What is Cellulite? It’s the one thing a woman searches for on her body as she gets ready to slip into Summer (hoping she’s bikini ready), immediately followed by a Google search for cellulite treatments as she spots a dimple. Before you spend many dollars on cosmetic procedures and pouring over the internet, buying every over the counter solution you can find, it is important to understand what cellulite is. So what is cellulite? And what causes it? Let’s cut the dimple and get right into it.
What Causes cellulite?
Cellulite results from enlarged pockets of body fat deposited deep underneath the skin that push up against the underlying connective tissue. When the underlying fat cells balloon up it limits the space under the skin, which places a lot of upward pressure on the connective tissue. This causes the connective tissue to become weaker and loose resulting in a dimpled appearance aka cellulite. When multiple fat compartments expand the cellulite spreads across a wider surface area.
Who Gets Cellulite?
Pretty much everyone can get cellulite. Although women have a higher tendency to get cellulite, men are prone to getting it as well and with the rise in fast and processed foods even children are getting it. The reason why women are more prone to cellulite comes down to the differences in skin, hormones and age. Genetics and lifestyle are a major factor for all.
What is Cellulite
Cellulite is a term used to describe the dimpled appearance of skin which usually appears after puberty. It is caused by uneven fat deposits that are just below the surface of the skin. It usually appears on abdomen, thighs, buttocks and hips.
Grade 1 – no visible evidence of cellulite. However, there is underlying anatomical changes only visible by microscope.
Grade 2 cellulite has pallor skin (pastiness). The surface temperature is lower with decreased elasticity.
Grade 3 cellulite has visible unevenness of the skin (resembling orange peel) along with all grade 2 signs.
Cellulite results from enlarged packets of body fat–deposited deep underneath the skin–that push up against the underlying connective tissue. When the underlying fat cells balloon up it limits the space under the skin, which places an enormous upward pressure on the connective tissue.
That’s the best we can do to answer what is cellulite, in practical terms!
- Cellulite – Left, Smooth Skin – Right
Cellulite and Our Skin
To answer the question about what is cellulite, you need a little bit of knowledge about the skin first.
The anatomy of the body’s largest organ varies in men and women. Looking at the skin, reveals major differences in the structure, resulting in women have a much higher tendency to develop cellulite than men. Men have a much thicker Epidermis which is the very top layer of the skin (#1 in the picture). A thicker epidermis makes male skin much more resilient to structural change and dimpling, which protects it from cellulite. On the other side, women have a thinner epidermis, which exposes it to lumpiness and disfiguration. Think of it as a suit of armour. Men have a strong, outer layer that prevents the fat from bulging through the surface. Women don’t.
Female fat cells sit within large, side-by-side, separate compartments that form columns underneath the skin’s surface (# 4 on the right). When female fat cells fatten the compartments overflow and have no choice but to expand vertically. This causes uneven pressure on the skin and causes visible bumps – cellulite!
On the flip side, male skin follows a crisscrossed pattern and their fat containers are smaller.
As a result, when their fat cells grow they grow they tend to create one, big, solid blob of fat (if it even penetrates the thick epidermis). Although beer bellies are annoyingly common, most guys won’t have cellulite.
Hormones and Cellulite
Men and women have different hormones and this affects cellulite a lot and is the main reason why women are more prone to getting it. The female hormone is Oestrogen. This hormone is key in supporting a healthy circulatory and lymphatic system. In layman’s terms, one makes sure everything travels around the body easily and quickly, the other gets rid of the nasty things we don’t need which are then processed and removed through the bladder or bowel. Oestrogen can fluctuate and as a result create a stagnant lymph which in turn weakens connective tissue the end result being cellulite. Oestrogen can also contribute to cellulite by adding fat. On the reverse the male hormone is Testosterone. This hormone drives muscle growth. As a result, the more muscle you have, the less fat there will be and therefore opportunity for cellulite to develop.
How Does Age Affect Cellulite?
In females more than 80% of women over the age of 20 develop cellulite at some time in their lives. As women age their Oestrogen levels fluctuate which makes older women prone to getting (more) cellulite even if they have never had it before.
Does Cellulite Run in the Family?
Yes. It’s true that cellulite runs in families; if your mother and grandmother had cellulite, you are more likely to develop it. There’s even a genetic test on the market that can tell you whether you have a gene variant that puts you at higher risk for moderate to severe cellulite. Considering that most women will develop cellulite in their lifetimes (and the fact that you’ll know it when you see it), it’s not exactly worth its hefty price tag. If you’re not one of the lucky ones with smooth-skinned relatives, take heart: genetics is only one small part of the cellulite puzzle; factors like diet, exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight also play a role.
Do Only Unhealthy People Get Cellulite?
No. Being overweight does make the appearance of cellulite more noticeable. The more fat you have underneath your skin, puts stress on your connective tissue. But cellulite also happens to women of all shapes and sizes and even the healthiest fittest women can cellulite.
Which brings us to cellulite treatments and the facts and fictions of what does and doesn’t work. Read part 2 for all the right information on how to treat your cellulite.
So can Aesthetica help me?
Now you know what is cellulite, Aesthetica Melbourne’s Accent RF (radio frequency) fat reduction and cellulite reduction treatments are designed to reduce cellulite, improve body shape and reduce unwanted fat in areas such as the thighs, buttocks, hips, knees and calves. We utilize proven special devices that apply both bi polar and uni polar radio frequency to your dermis and epidermis to rejuvenate collagen, tighten connective tissue and remove unwanted fatty deposits.
The Aesthetica cellulite treatment package is not a substitute for dieting and exercising and it is not a weight loss procedure. Used in conjunction with other lifestyle adjustments you will see results even quicker.
For more information regarding what is cellulite or to schedule your complimentary consultation email us or call 03 9824 6134.