07 1 / 2013
Adiposis edematosa, dermopanniculosis deformans, orange peel syndrome, cottage cheese skin, and status protrusus. Those are just some of the other medical diagnoses and terminology for the condition known as cellulite. Cellulite is a term used to describe the appearance of a dimpled appearance in the skin caused by excess fat deposits and irregular connective tissues beneath the skin. This is not to be confused with cellulitis, which is a completely different skin condition in which the skin inflames. So now that we’ve got that cleared up, let’s go into more detail about this cosmetically dreadful condition.
What Causes Cellulite?
Cellulite is a common condition and the causes of the condition are many. In talking about the causes, let’s split the leading causes into the three following major categories:
Hormones such as insulin, thyroid hormones, prolactin, and adrenaline have been known to be leading causes in the development of cellulite. Although there is lack of medical and clinical backing, estrogen is also believed to be an important contributor.
Genetics And Biotype
In addition to hormones, genetic factors also play a large role in the development of the condition. Researchers have found certain enzymes and genes that are known to be contributors to the development of cellulite. Prediposing factors such as race, gender, and biotype have also been shown to aid in the development of the condition. For instance, Cellulite occurs in both genders but it is much more common in women. This is because women are more likely to have the types of fat and tissues that promotes cellulite. In fact, a recent Cornell University study indicates that 98% of adult women have some form of cellulite. In addition, people with higher fat concentration in the buttocks, abdomen, hips, and thighs are also known to be more susceptible to the development of cellulite.
Lifestyle choices play a large role in the development of the condition. For instance, high levels of stress will increase the level of catecholamines in the body, which will increase your chances of developing the condition. Inversely, certain dieting practices will reduce the level of cellulite in the body by reducing certain cellulite-causing chemicals in the body.
The Different Classifications Of Cellulite
In determining the seriousness and severity of cellulite, doctors classify cellulite into four distinct grades. Grade 0 is the least severe of the four grades. People who have Grade 0 Cellulite usually do not display any noticeable symptoms. However, upon examination at the cellular level, we can see anatomical changes at the microscopic level. A Grade 1 diagnosis is usually in order when the skin shows pastiness and the elasticity of the skin decreases. This would be in addition to any anatomical changes at the microscopic level. Grade 2 cellulite has all the symptoms of Grade 0 and 1. But in addition, the skin will have a visible coarse texture to it, much like an orange peel. Lastly, Grade 3 will have all the symptoms that are included in Grade 2, but with more palpable, visible, and painful nodules. This is often referred to as terminal cellulite, as it is very difficult to treat at this point.
How To Get Rid Of Cellulite
Late night infomercials and internet ads promising to show you how to get rid of cellulite in your lower regions are plenty in this day and age. It is understandable because anyone, especially women, afflicted with the condition will want to learn how to get rid of such a cosmetically detrimental condition. The condition affects some of the most sensitive areas of your body—-the abs, hips, buttocks, and thighs. However, be forewarned—-paid products that promise to get rid of cellulite are questionable at best and do not always work as advertise. This goes for most topical ointments on the market.
But the truth is, there is no “cure” for the condition in the traditional sense of the word. Although there is no cure for the underlying anatomical manifestations of cellulite, there are many treatment options to reduce the effects of cellulite and make it less visible by treating it cosmetically. So in a sense, you can get rid of the visible symptoms of cellulite, but the microscopic symptoms will still be there. So while, you may have a diagnosis of cellulite on a microscopic level, treating it will reduce the cosmetic symptoms of cellulite. So without further ado, here is a list of treatment options if you are wondering how to get rid of cellulite:
1) Weight Loss: Weight loss is simply the most natural and beneficial way to get rid of cellulite. A healthy dosage of cardiovascular exercise combined with a healthy diet will reduce the visibility of cellulite. However, weight loss does not guarantee that the cellulite will disappear completely from the skin. You can still see traces of the cellulite but it is far less visible. Although there are no specific exercises for cellulite per se, aerobic exercise has been shown to reduce the amount of fat in the body and therefore, lessen the visibility of cellulite. In addition, there are certain exercises, called “cellulite exercises,” that have been known to tone the lower regions of the body and tighten the skin. These exercises can include glute strengthening exercises such as squats or lunges. However, it is important to couple these strengthening exercises with a form of cardio to burn any excess fat.
2) Laser and radiofrequency treatment: This is one of the most promising methods to come along for those who want to get rid of cellulite. There are various systems that use lasers and radiofrequency to treat cellulite. One system used negative tissue massage, radiofrequency, combined with infrared light in the treatment for the condition. A similar method uses tissue massage with laser energy to treat cellulite. A different system uses radiofrequency at both the superficial and deep level of the skin concurrently to treat the condition. All these systems have shown very positive results in treating cellulite. However, the catch is that the patient will have to go in for regular and repeated cellulite treatment. Results typically do not last more than six months. This is a more expensive option than losing weight but has been shown to offer vast improvements in the symptoms of cellulite.
