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Cellulite | Causes, Treatments, and Prevention | Everything you need to know about cellulite

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With between 80% and 90% of women probably going to experience cellulite during their life, it is no surprise this is a highly researched and interesting topic. 


What is cellulite?


The formation of bumps, lumps, and dimples in the skin; although this can affect both men and women, it is more frequent in the latter, mainly because of the distribution of connective tissue, fat, and muscle in the body. 


Cellulite has been divided into three different grades, depending on the seriousness of the situation; the three grades are mild, moderate, and severe and are based on the number of depressions and appearance of the skin. 


What causes cellulite?
Huha Inc./Unsplash

Why does cellulite happen? What causes cellulite?


The causes of cellulite are mainly unknown, however, it seems that this is caused by the build-up of fat between the connective tissue and the skin; the more the fat accumulates, the more it gets pushed against the skin, creating an uneven surface. 


It seems that the main causes of cellulite maybe sex, genetics, and lifestyle, however, this is not a pathology, it is part of the physiology of one’s body


Although weight is often connected to cellulite, this is not considered one of the factors; weight gain may make cellulite more noticeable, however, also lean people that work out can have cellulite, although a healthy lifestyle may help reduce the risk of cellulite.


In fact, people who are less active and stay in the same position for a long amount of time (i.e.: sitting or standing in one position for many hours) may find they are at higher risk of cellulite.


Part of the lifestyle factor is one’s diet; people who consume larger amounts of carbohydrates, fats, and salts and lower amounts of fiber may be at greater risk of having cellulite.


Additional factors, such as being a smoker and wearing very tight underwear, may contribute to the formation of cellulite by limiting blood flow to the areas of interest. 


Why do women have cellulite? 


While there may be multiple factors determining the causes of cellulite, one of the most common reasons may be the different distribution of connective tissue, fat, and muscle in the body.


In women, the connective tissue and fat cells are organized in a vertical position, allowing fat cells to protrude into the layer of skin, while in men it is organized in a crisscross or lattice position, making it harder for the fat cells to do the same, therefore making men less likely to have cellulite.


Furthermore, as we age, the skin loses its consistency and thickness, allowing for cellulite to be more visible. 


The most common areas where cellulite is found are the thighs and bum region. 

Wagner Santos/Unsplash

How to get rid of cellulite?


Is it possible to get rid of cellulite?


Although cellulite is not a disease, the search ‘How to reduce cellulite?’ Is still one of the most performed. 


Although not scientifically proven, some methods claim to be reducing cellulite and its appearance, and listed below are the most known: 


Massage and Cellulite Cream 


As lymphatic drainage may be one of the reasons for cellulite, the right type of massage may help with this; although many creams claim to be reducing the appearance of cellulite, the most important part is the application of it a.k.a. the massage.


It is worth noting that this treatment needs to be repeated to maintain the results. 


In creams, some ingredients can be found that claim to reduce the appearance of cellulite; these are: 


Caffeine: dehydrating the cells in the affected areas, it makes them less visible. These types of creams need to be applied daily. 


Retinol: this added ingredient may reduce the appearance of cellulite by thickening the skin, but the long-term application is needed as well. Creams with retinol may cause adverse effects. 




Drinking enough water is another method that may help improve the appearance of cellulite; this is because the consumption of water encourages the lymphatic flow as well as blood circulation, which is a common issue in the legs. Hydration is key!


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Weight Loss


Losing weight may help with reducing the appearance of cellulite on the legs, as this would as a consequence reduce body fat.


It is important to know however that any person of any weight may have cellulite and it is not something only overweight or obese people have. 


To reduce body weight, a healthy diet and exercise will help with this in most cases, and as a consequence, most people will notice an improvement in the appearance of cellulite. 


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Treatments Anti-Cellulite


There are multiple treatments available to reduce the appearance of cellulite, but none of them have been confirmed by scientific research.


These treatments aim to break the connective tissue that is found under the surface of the skin to reduce the appearance of cellulite. 


