Nine of every 10 women are concerned about the orange peel, lumpy and dimpling appearance on their skin. Cellulite is considered a very common skin occurrence, especially among women, and as such many dismiss this skin imperfection as a normal part of being a woman and as part of life. Despite this often pessimistic attitude however, lies the hope that cellulite can be minimized, if not totally eliminated. In my Free 6 Module Guide, I provide a detailed practical course on how to get rid of cellulite.
Thanks to recent advances in science, as well as the renewed understanding of what really constitutes cellulite including how it is formed and how it can be prevented, experts are now more optimistic than ever. The sense of renewed hope stems from the fact that cellulite can be effectively reduced. What is more promising is that many of the world’s best anti-cellulite substances can actually be found in Mother Nature itself and not from within the laboratories. Science has allowed the discovery of natural ingredients, long been used by other cultures for different purposes, that are now considered as naturally effective ingredients to help in the fight against cellulite.
While cellulite has been largely considered by members of the medical community as merely fat, recent evidence now suggests that it is more than simple fat. Dr. Diana Howard, in her article "What is Cellulite?", mentioned that cellulite can also be found among physically active, non-overweight women. Additionally, Dr. Howard mentioned that among the 80 to 90 percent of women who have cellulite, not everyone is fat or obese.
This simply goes to show that any woman can potentially develop cellulite. However, this does not ignore the fact that something can be done to either reduce the risk or even totally eliminate its potential occurrence. With the scientific community providing an endless search for the correct answers, mankind may well see the day when cellulite can be considered a thing of the past.
Nonetheless, what you can do now is gain a better understanding of where cellulite appears, why it appears on these areas and what you can do about it!
Where Does Cellulite Appear?
Dr. Ilja Kruglikov said in an article published in the Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, that there are three fundamental theories that can help explain why cellulite appears in certain parts of the body and not elsewhere. Dr. Kruglikov believes that regional fat deposits play an important role in the appearance of cellulite in certain body parts. These regional fat deposits are primarily composed of homogenous populations of fat cells or adipocytes. It is for this reason that cellulite is almost always found on the region of the thighs, the legs, the buttocks, the abdomen and the arms.
In addition to the formation of cellulite in these areas secondary to regional fat deposits, Dr. Kruglikov also believes that the low water and collagen content of the fat tissues found in these areas make them substantially more susceptible to cellulite formation. The last theory that can help explain the occurrence of regional fat deposits is related to the absence of adipocytes turnover in the adult population. What this simply means is that the fat that you once had as a child will simply never go away. It may shrink in size, and is actually what happens in weight loss initiatives. According to Dr. Kirsty Spalding and her team of researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, the number of fat cells fully developed by adolescence remains constant throughout adulthood. This means that even after marked weight loss, the number of adipocytes remain the same. However, this does not mean that there is no change in size. With weight loss, the size of the fat cells naturally shrinks despite the number remaining constant.
Cellulite occurs in the thighs, legs, buttocks, abdomen and arms because the regional fat deposits are greater in these areas. Fat grows in these areas because of low water and collagen content brought about by the fatty deposition gained during adolescence.
Why Does Cellulite Appear on the Thighs?
Certain parts of the body are genetically programmed to store particular kinds of fat cells. The number of these fat cells grow, up until the time that you reach your teenage years. By this time, whatever number of fat cells you have will remain with you for life. Nonetheless, you can somehow change the way they either shrink or expand. Additionally, adipocytes contain too little water and collagen. But this does not mean there is no collagen nor water in the tissues surrounding the adipocytes.
Dr. Ilja Kruglikov says that cellulite most often appears in the thighs because of the disproportionately bigger size of the fat cells, adipocytes, compared to other body parts. In her study, Dr. Kruglikov mentions that the fat cells found in the thighs are more prone to undergo fibrosis. This simply means that the connective tissue found in the thigh region become thick and undergoes scarring, which makes them very inflexible and more prone to breakage.
