What is Cellulite?
Cellulite is actually a large name for what, in fact is, a collection of fat that pushes against the connective tissue underneath a person's skin. This causes the top of the skin to pucker and appear lumpy.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, cellulite is the body’s natural way of storing fat in adult women. But, commonly, Cellulite is a term that is used to describe the dimpled appearance of the skin when fat cells penetrate abnormally into the middle layer of the skin, causing the appearance of what is commonly referred to as cottage cheese, orange peel or mattress phenomenon.
How is cellulite formed? & Who is mostly affected?
The outside epidermis covers the inner dermis which contains blood vessels, hair follicles, nerve receptors and connective tissue which forms the support and which contains collagen.
Below the connective tissue you find layers of subcutaneous fat and it is here where the problem starts.
In females fat is stacked in vertical chambers which slightly protrude into the dermis and it is these uneven protrusions that cause the well known orange peel effect when the chambers become extended and less pliable.
The fat cells in males are stacked in a different configuration, and for this reason, men are not as susceptible to cellulite - coupled to the fact that their epidermis and dermal layers are normally thicker than female's.
Coupled to problems such as inefficient waste removal from the cells in this region, as well as less than perfect circulation, this would result in an accumulation of wastes, and enlargement of the adipocytes, which now, with nowhere else to go, will extend to, will press to the top, and will cause the much feared look of cellulite.
There are two types of Cellulite:
Hard and Soft Cellulite
When pinching or compressing the skin tissue between thumb and forefinger and you get the characteristic dimpling effect, it is referred to as soft cellulite or status protrusus cutis. This type of cellulite is also normally sensitive.
After progressing through this stage, you can find hard cellulite or dermo-panniculosis deformans, which needs not to be compressed to show, and is always visible. At this stage the tissues may be flabby but is in most cases no longer sensitive.
Where is cellulite found?
Regular body fat can be found anywhere on the body, whereas cellulite tends to settle on the following areas:
-Inner, upper and back of thighs, buttocks and hips.
-Upper back below the shoulders.
The reason why cellulite tends to appear more on the hips and thighs is due to the LPL (lipoprotein lipase) enzyme that helps to control the distribution of fat, and tends to be more concentrated in these regions.
What causes cellulite?
The causes of cellulite are not well established yet, but there are several hypothesis that are being offered as explanations. Among these are the following:
Hormonal factors - hormones are believed to play not a last role in the development of cellulite. The experts suggest that estrogen, insulin, noradrenaline, thyroid hormones, and prolactin play an important role in the process of cellulite development.
Genetics - certain genes are needed for the production of cellulite. Genes may be a factor that will predispose a person to particular characteristics associated with the condition, factors such as gender, race, slow metabolism and distribution of fat just below the skin.
Diet - individuals who consume too much products containing fat, carbs, or salt and too little fiber are likely to develop greater amounts of cellulite.
Lifestyle factors - cellulite may be more affecting people who smoke, those who do not lead active way of life as well as those who sit or stand in one position for long periods of time.
Clothing - underwear with tight elastic across the buttocks, liming blood flow, may contribute to the appearance of cellulite.