aggravate cellulite:

Poor diet – too much carbohydrate tends to cause increased general fat deposition in the body and increased likelihood of cellulite.

Aging – as we get older our skin tends to get thinner, and subcutaneous connective tissue can thicken and harden, increasing susceptibility to cellulite.

Poor circulation – this may be inherited, or may be due to a sedentary lifestyle and inadequate exercise

Smoking – damages the connective supporting tissues of the skin, reducing collagen, and accentuates the appearance of cellulite.

Lack of hydration – adequate water intake on a daily basis is important to help plump up the skin

Stress – too much stress increases the output of hormones like adrenaline, adding to the likelihood of cellulite.

Medication – some diet pills and diuretics can aggravate the situation. The birth control pill will cause high levels of estrogen in the body, increasing the likelihood of cellulite.

Crash diets – may tend to cause the body’s systems to be upset and lead to redistribution of fats.

Wearing tight undergarments – can restrict lymphatic flow in the hips and thigh region.

Constipation – A poorly functioning digestive system may cause a build-up of toxins.

There may be several of the above factors operating together to cause cellulite to develop in addition to a genetic predisposition. Whilst there is nothing that can be done to alter your genetic make-up, there are several factors on the list that can be reduced in their effect by awareness and suitable lifestyle changes.