Cellulite is something not often discussed, nobody wants it and most of us dare not admit we have it but the reality is cellulite is perfectly normal and the majority of women have it. Those that do dare to bare all are usually smooth skinned and dimple free leaving many of us perplexed as to why life has dealt us a cruel fate of lumps and bumps and an endless wardrobe of maxi dresses. Most of us dare to dream that we can dissolve away the fat with a magic cream and a vigorous massage but sadly that’s not the case. Methods to treat cellulite have been few and far between with most being unsuccessful. Years of pummelling and pounding vigorous massages, torturous looking cellulite hand held home devices and cellulite dissolving gels are in fact a waste of time and can even worsen the situation. In fact over zealous massage, once thought to break down stubborn fat deposits, has now been proven to have the opposite effect – make it worse!

Cellulite occurs due to a breakdown in connective tissue in the dermis (skin), which allows the hypertrophied fat cells to bulge through the weaker connective tissue causing a rippled or dimpled appearance on the surface of the skin. Peter Purglise, skin doctor and researcher determines, “cellulite is an interaction of the adipose tissue and connective tissue upon which sex hormones act." Hips and thighs are common areas for cellulite production and these are the areas in women that are more under the control of hormones as they tend to be reserved for pregnancy and lactation. Cellulite is thought to be induced by the sex hormone in females called oestrogen. Collagen breakdown is a biological function of cellulite which indicates that women with excess cellulite are suffering from hormonal imbalance and weakened connective tissue due to excess collagen breakdown. Oestrogen hormones acts on the fibroblast cells which in turn produce collagenase, an enzyme that breaks down collagen. Collagenase is a naturally produced enzyme that breaks down old collagen to make way for new, healthy collagen. Excess collagenase can stimulate excess collagen breakdown resulting in a loss of skin firmness and integrity. In cellulite the collagenase enzyme activity is excessive and breaks down the collagen surrounding the fat cells which allows for the fat cells to hypertrophy and bulge which gives the appearance of cellulite.

We know that not only does it look displeasing to the eyes; it also may mean that your fat cells have hypertrophied and have possibly started to multiply. Combine this to the fact that the more fat cells you have the more oestrogen you produce, the more cellulite you may get means it’s time to look at what we can do before it only gets worse.

When it comes to cellulite, men get away scott free. This is most likely due to having lower oestrogen levels and higher levels of testosterone, a hormone that keeps the limbs slender and cellulite free.

Tips to Reduce Cellulite
  • Reduce pro inflammatory foods in the diet such as saturated fat in red meat, dairy, refined processed foods, salt and sugar. Saturated fat, trans fats and sugar are HUGE enemies of cellulite and hormone imbalance.

  • Increase essential fats to maintain cell integrity and strength. Include nuts, seeds oily fish in your diet. Taking an essential fatty acid supplement may be beneficial if you have stubborn cellulite. Always check with your healthcare provider prior to taking any nutritional supplementation.

  • Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables to ensure a high intake of antioxidants, phytonutrients and bioflavonoids. These assist with healthy collagen production, cell protection and assist with the prevention of excessive collagen breakdown.

  • Adequate amino acids and protein intake are essential for healthy connective tissue and collagen production. A loss of connective tissue and collagen will worsen cellulite.

  • Topical creams and essential oils such as juniper, fennel, ginger and even caffeine derivatives can assist with enhancing peripheral circulation and may be of slight benefit to reduce fluid retention and a spongy appearance.

  • Professional manual lymphatic drainage massage is excellent to reduce sponginess and fluid retention and the removal of toxins from the fat cells.

  • Dry body brush daily at home to improve lymphatic system health and excess fluid retention between cells.

Dry body brush

A simple way to kick start the lymphatic system to aid the removal of toxins in the body, is to dry body brush. A natural bristle brush can be purchased from most health foods stores, pharmacies and even some supermarkets. Use the body brush on dry skin each morning before you shower. Start at your ankles as you work your way up your legs using gentle and extensive movements until you reach the upper thigh. Spend extra time on stubborn areas of cellulite. After that, begin brushing the fingertips, again working up to the arms, the shoulders, and then the upper chest. Continue brushing towards the lymph nodes in the armpits, then brush the body, your back, and then finish with the abdomen in clockwise motions. Avoid brushing over any sensitive areas, sunburn, cuts or abrasion. Avoid the face.

There are more advanced clinical cellulite treatments now available using radiofrequency technologies which target the weakened connective tissue thus reducing the bulging fat cells. Combined with lymphatic drainage these treatments can provide exceptional results. These treatments can be costly and sometimes painful. The saying pretty hurts is oh so true! A healthy diet, exercise, application of quality ingredients and the right professional treatments can lead you on the way to smoother thighs.

At the end of the day though the most important thing is to be grateful for the legs that you do have. Big, small, lumpy and bumpy does it really matter? Appreciate what you do have and love yourself, imperfectly perfect just the way you are!

What do you think? Have you tried any of the techniques that I talk of? Have you chosen to love your cellulite? I’d love to hear your feedback?

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