Many people are deeply concerned about their looks, paying very close attention to every detail, every flaw from their hair to the tip of the toenails. And it is essentially not a bad thing. Looking good in the mirror and being presentable to our coworkers, family and spouses boost our self-esteem, improve our mood and productivity. And one of the disturbing conditions that can affect our body is cellulite. In this article we shall discuss about cellulite, what it actually is, what causes it and ways to get rid of cellulite.
Cellulite is a common and harmless condition of the skin, characterised by the formation of lumps and dimples on abdomen, breasts, upper arms, buttocks, hips and thighs. The condition is so common and more prevalent in women that a staggering 80-90% of women will have cellulite in their lifetime. However, men are not entirely excluded from getting the condition themselves. It is important to clarify that cellulite is different from similarly sounding cellulitis, in which the latter is a bacterial infection of tissues under the skin.
Cellulite may cause the said parts of your body to appear prominently dimpled and bumpy. It is often described aptly as having orange peel or cottage cheese texture.
Cellulite can be graded according to its severity from grade 1 to grade 3.
Grade 1, has a mild sagging appearance, having only between 1 to 4 light depressions.
Grade 2, moderate, has anywhere between 5 to 9 medium-depth depressions.
Grade 3, severe, or mattress appearance, has 10 or more deep depression.
What actually causes cellulite is not known. However, the changes that take place have been postulated. The skin is tethered to the underlying muscle by fibrous connective tissue cords, seperated in between these layers is a layer of fat. As fat cells accumulate over time, they push the skin from below, whilst the fibrous cords tug the skin inwards. This interplay results in the distinctive lumpy bumpy appearance of cellulite. Women have a more vertically arranged connective tissue cords, making fat accumulation more obvious compared to men who have more of a criss-cross pattern of cord arrangement.
Some risk factors have been identified to have helped in the development of cellulite. Among them are hormonal changes which is the most significant factor, followed by age, genetics, skin structure, weight, muscle tone, dietary and lifestyle factors.
Treatment of cellulite has been at large produced variable results. A few therapies have been suggested to produce satisfactory results, but scientific evidence is scarce.
Acoustic wave therapy
A handheld device able to transmit sound waves. It takes several sessions and it may yield desired results.
Laser treatment used extensively in the world of cosmetics for all sorts of conditions can be used in cellulite treatment in which results may last anywhere between a year or more.
A very small laser probe is inserted under the skin, fires and breaks the tissue, concurrently thickening the skin and increasing collagen production. The thicker skin will mask the irregularities of the fat layer beneath the skin.
Similar to lasers, this involves putting a needle under the skin and manually breaking the connective tissue bands. This procedure may have a lasting effect of up to 3 years.
Other therapies worth mentioning here are carboxytherapy, liposuction and radiotherapy. But the efficacy of these treatments are highly speculative.
Apart from these high-end therapies, some simple medications too have been proposed to reduce cellulite. Among them are caffeine and retinol, specifically because they act on fat cells.
As for lifestyle, one can adopt a diet which has lesser fat and exercising more regularly to limit the accumulation of fat and increase muscle tone. Increased fat and salt intake, and poor muscle tone has been linked to prominence of cellulite.
Cellulite can be disfiguring and raise immense anxiety about how we look. With these ideas in mind, refer to your dermatologist about your problem and discuss closely about your best treatment plan for an optimum result.