If you’re feeling self-conscious about cellulite, you have lots of company. Most women, even models develop cellulite at some point, and almost all of us have this ripple or bumpy fat somewhere on our bodies.
What is cellulite and why do we get it?
It’s simple, cellulite is another name for body fat. It happens when fat deposits push through the layers of collagen fibers that firm our skin, as these become weaker, as well as our connective tissue, under our skin.
Cellulite looks lumpy and bumpy, and shows in places where our body stores our fat, mainly in our thighs, buttocks, upper arms and belly.
Women of any shape, size and age can develop cellulite. So, despite what the glam magazines at the supermarket counter may lead us to believe, you can’t get rid of cellulite once you have it, and there isn’t a miracle cure to get rid of it overnight.
Cellulite and our hormones
Having cellulite can be stressful for many of us. We don’t really like it and wish it would just disappear, but it’s with us to stay, so really it’s about how we manage it.
The menopause can make cellulite worse. Our estrogen levels reduce quite a lot during our menopause. This can cause fluid build-up in fatty tissue, and we have less collagen to hold the fluid, so it results in an ‘orange peel’ effect where the cellulite fat deposits are.
Think of it as a river where the bank of the river starts to fall apart, and the water begins to seep into crevices close by, it’s a similar thing happening with our body.
Less collagen means weaker connective tissues and thinner skin, which makes it easier for the fat to show. This is why we start to notice the ‘orange peel’ look mainly around our thighs, arms and belly.
Estrogen can also contribute to cellulite by adding fat to our body. Excess fat accumulation can be triggered by too much estrogen, which is a common cause of hormone imbalance as there’s too much estrogen circulating around the body. This can happen at any time in a woman’s life, and even during perimenopause and menopause.
Other factors that contribute to cellulite are:
Being overweight can make cellulite more noticeable. The more fat there is stored beneath the skin, the more likely it is to put extra pressure on the body’s collagen fibers and connective tissue, and cause the skin to dimple.
Having poor muscle tone
Poor muscle tone can make cellulite look even worse, as the muscles are not strong enough to hide the fat under the skin. Regular strength training can help to reduce the appearance of cellulite and also make the muscles look toned and healthy.
Smoking is another known contributor to cellulite. Smoking reduces healthy circulation and disrupts your body’s ability to form collagen which lifts the skin and reduces the appearance of cellulite.
Eating a high carb diet, with foods that are difficult to breakdown, or foods that do not build collagen or circulate easily around the body, can cause the build-up of cellulite.
Eating water soluble fats rather than saturated fats, which stay longer in the body can also cause a build-up of fatty deposits under the skin.
Drinking plenty of water and eating more fresh fruit and vegetables, improves circulation and can help to reduce fat deposits which cause cellulite.
7 ways to reduce the appearance of cellulite
We spend millions of pounds each year on the wonder products that say they can banish cellulite overnight. Apart from the fact that it’s not true, many of these lotions, potions and gizmos do not deliver what they say they can do, because they can’t.
Here’s 7 natural ways to reduce cellulite and improve your skin’s appearance
1. Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water or fluids each day and every day, to help to keep they connective tissue strong and supple. You can increase fluid intake by eating more foods with higher water content, such as cucumbers, bell peppers and watermelon.
2. Do regular exercise
Jumping around and trying different forms of exercise can help reduce the appearance of cellulite. Aerobic exercise is great for overall circulation which is good for collagen production. Squats, lunges, and other strength training exercises firm and tone the muscles which will, in turn tighten the skin, making cellulite less noticeable.
3. Lose Weight – If you’re overweight, dropping some of your excess weight will reduce the appearance of cellulite. But do it slowly because crash diets that promote rapid weight loss can leave your skin looking worse, and make your skin look flabby.
Eat a Mediterranean style diet, it’s healthier and helps to keep your weight down and reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Eat fresh fish at least twice a week, and lean meat with vegetables and salads. Use extra virgin olive oil when cooking. Limit the amount of pasta, rice, and potatoes, and banish processed convenience foods.
4. Dry brush your skin – to improve circulation, use a dry bath brush or loofah to gently brush your skin in one direction, toward the heart.
Dry brushing can also help to energise the lymphatic draining system and get rid of toxins that can cause cellulite.
Dry brushing can also make the skin feel softer and smoother. Use a flannel when showering to gently exfoliate the skin and help to improve circulation, which will reduce cellulite build up.
5. Try Body Massage – use a body scrub or body exfoliator when showering or bathing. These help to improve your circulation and fluid drainage and may improve the appearance of your skin.
Use strong but gentle pressure, to stroke your skin with your hands in the direction of your heart.
You can get a deeper pressure if you use massage balls or rollers. Better still, treat yourself to a good professional body massage.
6. Make your own coffee skin scrub – caffeine-containing ingredients, such as coffee when applied topically to the skin, may improve circulation and help exfoliate dead skin cells.
Try this home-made brown sugar coffee body scrub with moisturizing coconut or olive oil.
- 1/4 cup used ground coffee
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil or extra virgin Olive Oil
- Combine ingredients to create a paste and store in a jar for up to two weeks. Use in the shower as you would any body scrub, and rinse.
7. Pile on the veg or take a good multivitamin – your skin and connective tissue require constant nourishment. The main vitamins for healthy skin are vitamin C (critical for collagen production), and beta carotene, (Beta carotene is a red-orange pigment found in plants and fruits, especially carrots and colourful vegetables), which your body uses to replenish and repair skin cells.