Acoustic wave therapy is a well-known anti-cellulite treatment, which aims to break the bands of connective tissue under the skin’s surface through the transmission of sound waves; although this may work, it may also take several sessions. 


Laser treatment is well known as well and it tries to achieve the same result by inserting a small laser probe under the skin, which is then fired to break down the bands of connective tissue.


This treatment may also thicken the skin by increasing collagen production, which decreases with age and maybe one of the reasons for increased cellulite appearance. 


Other common therapies are:


  • Subcision: it involves breaking down the connective tissue through the use of needles.


  • Vacuum-assisted precise tissue release: this method cuts the connective tissue bands using a device that has multiple small blades. 


  • Carboxytherapy: this method involves inserting carbon dioxide gas under the skin. 


  • Endermologie: using a vacuum-type instrument, a very deep massage that lifts the skin is performed. 


  • Ionithermie treatment: the areas affected with cellulite are covered in clay or mud, wrapped in plastic, and then an electric current is passed through it. 


  • Radiotherapy: uses heat to reduce the appearance of cellulite. 


  • Laser-assisted liposuction: this technique removes small amounts of fat, although it may increase the appearance of dimples. 


  • Ultrasonic liposculpting: another technique that aims to destroy and eliminate fat.


  • Although these mentioned methods have no scientific evidence, there are some that the AAD (American Academy of Dermatology) approves of.  


How to reduce cellulite?
Alexander Schimmeck/Unsplash

Anti Cellulite Leggings


Anti-cellulite leggings are another method that claims to be able to reduce the cellulite in the legs, thighs, and bum; they are extremely tight and stretchy and are meant to help tone up muscles and lose weight. 


Anti Cellulite Brush


Say goodbye, cellulite with dry brushing, or not? Some claim this method may reduce the appearance of cellulite by stimulating blood circulation and the lymphatic system. 




While exercising is not a guarantee when looking to reduce cellulite as we know what the answer to ‘’Is it possible to get rid of cellulite?’’ is by now: by exercising, you may tighten the skin in the affected area and increase muscles, improving the appearance of cellulite; exercising may help reduce it, but it is not a guarantee. 


How to get rid of cellulite on bum and thighs? 


Some exercises that target these areas may help, as described above; the most common exercises are: 


Squats: Standing with feet shoulder-width apart and pointing forward, one should lower the bum as if to sit in a chair ensuring the knees do not go over the toes, to then get back up by squeezing the bum.


Jump Squats: it is performed like a squat, but while coming back up, one should increase speed, perform a jump, and finish by landing lightly to then repeat. 


Steps: step classes are very popular these days, but the same exercise (although not as entertaining!) may be performed at home either in front of a regular step or an exercise box, ensuring to exercise each leg equally. 


Kickbacks: on the floor on all-fours, one should kick back engaging core, thighs, and glutes and get back in the starting position to then perform the same with the other leg. 


Although all of these exercises are great options, the best way to exercise is to combine regular cardio and strength training; this way, while cardio helps burning fat, strength exercises ensure muscles are built while helping with the elasticity of the skin. Excellent aerobic exercises are hiking, cycling, dancing, swimming, running, or even just going for a walk.


Cellulite treatment
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As no real way to reduce or eliminate cellulite has been scientifically proven, so far the healthiest bet is to follow a healthy lifestyle that includes balanced nutrition and exercise. 


While age and genetics are a real factor when it comes to cellulite, nutrition and exercise are in our hands to a certain extent, however, every change that makes a lifestyle healthier is worth taking into consideration as it is nearly impossible to follow a style of life that is 100% clean and healthy, also because this can’t be defined for everyone the same way. 


Although some of the other methods listed above may have positive effects on the appearance of cellulite, these are not permanent, as it can come back meaning these procedures require to be performed again. 


Because of all of the above, any solution that promises to remove or reduce cellulite needs to be approached with caution and an expert should always be consulted at one’s own risk. 

 ~~ Calorie-counting? Get some excellent recipes on Healthy Meals 


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