Cellulite – The causes and the cures

Smooth, dimple-free thighs and buttocks are a rare sight in real life – unless you’re under 18, genetically blessed or have a seriously healthy lifestyle. And even then, there are no guarantees! Patients often ask me for my advice when dealing with the dreaded dimples, so I hope this blog will help you on your way to smoother, shapelier silhouette.

What is Cellulite?

Cellulite displays itself as lumps, bumps and dimples when underlying fat deposits push through layers of collagen fibres under the skin and although it is often found on the buttocks, thighs and hips, it can also be prominent on arms and abdomen. Women are more prone to cellulite than men because their skin is naturally thinner but some men may experience it to a lesser degree. It’s thought that around 90% of women have cellulite – even those slender size eights!

Key Cellulite Culprits

Studies have shown that the amount of cellulite you have is only 33% genetic and the rest is due to lifestyle habits. So what are the main causes?

  • Hormones play a major part in the appearance of cellulite and it’s often around puberty when you may first notice it as the levels of the hormone oestrogen rise. As oestrogen causes collagen in the skin to breakdown, lumpy fat is more apparent. Some women are naturally more affected by cellulite and this may be because of the way their bodies control and regulate their hormone levels. Artificial sources of oestrogen (such as contraceptive pills, dietary and environmental factors) may also affect hormonal balance and indirectly contribute to cellulite.

  • Cigarettes are a real cellulite aggravator. Cigarette smoke reduces blood vessel flow, weakening and disrupting the formation of collagen which allows connective tissue to be damaged so underlying fat is more prominent.

  • Nutrition. We can all tell when we look in the mirror that a poor diet can ruin our facial skin, so it makes sense that it also affects the skin on our body. Toxins from alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods containing high amounts of sugar and salt wreak havoc by reducing the skin’s elasticity and slowing down circulation. This in turn makes our digestive system stagnant and sluggish, leading to puffy, lumpy skin.

Lumpy Legs SOS

If you suffer from cellulite, don’t despair; there are ways of dramatically improving skin texture and tone, so read on…

  • Feed the body with the right nutrients and you’ll be rewarded with smoother, healthier skin. Omege 3 fats in seeds, nuts and oily fish can help our kidneys to get rid of excess water held in the tissues. These fats also increase the metabolism, boosting energy production which encourages glucose to be stored in muscle cells rather than fat cells. It has also be found that Omega 3 plays a role in balancing hormones and this is essential in combating cellulite.

  • Vitamin C helps with collagen production in the skin, making it stronger. As well as this, it improves circulation, allowing toxins to be efficiently removed from the body.

  • Keep hydrated. Eight glasses of water a day will help flush the toxins out of the system, keeping things moving. Matcha Green Tea is also a good choice of beverage – as well as helping to break down fat, it increases the metabolism and blood flow and is a powerful antioxidant.

  • Exercise is a must for keeping the body and skin healthy and it’s vital for improving circulation and toning up the body. A combination of high intensity interval training and strength building workouts is a great approach to effectively burn calories and raise the metabolism to kick- start the elimination of toxins. If you are not sure how much exercise you should be doing, here is a useful link to the NHS guidelines.

  • Cellulite cream that magically dissolves excess fat is yet to be invented but there are some skincare ingredients that deserve a clap for helping to improve skin tone. Aloe Vera keeps skin moisturised and protected against free radicals that destroy the skin’s cells while caffeine has been said to help rev up metabolism and promote fat burning. A favourite of mine is Argan oil which is rich in skin saving antioxidants and is highly hydrating.

  • Massage is a great way of boosting circulation, so I would advise that you prep skin with a body brush or flannel prior to using a cream. Rub the skin in a circular motion towards the heart so as to increase blood flow.

  • Body treatments in a salon or clinic may be beneficial and I have heard of positive results with Endermologie and CACI which use the latest non-surgical technology to lift and firm problem areas. I would recommend Remodelage, a natural fat burning massage originating from France that has had excellent feedback. The practitioner manually works by using a specially patented technique to massage deep layers of the skin to soften fat deposits, rejuvenating the circulation and releasing toxins and fat so that they can be eliminated naturally. As well as the sculpting and firming of the body, you come away feeling lighter in body and mind. Remodelage is available by Pauline de Jessey at Grace Belgravia.