When collagen connective tissues break, the underlying adipocytes undergo a similar change in structure, often growing in size and morphology in a process known as hypertrophy. These oversized fat cells push well into the broken matrix of collagen connective tissue network to produce the dimpled or lumpy appearance that everyone knows as cellulite.
Dr. Diana Howard published an article in The International Dermal Institute saying that cellulite is brought about by the breakdown of connective tissue fibers. However, Dr. Howard added that this breakdown is often the result of poor blood and lymph circulation. She also mentioned that the accumulation of toxins and the retention of fluid can contribute to the development of cellulite. The behavior and habits of most women crossing their legs while seated can grossly affect the efficient flow of blood and lymph in the legs and thighs. Dr. James Beckerman reviewed an article published on WebMD saying that physical inactivity, smoking, obesity and high blood pressure can all lead to reduced lymph and blood circulation in the thighs and legs.
This suggests that women who are sedentary, or who remain upright in a standing position for most of the day, can lead to circulatory problems. Sitting with your legs crossed exerts pressure on the superficial veins and the lymph vessels on your legs. This blocks the effective removal of toxins from the regional fat deposits in the thighs leading to the formation of cellulite. Additionally, as Dr. Howard suggested, blocking the flow of lymph can lead to fluid retention which can significantly worsen the lumpy and dimpled appearance of cellulite on the thighs as well as the legs. This is not to mention the impact of obesity on circulation. Dr. George Krucik made an article review on Healthline, which further corroborates the relationship between obesity and poor circulation. Dr. Krucik said that obesity puts unwanted burden on your body. And since the feet, legs, and thighs are primarily what supports the whole trunk or body, much of the body weight is distributed in the lower regions of the body. Additionally, Dr. Krucik commented that sitting and/or standing for prolonged periods of time can all lead to circulatory problems in the legs and thighs.
To sum it up, cellulite frequently appears on the thighs and legs because the fat deposits are structured differently compared to other body parts. These adipocytes undergo fibrosis because of poor blood and lymph circulation in the thighs and legs. This leads to the abnormal accumulation of fluid and the build-up of toxins. All in all, this produces the cellulite that is often seen in the thighs and legs.
How to Get Rid of Cellulite on the Thighs and Legs
The major problem of cellulite on the thighs and legs is closely related to poor circulation, both of the blood and of the lymph. This produces an accumulation of both fluid and toxic wastes leading to fibrotic changes in the connective tissues. Since the major culprit is in blood and lymph circulation as well as the abnormal deposition of fat, getting rid of cellulite on the thighs and legs must be directed towards the management of these circulatory and adipocyte hypertrophy changes.
Drs. Michael H. Gold, Khalil A. Khatri, Kelley Hails, Robert A. Weiss, and Nathalie Fournier published an article on the Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy showing that massage, in addition to low-level laser energy therapy, can significantly reduce the circumference of the thigh and improve the appearance of cellulite. Dr. Mathew M. Avram also said that cellulite can be managed using physical and mechanical methods as well as managing the different aggravating factors of cellulite, namely obesity, physical inactivity and poor blood and lymph circulation.
Drs. Neil S. Sadick and R. Stephen Mulholland also suggested the use of subcutaneous heating of the cellulite in order to help facilitate its removal or, at least, improve cellulite’s orange peel, dimpled, and lumpy appearance, especially on the thighs and legs.
It is clear that you do not need medications to burn those fatty deposits found on your thighs and legs. What is important however is a combination of all-natural therapies: A change in diet, change in lifestyle and increased physical activity.
For the most part, massage has been proven by science to be an effective form of anti-cellulite management. Massage improves the overall circulation of both lymph and blood in the thighs and legs. This facilitates the removal or elimination of both fluid and toxins that may have accumulated because of the different cellular processes involved. Massage also helps relax the muscles in the thigh and leg region so that these structures do not necessarily impede the more efficient flow of both blood and lymph.
