I always like to think that in order to wage war effectively, you need to know your enemy. Cellulite is no different. If you want to reduce the appearance of your cellulite, it’s best to understand what you’re dealing with first.
Cellulite is caused when fat cells poke through weaker parts of connective tissue in our skin, effectively causing a tiny hernia of fat. It describes the ‘orange peel’ effect on your skin which has a pitted appearance, showing off fat deposits just under the skin. It is most frequently found on your thighs and bottom, but can also be found on your hips, stomach and even upper arms. There are varying degrees of cellulite too – some people only find it visible if you pinch an area of skin together whereas others find it is visible all of the time.
Let’s start off by saying that you are not alone – 80-90% of women have cellulite. In other words there is nothing wrong with you if you have cellulite, you are perfectly normal.
There seems to be a hormonal component to the underlying cause of cellulite, although scientists still aren’t entirely sure how this works. Men also sometimes get cellulite but this is generally only thought to happen if they have higher levels of oestrogen in their body. Another explanation for the differences in cellulite between men and women might simply be because men’s skin is thicker and doesn’t show cellulite as much.
However, we can’t just blame our cellulite on our gender and our hormones as there are other factors which can also play a role. These include:
– Genetics – you may simply be prone to cellulite, as were the generations of women before you.
– Dieting too hard or too fast – fast weight gain and loss can loosen the skin and make cellulite more obvious in appearance.
– Eating the wrong diet – too much fat, carbohydrates or salt or too little fibre in your diet seems to increase your chances of getting cellulite.
– Lifestyle factors – smokers, people who don’t exercise and people who live a sedentary lifestyle may also have increased risk of getting cellulite.
– Ageing – as you age, the collagen and elastin in your skin are reduced which means that your skin isn’t quite as taut and your cellulite becomes more visible.
There is a school of thought that says you can never eliminate cellulite as it is impossible to break down the fatty deposits underneath your skin and re-strengthen the connective tissue. There is some scientific support for this too as it is very hard to rebuild collagen and elastin in the skin once they have been affected by ageing. No products are known to replenish collagen and elastin in our skin, but some ingredients are known to stimulate their production, such as Vitamin C or retinoids.
Nonetheless, even if you can’t fully get rid of it, there are certain things you can try at home to improve the overall appearance of your cellulite. In this 5-part series we’re going to look at some DIY recipes and treatments for you to try.
Make sure you check in soon for part 2 where we’ll be looking in more detailed at body brushing!
About our DIY beauty solutions editor:
Lorraine Dallmeier runs Herb & Hedgerow, an artisan herbal beauty business based in Dorset, UK. She writes for the HerbBlurb blog about herbs for beauty and the science of natural skincare. Herb & Hedgerow sells BeautyCraft app for iPhone – a beautifully illustrated recipe book with dozens of DIY natural beauty recipes. BeautyCraft has been sold in over 50 countries around the world.