Many people consider cellulite a medical condition. Even the medical community has a series of very disease/illness sounding names for it: adiposis edematosa, dermopanniculosis deformans, status protrusus cutis and gynoid lipodystrophy. It also has a nice range of colloquial terms: the mattress phenomenon, hail damage, cottage cheese skin and orange peel syndrome.
In fact, cellulite has nothing to do with health. It’s a cosmetic condition that involves fat beneath the skin. This fat shoves against connective tissue and makes the skin surface look bumpy, dimpled and almost spongy. While men do get cellulite, anywhere between 90 and 98 percent of these cases occur in women. There are studies that believe this is because cellulite is closely tied to estrogen, the compound vital to female development and function. It is also believed that body fat can be a contributor and women tend to have more than men.
Cellulite technically has three categories of visibility and grade.
- Grade 1 is near invisible and can only be seen under a microscope.
- Grade 2 can be hard to detect with the eye but there will be a pastiness to the skin, lowered temperature and decreased elasticity in the skin.
- Grade 3 will have the symptoms of the other grades and will have the familiar orange peel appearance that makes cellulite so obvious.
Cellulite has nothing to do with size or weight. The medical community believes there are many factors involved. For the most part they are only theories as no science has really pinned down the exact causes.
- The consumption of carbs, fat, salt and not enough fiber has been associated with women that have heavy amounts of cellulite.
- Smokers and women who have a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to have cellulite.
- Tight clothes and underwear with tight elastic around the buttocks can limit blood flow. This can contribute to cellulite.
- There are specific genes associated with the development of cellulite. As our genes are hereditary, some individuals may be predisposed to cellulite. It’s likely if cellulite runs in the family, the current generation will experience it.
- Outside of estrogen, other hormones like insulin, thyroid hormones, prolactin and noradrenaline play a role in cellulite production.
Other influences are dehydration, color and thickness of skin, slow metabolism, inflammation and fad dieting.
The most common areas for cellulite on women are around the buttocks and legs. This is because that’s where the majority of body fat is located on the female. While weight really has nothing to do with cellulite, the more one carries the more severe cellulite can appear.
Cellulite is a condition that not many women are comfortable with. In 2008, women spent in the vicinity of $47 million to rid themselves of cellulite. Unfortunately, most of the market products are found to be lacking, offering little to no improvement. There are therapeutic approaches like massages, heat therapy and ultrasound applications. Yet again, none of this has medically been proven to be effective. There are advanced cellulite treatments that can be discussed with a doctor or a dermatologist.
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