When heat is added in the massage session, the cellulite-eliminating effects of massage can be dramatically increased. Heat naturally dilates blood vessels as well as lymph vessels. This allows them to carry more blood and lymph to make the removal of toxins and excess fluid more efficient. Drs. Sadick and Mulholland suggest that heating the subcutaneous tissue tends to damage the fat cells underneath the skin. The destruction of fat cells are then removed by the circulatory and lymphatic system of the body. It is for this reason that heat application and massage are both considered to be effective ways of removing cellulite particularly on the thighs and legs. Body wraps followed by heated massage can therefore be very effective.
Body wraps use substances or natural ingredients that are known to stimulate both the lymphatic and blood circulation and the destruction of fatty deposits underneath the skin. The substances are warmed and applied onto the skin before wrapped in non-porous material to keep the heat in. The combined effects of trapped heat and the active ingredients’ stimulatory effect on the subcutaneous tissue and microcirculation are what helps in the elimination and removal of cellulite on the thighs and legs.
The second aspect of cellulite removal is in the mitigation of the effects of aggravating factors. Since poor leg circulation is attributed to cellulite formation in the thighs and legs, it is imperative that you should not stand or sit for prolonged periods of time. Walking for a few minutes can help improve the overall circulation of both blood and lymph on your legs. Additionally, scheduling some rest during work can also help. For example, if you are sitting 8 full hours a day, take time to stand and walk after every 60 minutes or so to help redistribute your body’s blood and lymph.
Losing weight will also remove the pressure off your lower extremities. It is very important to understand that the heavier you are, the greater is the pressure on your legs and thighs to carry all that weight. Additionally, this will lead to problems in lymph and blood circulation in your legs and thighs. So, including some form of physical activity will be helpful in eliminating cellulite.
Of particular importance is your stress levels. Cortisol is one of the hormones released during stressful situations. Drs. JJ Kelly, G. Mangos, PM Williamson, and JA Whitworth (source) said that cortisol is primarily responsible for the retention of fluids leading to hypertension. It is thus very important to manage your stress levels in order to avoid the risk of fluid retention. Additionally, as high blood pressure also affects the overall circulation of blood, checking your stress levels will significantly improve the flow of blood and lymph to and from your thighs and legs. So it is important that you address your lifestyle, so that you can manage and reduce the level of stress in your life.
Eating the correct type of food can also help reduce cellulite. As one of the major culprits of cellulite formation is the hypertrophic changes of fat cells, it is important not to add fat into these fat stores. As I mentioned earlier, adipocytes do not decrease nor increase in number, but they can increase or decrease in size. This happens when there is too much fat generated as a result of a poor quality diet. When fat is produced in the body, it needs to be stored somewhere. Naturally, the body will store this in the fat cells that already exist, making them enlarge – hypertrophy.
Why Does Cellulite Appear on the Buttocks?
Another area of the body that is very prone to cellulite is the buttocks. Dr. Ilja Kruglikov from Wellcomet GmbH of Karlsruhe in Germany said that cellulite commonly appears in the gluteo-femoral regions of the body primarily because of distinct regional distribution of fat deposits gained in childhood and adolescence.
Dr. Kruglikov believes that growing up as a child naturally stores fat deposits in the buttocks as a means to protect the internal structures of the body and support the upper body during sitting. Drs. Gerald E. Perard, JL Nizet, and Claudine Pierard-Franchimont published an article in the American Journal of Dermopathology saying that the progressive accumulation of fat in the buttocks and thighs coupled with the hardening of the connective tissues can greatly account for the lumpy appearance of cellulite in both the buttocks and thighs.
Unlike the legs and thighs though, the cellulite that appears on the buttocks is not necessarily affected by problems in circulation. However, Dr. Diana Howard did say that circulatory problems almost always account for problems associated with cellulite formation.
While some experts believe that the major culprit is understood to be related to the hardening of the connective tissue matrices found on the fatty deposits of the buttocks, Dr. Howard and other scientists suggest that poor circulation can contribute to these cellular changes in the buttocks. When the fat deposits are allowed to grow or hypertrophy, they tend to destroy the connective tissue network producing the lumpy appearance on the skin. With inadequate or inefficient lymph and blood circulation, the toxins and retained fluids are not eliminated from the buttocks.
