What is Cellulite?

April 20, 2011

Healthy Life

What is Cellulite?

There are 3 bad layers under the skin. The top layer of the skin is called subcutaneous layer and the cellulite occurs here. The bottom two areas are reserve areas where excess calories are deposit as fat cells. Cellulite doesn’t found in these layers in fat peoples, however, these two bottom layers push out the top cellulite layer making it more noticeable.

Under the skin, in the subcutaneous layer mesh-like or net like fibrous connective tissue called septae. The septae has a network of compartments where the fat cells are located. The function of the fibrous tissue is to keep the fat cells tightly packed, provide structural support for the skin and to insulate the body.

The subcutaneous fat cells are pushed upwards in cellulite and then the fat cells are squeezed into small bulges that translate into the lumps and ‘orange peel’ looks of the skin or ‘dimpling’ appearance on the thighs, buttocks or sometimes in the lower abdomen of women who are otherwise healthy. Because of aging, a woman’s skin begins to become thinner and her septae become more fibrous and in result it worsen the cellulite appearance. Small protections of fat cells producing into the dermis creating an unevenness or irregularity of the subcutaneous fat make the skin bumpy in appearance. The phenomenon is largely observed in women because the structure of men skin is different especially in the thigh and buttocks area. Women have less collagen in their skin and making it easy to see cellulite. Women also have a higher percentage of body fats, particularly in thighs and hips regions. Men, however, are not immune, infact some do have cellulite.

Types of Cellulite

There are two types of cellulite;

The first kind of cellulite is from any ‘compression’ or ‘pinch’ of tissues in the buttocks or thighs, for instance the ‘mattress’ look on the thighs especially when seated with cross legs can be associated with cellulite.
The second type is the ‘orange peel’ or ‘mattress’ appearance, a female can have in her body on specific areas or when lying down. The compression of fat cell chambers under the skin is considered responsible for this problem and is typical to both male and female.

Fact about Cellulite

There are different misunderstandings about cellulite popularized by the media and most of the people also have misconception about it. It is pretty necessary to realize that the cellulite is not a disease. Your body weight doesn’t determine whether you have cellulite, you can be thin and have it.

Is it possible to get rid of Cellulite?

Cellulite is unpleasant and unsightly. By reducing body fat we may reduce the appearance of cellulite, but it can’t be eliminate, although good and healthy and life style, proper and regular exercise and diet can help to reduce cellulite.

Anyhow due to the conventional medical wisdom, there are nothing to be done to get rid of cellulite. As a matter of fact Dr. Murad, which is a Board Certified Dermatologist and Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at University of California, is not hopeless and he also doesn’t accept this concept. Due to some researches cellulite can be reduce by changing life style, giving up smoking and excessive alcohol. Taking muscle exercises, cellulite can be minimized but by the gaining of weight the cellulite appearance can come back, though it won’t be nearly to the same degree.

How does Cellulite progress?

Cellulite wasn’t acknowledged in medical literature, until recently research now has shown that changes overtime in the body’s skin structure actually read to the transformation of fat cells into cellulite. Some researchers think that cellulite can progress in five stages which are;

1. Stage one

Blood microcirculation, venous flow or lymphatic drainage to the subcutaneous layer are impaired. Reduced blood microcirculation starves and weakens the surrounding tissue, making it more susceptible to cellulite. Reduced venous flow translates to higher fluid retention and pooling of the blood. Reduced lymphatic drainage means that lymph fluids that basically takes waste away from the cells are trapped in the region. The septae connective tissue can begin to become more fibrous. Here on this stage all the changes are not visible to the naked eye. There may not be any other symptoms with the possible exception of cuts and bruises taking longer to heal because of the impaired circulation.

2. Stage two

When the circulation is decreased, the capillaries and veins become weak and leak into the surrounding tissues and restricts circulation and fluid drainage even more. At this stage more thicker and tender skin than normal is visible, broken veins and discoloration is also visible. The skin can also bruise easily, anyhow in condition there’s no appearance of the lumpy cellulite bumps yet.

3. Stage three

Sometime later lymphatic fluid buildup the fat tissues become swollen and start pushing against the outer skin, at this stage the initial sign of lumps and the ‘orange peel’ look appears.

4. Stage four

The stagnant lymphatic fluid causes the fibrous septae to congeal into thicker fibers. The cells not having enough oxygen and nutrients may also become incorporated into these fibers and then adding to the fibers thickness. These fibers begin to trap and squeeze the fat cells, that press on the surrounding tissue and reduce even more circulation in the area. The skin can feel cold when touched cause of the lack of circulation.

5. Stage five

Blood circulation is re-routed around the cellulite area, because of the high pressure. Septae fibers continue to progress to an extent that the fat cells are completely trapped. Fat continue to deposit in these cells, but it’s not completely removed from it (through  diet or exercise) cause of the poor circulation. At this stage the thick fibers trapped fat cells and the stagnant fluids form a huge honey comb structure called steatomes. Large lumps are appeared in this condition, which are the hallmark of cellulite.


The body parts where the cellulite progress / develop

1. Front part of the thigh

The cellulite which appears on the front part of the thighs is very much noticeable and give a bad appearance and sometimes it becomes dimpled horrible legs. Take too much hard exercise for legs and hips cause too much hard lumps on them. This kind of cellulite is typically common in both men and women.

2. Neck

Some researchers think that constant stress and tension may also lead to the gathering of cellulite or fatty lumps in the back of the neck. Prolonged stress and worries may manifest in tension in neck muscles, leading to misaligned vertebrae and inflamed tissue. In result, this inflammation may cause fluid retention that can lead to cellulite.