3) Surgical Fat Removal: Lipsosuction is usually associated with reducing morbid obesity. However, lipsuction is also used to effectively treat cellulite. Liposuction removes excess fat and tightens the skin to make the cellulite less apparent. But in some cases, liposuction has been shown to aggravate the condition and make the cellulite more visible to the naked eye. This is a fairly extensive procedure and is also fairly expensive. If you are not overweight, this method is not suggested.
Aside from the three main methods of cellulite removal mentioned above, there are various new treatment options tested frequently. Let’s face it, cellulite is a very prominent problem and there is a lot of money to be made in treating it. Many of the new treatment options look promising in the treatment of cellulite. For instance, doctors in New York developed a one-time laser treatment option that seems to remove cellulite in the patient and prevent it from coming back. One patient stated that her cellulite have not come back in the two years since receiving this novel laser treatment. So if you’ve tried all the options above with no avail, there is hope out there for you.
How To Prevent Cellulite
You are not able to control your genes and your genetic predisposition. However, what you are able to do is control your lifestyle. Genetics and biology have a large influence in the development of cellulite, but so do lifestyle choices. By making smart choices about the way you live your life, you can at the very least reduce the visible symptoms of cellulite, if not prevent it altogether. Here are some lifestyle decisions you can make that will assist you in preventing cellulite, or at least the very least reduce symptoms of such.
1) Less Stress: As previously discussed, stress is a big factor in the development of cellulite. But stress cannot be helped. Everyone experiences stress and stress is even sometimes good. However, too much stress is a bad thing and will aggravate your cellulite. To lessen the stress in your life, you should take on activities such as meditation or exercise. Both of these activities have been known to reduce the levels of stress producing chemicals in the body. You can also develop coping mechanisms that helps you deal with your emotions during stressful periods.
2) Don’t Gain Weight: Weight gain can aggravate or cause cellulite by increasing the amount of fat tissue underneath the skin. The inverse is also true; reduction in body fat will reduce the appearance of cellulite. So if you are already overweight, losing the weight will reduce the symptoms.
3) Be More Active: Living a sedentary lifestyle can increase the chances of you development cellulite. Sedentary lifestyle leads to poor blood circulation, increases fat tissue and deposits, and reduces the elasticity of the skin tissues. Being more active does not mean you have to become a gym rat; most people do not have time to hit the gym every day. Being active can be as simple as brisk walking everyday or running 2-3 miles a few times a week.
4) Strengthen Your Muscles: Toned and firm muscles will tighten the skin, and thereby prevent the formation of cellulite. Some people (especially women) may be hesitant to build muscles; but building muscles does not mean that you will look like a bodybuilder. Instead, lifting weights will give you a toned and slender look. It will not make you look bulky. Although it is highly suggested that you design a full body strengthening program for yourself, it is not required. If you are only worried about your problem areas, focus on building muscles around those areas. If you want to remove cellulite on your thighs, focus on building muscles around your thighs. If you want to remove cellulite on your legs, focus on building muscles around that area.
5) Proper Diet: Having a proper diet is important to living a healthy life. It is also important in the prevention of cellulite. A proper diet not only prevents fat gain, it also important in giving your body the proper nutrients to operate at full capacity. A properly balanced diet will also help in increasing blood circulation through your body.
The Difference Between Stretch Marks And Cellulite
Although popular culture refers to stretch marks and cellulite interchangeably, they are not one of the same. They are both skin conditions and they are unappealing to the eye. But that’s about where the similarities end. Even though they are both dermatological conditions, they have completely different causes. Stretch marks and cellulite can appear in the same visible areas of the skin. But the difference is that stretch marks are caused by the outer layer of the skin——as opposed to cellulite, which is caused by fat and connective tissues beneath the skin. Stretch marks develop when the skin is stretched too quickly. This can happen when a person experiences rapid weight gain or weight loss. It is seen quite a bit in pregnant women, crash dieters, and competitive bodybuilders. These marks usually fade (and sometimes go away) without any form of invasive therapy. But for some, cosmetic procedures (such as dermabrasion) may be in order for the more stubborn stretch marks that refuse to fade.
Should You See A Doctor If You Have Cellulite?
Cellulite is not a life-threatening or serious medical condition so medical treatment is not absolutely necessary. As a matter of fact, many doctors and medical professionals regard this as a normal occurrence of the human body. But fact that it is a regular occurrence doesn’t comfort those who have cellulite in the most unappealing and embarrassing areas of their bodies. So if you are one that is concerned about your appearance, consult a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon. They will go over further cellulite treatment options to treat your cellulite.