Often going by names like ‘orange-peel skin’, ‘hail damage’ or even ‘cottage cheese skin’, Cellulite, as it is most commonly called, is a degeneration of subcutaneous adipose tissue causing skin to gain a dimpled appearance. It becomes noticeable when underlying adipose tissue pushes through layers of the skin’s connective tissue, or collagen fibers, resulting in a dimpled skin.
Cellulite mostly affects the area around the thighs, buttocks and hips, as these are the areas where adipose tissue is deposited in the largest amounts. Unfortunately it is more commonly found in women than men, as more than 80% of women, regardless of their size, will be affected at some point in their lives. This is due to a few reasons:
Firstly, the connective tissue in men has a crossed linked appearance which can better hold in fat. Connective tissue in women, on the other hand, has more of a picket fence appearance and is not as strong when holding back excess fat.
Secondly, hormones play a massive role when it comes to cellulite. High estrogen levels enlarge fat cells, in turn enhancing the visibility, where as a decline in estrogen levels leads to a decrease in blood circulation which has a negative effect on collagen production.
Cellulite is found in all body shapes and sizes, although being overweight can make the appearance of cellulite more visible due to the excess fat that places more strain on the connective tissue.
The severity scale of cellulite can be placed into 4 different grades:
Grade 1: No visible cellulite, even when the skin is pinched.
Grade 2: Orange-peel like texture which will only appear when the skin is pinched together, not normally visible when standing.
Grade 3: Lumps and bumps are only visible when standing.
Grade 4: Cellulite is visible even when lying down, with deep structures in the skin. These lumps can be painful and is also known as hard cellulite.
Before targeting cellulite, there are a few contributing factors to be aware of that can have an impact on the severity of cellulite.
The impacts of diet
The impact of a bad diet with an excessive intake of fats and salts can worsen the appearance while high sugar intake can cause hormonal imbalances which can also lead to enlarge fat cells.
Smoking increases the risk of cellulite build-up
If you are a smoker then you may increase your risks of cellulite build up as smoking reduces blood vessel flow leading to weakened collagen fibers and making underlying fat more visible.
Positive impact of excersice
Whilst not a cure for cellulite, exercise helps improve cellulite appearance by firming and tightening the muscles of the affected area, the appearance will become less noticeable. Exercise also improves circulation allowing for improved removal of fatty waste products and strengthened collagen fibers.
When it comes to the treatment of this skin condition, there are three focus points to always keep in mind
- Collagen production needs to be addressed
- Fatty deposits need to be reduced
- Blood circulation needs to be improved
Various in-clinic treatments targeting cellulite are available for consideration as follows:
- Carboxy therapy involves injecting CO2 underneath the skin to break down fat while stimulating collagen.
- Cryolipolysis is a more medical noninvasive procedure where fat cells are frozen, causing them to rupture. The resulting ‘fluid’ is worked out of the body via natural bodily excretion.
- Laser treatment heats up the fat to assist with the breakdown.