3. Stomach

Fat stomach is very much visible and makes your dress unfit. The fat here is too stubborn and takes much time to burn while exercising. When we talk about cellulite on stomach especially on the lower portion, sometimes it can be caused by some digestive disorders. As a matter of fact, mostly women having cellulite stomach may have irritable bowel, liver disorders or constipation.

4. Upper Arm

Most of the older women have cellulite in their upper arms, it appears in older ages and it is usually associated with cellulite in the leg. Due to some experts or researchers this cellulite is triggered by reduced venous flow or impaired vein systems in the arm.

The causes and symptoms of cellulite

As I explained above that impaired lymphatic drainage reduced venous flow, poor blood circulation and fluid retention can trigger the transformation of subcutaneous fat cells into cellulite, but there’re some other causes as well which are as follows;

1. Pregnancy

It’s a natural process that women get a lot of changes in her body, when she conceives. She has to experience a great body change, while pregnancy her body expands and gains a lot of weight. Normally the weight which a woman gained during pregnancy reduced after delivery, but sometimes the body weight (the fat) becomes too hard to reduce and the fats stored in the body. The great change in woman’s body sometimes leads to cellulite. During pregnancy there’s increased fluid retention and a surge of hormones. These hormones also weaken connective tissues, including those in the walls of the veins and lymphatic vessels. The growing womb, that presses down on the veins and lymph vessel, cause a reduction circulation and lymph drainage.

2. Female Hormones

Women are more affected by cellulite than men. There’re two reasons for that, the first reason in woman’s fibrous septae structure are mesh like and therefore are more prone to trapping fat cells, men’s septae structure is smooth. Female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone are also responsible for current situation. Estrogen plays a great part in determining the number and location of fat cells in the body. It supports fat cells to develop and grow around the breasts, thighs and buttocks. Progesterone may lead to fluid retention, weak veins and weight gains. That’s not yet fully understood, both estrogen and progesterone can stimulate the development of cellulite. In puberty and pregnancy as it the period of rapid growth, stretch marks on the buttocks, legs and thighs, suggest deposition of fat tissues and rapid growth. In some people, stretch mark mostly precede the formation of cellulite.

3. Obesity

Though thin people are not immune, fat or obese people experience more to get cellulite which is a form of fat after all. Overweight body, accumulation of fat too pushes the cellulite in the subcutaneous layer outward and worsens the appearance of cellulite. The struggling of losing weight sometimes can lead to more harm and side effects than positive results. For instance, yo-yo dieting can lead to increased tendency of fat cells to store fat and enlarge, as well as create a resistance to shrinking.

4. Harsh Massage

Massage is very delicate art. It needs experience and proficiency. If done unsuitably or improperly or the massage is too harsh. It can damage the fragile network of lymphatic vessels in the leg. Broken lymph vessels can cause waste laden lymph fluids to drain into the surrounding tissues and trigger the chain of events leading to cellulite.

5. Smoking

It’s widely known that smoking is injurious to health. But it’s still not known that cigarette smoking can also lead to cellulite. Cigarette smoke contains free radicals or highly charged oxygen molecules which are very damaging to vein and capillary walls, causing inflammation and leaking. Cigarette’s nicotine is a vasoconstrictor and can also cause small blood vessels to constrict and thus reduce microcirculation.

6. Enlarged Lymph nodules

The lymphatic system is made up of a series of vessels and nodes. The task of these nodes is to work as filters to clean the impurities from the lymphatic fluid. Particular conditions as chronic pelvic inflammation, chronic bowel, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome may lead to enlargement of these nodes as they prepare to filter out infections and toxins. In result, the flow of the lymphatic fluid slows down there, causing fluid retention which may lead to cellulite.

7. Sedentary Life Style

Now a day we can see a lot of people having sedentary life style. Not only young people but children also having very poor physical activities. Young people spent most of time sitting down watching T.V, playing video games etc. in office just sitting on a chair using PC, have very little walk in the office, coming home in a car having no walk, when reached home just sit in front of T.V, watching any romantic movie with a bowl of popcorn or a plate full of fries and a large burger, we are destroying ourselves, having this inactive lifestyle. This poor and inactive lifestyle can negatively affect blood circulation, as well as the venous and lymph vessels rely on muscle contractions to support making venous blood and lymphatic fluids, respectively.

8. Stress

Having stress or tension for long period and the associated increased sign of adrenaline can basically lead to increased fat deposit in the stomach, buttocks, thighs and hips.

9. Genetics

Genetics plays a major role in cellulite. It can be a big reason someone suffering from this condition. Sometimes it is genetically inherited in people. Some people normally have more fat cells, poor circulation, weak veins, fragile lymphatic vessels or hormonal sensitivity. In addition sedentary lifestyle or unhealthy food also encourage cellulite formation or exacerbate its condition, for instance unhealthy or poor diet, lack of exercise and cigarette smoking which is a big hazard to life and can also worsen the cellulite.


10. Liposuction and Pelvic Surgery

Liposuction is a very popular treatment to reshape the body. Many celebrities are taking benefit of this modern cosmetic surgery to look more slim and beautiful. Although this treatment is somehow effective. But it also has many negative effects. Indeed, this procedure was once thought to cure cellulite when this surgery is performed on particular areas, for instance the outer thighs, it can basically damage the network of capillaries and lymph vessels. This condition reduces microcirculation and overtime, cellulite may develop. This is necessary to keep in mind that these factors can’t be the same causes of cellulite in different people. Some people may be experiencing primary factors to cellulite.


This site is for information and support only and NOT a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment!
cellulite, diet, health, succes

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