How to Get Rid of Cellulite on the Buttocks
In order to eliminate cellulite on your buttocks, the application of heat as well as massage can be beneficial. In the previous section on the management of cellulite on the thighs and legs, massage has been shown to be primarily effective in facilitating a more efficient flow of both lymph and blood. This helps facilitate the removal of toxins as well as broken down fat cells or adipocytes. This leads to a reduction in the overall size of the fatty deposits leading to a reduction in the orange peel appearance.
The studies of Drs. Michael H. Gold, Khalil A. Khatri, Kelley Hails, Robert A. Weiss, and Nathalie Fournier and Dr. Mathew M. Avram are a testament to the effectiveness of mechanical or physical manipulation in the reduction of cellulite.
When heat is applied onto the buttocks with cellulite, as the study of Drs. Neil S. Sadick and R. Stephen Mulholland suggests, cellulite elimination can be further enhanced. For best results, heated body wraps can be applied followed by vigorous scrubbing of the buttocks. The scrubbing action is a form of mechanical manipulation whereby the fatty deposits that have been broken down by the heat application can be effectively removed through the blood and lymph. It is for this reason that a combination of body wraps, body scrubs, and massage can do well to help remove or reduce cellulite.
Since one of the major factors in cellulite formation is the increasing size of the adipocytes or fat cells, one way to prevent this is by increasing physical activity in order to help facilitate the burning of fat. Additionally, eating a more balanced high quality diet, preferably one that is high in protein, fruits and vegetables, is essential to in the overall process and removal of cellulite on the buttocks.
Managing your stress levels can also help. This is because of the effects of one of the stress hormones – cortisol – produced by the body. This hormone naturally favors the retention of fluids which can significantly increase the size of adipose tissue. So, as I said earlier, you should try to address your lifestyle and lower your stress levels if possible.
Why Does Cellulite Appear on the Abdomen?
Aside from the buttocks, thighs, and legs, cellulite can also appear on the abdomen. Experts suggest that this has something to do with the abdomen being a regional fat depository site. Dr. Ilja Kruglikov believes that all individuals store their fat in these regional sites – the upper arms, the abdomen, the buttocks and the legs and thighs. However, it should also be understood that there are essentially two kinds of fat in the abdomen – the one found in the subcutaneous layer of the skin and the other one is found inside within the different organs of the abdomen.
It should be understood that the inside fat deposits, known as visceral fat, are what produces the pot belly appearance seen in most men and some women. The subcutaneous fat on the abdomen, on the other hand, is what produces the cellulite.
Nonetheless, Drs. Osama Hamdy, Sriurai Porramatikul, and Ebaa Al-Ozairi (source) suggest that both visceral and subcutaneous fat can strongly affect the formation of cellulite in the abdomen. Of more serious concern is the relationship between abdominal fat and obesity-related complications such as coronary artery disease and diabetes type 2.
This suggests that the main problem in the formation of cellulite on the abdomen is not completely a result of poor circulation but rather the abnormally excessive accumulation of fat in the abdominal cavity, often in between the organs of the abdomen. Circulation to and from the abdomen is supplied by branches of the aorta and the vena cava, which are essentially the largest blood vessels in the body, so the issue about circulation is not necessarily present.
Additionally, visceral fat has been closely associated with liver problems. Dr. David van der Poorten and Dr. Kerry-Lee Milner, together with their other colleagues published a report in the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases saying that visceral fat is closely associated with liver inflammation as well as hardening of the liver cells. When the liver’s function is compromised, the body finds it more difficult to detoxify the different metabolites coming from the fatty deposits. This simply means that even if you were to remove the fat molecules from the subcutaneous tissue, the body will not be able to process this efficiently because of the problem in the liver. It just goes to show that abdominal fat poses an entirely different set of problems on top of the issues related to cellulite development.
