Cellulite; it is the bane of most women’s lives but around 60% of us have it somewhere on our bodies, even the most skinny of cat walk models. So what causes it and more importantly, what can you do to get rid of it? Cellulite is basically a collection of fat, water and lymphatic fluid trapped in between strong collagen fibres that lay under the skin. The problem occurs when the connective tissue becomes weakened, you then get small pockets of fat and fluid which push through towards the surface of the skin and become much more visible.
You can usually see cellulite on thighs and the bottom, but it can also appear on the calves, ankles, stomach, and upper arms. Women seem to suffer from cellulite more than men as the collagen fibres appear to weaken with age, and research has shown that it is possibly the female sex hormones that play a role in this. So is there anything you can do to get rid of it? It is impossible to get rid of all cellulite but there are ways to minimise its appearance.
There are many cellulite creams on the market that claim to target anything from changing your genes to the behavioural causes of cellulite. Most creams however will only ever smooth out the surface of your skin so be wary of any outrageous claims and do not be tempted in paying over the odds. Creams are a good idea if you have sorted out your diet, are getting regular exercise and are drinking enough fluids.
Then massaging in a cream will enhance all this good work and can be the ‘icing on the cake’ that improves the appearance of your skin. Most creams work in a couple of ways – firstly, they plump the skin with moisture for a smoother look and secondly, many contain caffeine which will work to stimulate blood flow to the skin surface and can help flush out excess fluids. You can get the same effect however by massaging in normal body lotion or E45 cream.
As previously stated, cellulite is a combination of water and visible fat cells, so if you are carrying a little extra weight it makes sense to lose a few pounds to make the cellulite less noticeable. Try to lose the weight gradually and do not crash diet as this will make the cellulite look worse. Aim for a healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, chicken, fish, beans, fat-free dairy products and wholegrains, with moderate amounts of lean red meat, eggs, nuts and olive oil. Your weight loss target should be only 1 – 2lbs a week. According to research, giving up caffeine and processed foods are also advised by dermatologists.
Dry body brushing is a great way to stimulate the body’s natural lymphatic system and is the gold standard used by cat walk models to get rid of the unsightly orange peel effects. Whilst you have to dedicate yourself to doing it daily, it is one of the few things that actually work and you will get gorgeous smooth, glowing and dimple-free skin afterwards. You should use a firm body brush on your dry skin before your shower and brush in long strokes, always working towards the heart.
Adding tone and muscle to your legs and arms is one good way to decrease the effects of cellulite. It supports the skin structure from the inside which in turn makes it look firmer. Secondly, any exercise will improve the circulation and boost your metabolism and lympathic drainage in the body, meaning that the cells will hold less water. Aim for a regular mix of resistance-training (toning) exercises and cardio work (the type that gets your heart beat racing).