In summary, cellulite appears on the abdomen because of the inherent nature of the abdomen as a regional storage site for adipose tissues. What aggravates this problem is the storage of fat within the abdominal cavity itself providing a steady source of fat which accumulate in the subcutaneous layer of the skin. Additionally, increasing the fat in the abdominal cavity affects the overall detoxification function of the liver. Hence, toxins remain unprocessed in the subcutaneous fatty deposits.
How to Get Rid of Cellulite on the Abdomen
Getting rid of cellulite on your abdomen is almost always similar to getting rid of it elsewhere. However, it is important to understand that while massage and heat therapy may work, the focus of treatment on the abdomen is more focused on the reduction of visceral fat.
Nonetheless, according to Drs. V. Bayracki Tunay, T. Akbayrak, Y. Bakar, H. Kayihan, and N. Ergun, who published an article on the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, mechanical massage, connective tissue manipulation, and manual lymphatic drainage can produce significant reduction in the orange peel appearance around the abdominal region as well as the thighs. What this simply means is that body wraps as well as massage can help in the elimination of cellulite from the abdomen.
As the abdomen also contains visceral fat, measures should also be directed towards the elimination of this kind of fat. A study by Drs. J. C. Lovejoy, C. M. Champagne, L, de Jonge, H. Xie, and S. R. Smith published in the International Journal of Obesity found that increased protein and fiber intake in the diet can significantly lead to reduction in visceral fat. This goes to show that getting more of the lean proteins, fruits and vegetables into your diet is not only good for general health but is also an excellent way of reducing the amount of fat deposited inside the abdominal wall.
Decreasing the visceral fat improves the function of the liver and decreases the source of additional fat onto the subcutaneous tissue layer. When liver function is restored, then the body becomes more efficient in terms of detoxification. This should work very well when used in combination with heated body wraps and massage.
Also, exercise can also help reduce visceral fat. Drs. I. Ismail, S. E. Keating, M. K. Baker, and N. A. Johnson from Obesity Reviews of the International Association for the Study of Obesity said that progressive resistance training and aerobic exercises can be helpful in the reduction of visceral fat. When this is achieved, then there should be an elimination or reduction of cellulite in the abdominal area as well.
Why Does Cellulite Appear on the Arms?
Cellulite appearing in the arms is often attributed to a problem in the lymph flow. Drs. John R. Casley-Smith, Robert Gwyn Morgan, and Neil B. Piller said in an article of The New England Journal of Medicine that lymphedema in the arms and legs can significantly lead to the abnormal accumulation of fluids in the spaces in between cells. Additionally, Dr. James Beckerman said that reduced lymph flow in the arms and legs can all lead to a variety of health problems that can include peripheral artery diseases and cellulite formation.
Normally, lymph in the arms drain in the epitrochlear lymph nodes found at the inner aspect of the elbow and the axillary lymph nodes found in the arm pits.When these lymph nodes become congested, the forward flow of lymph from the lower parts of the arm are impeded. This leads to the accumulation of fluid in between cells.
When fluid accumulates, it pushes against the connective tissue matrices as well as the subcutaneous fat deposits underneath the skin of the arm. This leads to a more pronounced lumpy appearance of the skin that we describe as an orange peel appearance.
Like the cellulite found in other parts of the body, the upper arm is also considered as one of the regional deposit sites for adipose tissue. So, it is already expected that cellulite can appear in this particular part of the body. The additional fat that is being deposited into the adipose tissue matrix plays an important role in increasing the size of the adipose tissue. This leads to a more pronounced cellulite because of connective tissue hardening and fat cell hypertrophy.
How to Get Rid of Cellulite on the Arms
The elimination of cellulite from the arm centers on the improvement of overall lymphatic drainage. To achieve this, the application of heat packs or body wraps followed by body scrubs and massage are thus important aspects of cellulite reduction in the arms.
Drs. Michael H. Gold, Khalil A. Khatri, Kelley Hails, Robert A. Weiss, and Nathalie Fournier said that massage of the arms can significantly improve the appearance of cellulite. Additionally, when massage is combined with heat therapy as provided for by natural body wraps, the full range of cellulite reduction and elimination benefits can truly be astounding.
This was seconded by Dr. Mathew M. Avram who agrees that physical and mechanical manipulation techniques can help improve the overall appearance of cellulite by improving the flow of lymph in the arms. Drs. R. Stephen Mulholland and Neil S. Sadick also mentions the usefulness of subcutaneous heating in the removal or elimination of cellulite especially on the inner aspect of the upper arms.
Dr. Anthony C. Dweck of the Peter Black Medicare in Wiltshire, UK said that the simplest solution for reducing the orange peel effect in the arms or anywhere else in the body is controlled diet, massage and improved exercise. Additionally, Dr. Dweck suggested that since the major culprit of arm cellulite is the abnormal accumulation of fluid in between cells, then products that naturally reabsorb this fluid and help redirect it for elimination may also help in the management of cellulite in the arms. As such, Dr. Dweck suggested natural plant steroidal saponins, plant-derived quaternary alkaloids like caffeine and theobromine, plant flavonoids, and seaweeds as part of the management of cellulite formation in the arms.
Cellulite appears in certain areas of the body that are predestined for fat deposits, including the legs and thighs, the buttocks, the abdomen and the upper arms. While different sites have a slightly different mechanism of cellulite formation, all involve a problem with connective tissue hardening and the abnormally excessive growth of the fat deposits. These lead to the formation of an abnormally larger fatty tissue that protrudes well into the brittle and damaged connective tissue matrices. Although the number of adipocytes or fat cells remain constant all throughout life, the capacity of the fat cell to grow in order to accommodate additional fat molecules for storage is limitless. It is because of this, that too much carbohydrate and fat in the diet can only lead to significantly larger fat cells which can aggravate the problem much further.
Additionally, the role of lymphatic and blood circulation in cellulite formation should not be overlooked. Because connective tissues require adequate oxygenation and ample supply of nutrients, any inadequacy in the supply of blood to these tissues can greatly affect cellular metabolism. Furthermore, because blood and lymph flow is compromised, toxins that have accumulated will not be removed from the fat tissue regions. The fluid that is retained will also not be efficiently and effectively removed, thus further aggravating the problem of cellulite formation. In relation to this, the effects of stress in cellulite formation should not be discounted.
Stress releases cortisol, which naturally favors the retention of fluids. This alone can have a significant and direct effect on cellulite formation. Indirectly, increasing total fluid volume will also increase blood pressure. Increasing blood pressure affects the efficient circulation of blood in the body. This again leads to cellulite formation.
Managing cellulite is relatively easy if you understand the complex mechanisms involved. Nonetheless, cellulite treatment and management are almost always geared towards improving blood and lymph flow, making the utilization and mobilization of fat cells more efficient, strengthening the connective tissues matrices, and mitigating the harmful effects of aggravating factors.
To address blood and lymph flow, the use of heat applications, herbal essences, natural ingredients, massage and body scrubs can provide effective therapies. These natural ingredients or substances have been proven to be effective in stimulating a more efficient blood and lymph flow. When heat is applied, it facilitates the more efficient removal of toxins and fluids through blood and lymph vessel dilatation. Additionally, when these ingredients are rubbed or massaged onto the skin, the benefits are rather good.
Improving fat mobilization and utilization requires physical exertion. Increasing the metabolic rate can greatly help in the burning of fat. However, care must also be taken not to compensate for the increased physical activity by overeating. Suffice it to say that aerobic exercises and progressive resistance training exercises will be excellent addition to managing cellulite. Diet and nutrition also play an important role in cellulite management. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and lentils as well as high-protein foods like lean fish and meat should form the backbone of your diet. You still need fat in your diet but this should be limited in amounts and limited to the healthier versions like polyunsaturated fats. Stress management is important because of the role of cortisol in water retention.
To sum up, cellulite is a very complex process that is poorly understood by many. However, by observing proper nutrition, ample exercise, effective stress management, and an understanding of what it takes to remove cellulite from your life, you may well be on the road to a cellulite-free lifestyle!