Health and Beauty Articles
The truth about cellulite:
Myths and methods uncovered
‘The orange peel’ effect has got to be one of the most derogatory terms attached to the modern day woman; ‘the cottage cheese’ effect is a very worthy runner-up. Curves - we can embrace. Long legs - we can embrace. Even bushy eyebrows - we eventually learn to embrace. Cellulite on the other hand can take a running jump!
Despite experts and doctors alike declaring that THERE IS NO SUCH THING as cellulite 80-90% of the female population would claim to differ with this opinion. Just because cellulite isn’t listed in the medical dictionary doesn’t mean it should be regarded as a myth. You just need to open any celeb magazine to be greeted with swarms of unfortunate celebrity’s bumpy behinds and wobbly tums taken at the most unflattering angles. I personally look on in glee at these photos, ‘Yes! They’re normal!’ I always feel oddly satisfied after... (A similar feeling takes hold when watching programmes about over-weight people dieting – you know you do the same!)
Methods to eliminate cellulite are often confusing and misleading (Bio-oil does NOT remove cellulite!) Where cellulite comes from and how we can get rid of it may surprise you. But first, as with anything else, we need a basic understanding of what cellulite is, what causes it and then of course what can we do to sort it!
What is cellulite and what causes it?
Believe it or not, Vogue magazine put this delightful word on the map. In the late 1960s they published it worldwide, “Like a swift migrating fish, the word cellulite has suddenly crossed the Atlantic.” Thanks for that, Vogue. The trademark lumpy look was beginning to unsettle women who were becoming more and more aesthetically aware, as well as clothing becoming slightly more revealing.
It can start to form in women post-puberty (one of the first indications that getting older comes with many grievances). It is most commonly found on the bum and thighs, but is also apparent on stomachs and the upper arms. A sure fire tell-tale sign of this condition is a dimple effect on the skin; skin that is very white as well as the skin being cold to the touch (areas with cellulite have poor circulation.)
Besides the fact that cellulite is not appealing to the eye, it is yet another way of our bodies telling us that something is a-miss. Your body is telling you it has a build up of toxins and fluid retention that is not natural. Quite frighteningly, if it is left untreated it can lead to more serious problems later in life, namely arthritis or permanent water retention. Undoubtedly cellulite can be treated. Structurally women are all formed the same way, so why are British women plagued by thick cellulite where as our just-across-the-water French neighbours have virtually no cellulite? The reason being it IS treatable and these women are evidence of that!
Waste and toxins are the root cause of cellulite. Smoking, alcohol, caffeine, high fat foods and prescription drugs are all things that our bodies don’t want hanging around our organs, so the body will try and shift them as far away as possible towards the outer part of the skin.
In relation to this, the hormone oestrogen is a significant contributing factor in the on-set of cellulite – the danger times being during puberty, pregnancy and the menopause. Oestrogen’s job is to send waste materials away from vital organs and into areas where they will be potentially harmless (in order to receive and nurture an embryo). Oral contraception thus promotes the formation of cellulite also. Men however don’t produce cellulite. ‘Beer bellies’ or ‘man boobs’ (sorry, there was no other apt description!) can develop due to the high levels of oestrogen in hops (found in beers and ales.)
All of these factors promote poor circulation and a sluggish lymphatic system, thus giving you one unfavoured outcome: cellulite.
What can we do about cellulite?
Back to what I was explaining before, cellulite is an accumulation of waste materials that are lying in the epidermis and connective tissue underneath the skin. Think about the word waste. Waste is not something the body produces by itself – waste is something we are putting in our bodies – and the body will identify that waste has no nutritional value so will push it aside instead of absorbing it. I’m not saying that you WILL get cellulite if you smoke, drink coffee and alcohol, don’t exercise and have a bad diet; but you are far more likely to develop it, particularly if all of these factors are combined.
Smoking – Younger girls are showing signs of cellulite due to smoking. Smoking uses up oxygen – a vital function that is needed to stimulate and cleanse the blood. If you are coming into your teens and are thinking, ‘Should I? Shouldn’t I? All my friends are doing it...’ Please think about the implications that smoking will have on your body and skin – the effects are apparent far quicker than you may think. Ever wondered why extremely skinny celebs still appear to have cellulite? The majority of them have a permanent fag hanging from their mouth's, that's why!
Caffeine– Coffee is one of the most obvious cellulite-linked substances because of the high amount of caffeine and pesticides it contains *as I pour my coffee down the sink.* Too much adrenaline gets absorbed into the system leaving it exhausted and stressed. Basically, the toxin levels in coffee are very high.
Alcohol – Alcohol adds to the workload of the liver and kidneys; both can become overloaded very quickly. The majority of people’s bodies struggle enough with our normal diet, and with adding alcohol into the equation the added waste won’t be eliminated sufficiently.
Diet – The liver and large intestine are very effective at eliminating and breaking down pure, natural foods; they are not effective when artificial foods are presented, thus the waste gets reabsorbed back into the body. Cellulite will continue to get worse through a bad diet because the circulation clogs up and slows down. The main foods that are hard to digest are sugar, dairy, meat, processed/smoked/preserved foods. Detoxing or having a diet high in antioxidants is the quickest way to eliminate all toxins.
Water – Look away now fizzy drink addicts, you know what’s coming! Water is the ONLY drink that will rehydrate the body, flush out toxins and any accumulated waste from the system. Drinking at least 1-2 litres a day will aid this (no, water diluted in squash or in your cuppa tea doesn’t count!)
Exercise – Unfortunately many of our jobs involve sitting on our bums all day which can cut off the blood circulation significantly. Without sufficient circulation the lymphatic system finds it difficult to get rid of waste materials as well as supplying the body with enough oxygen for it to function properly. Exercising for 20 minutes a day will pump blood around your body and eliminate those toxins.
I know what you’re thinking, what about all of these miracle creams, massages and wraps I hear about? One effective and inexpensive method is exfoliating: this increases the renewal of cells meaning that fresh skin will show through and be considerably smoother. Anything that increases circulation, lymphatic drainage and aids the removal of waste and toxins is going to help with blitzing your cellulite – but there is NO point in spending a lot of money on any of these methods if you’re not looking after yourself at home and addressing the above lifestyle factors. You would need to be having many, many, many treatments to see a noticeable and long-lasting change in stubborn cellulite that has accumulated over the years.
So who’s the woman who has no cellulite?
To sum up, a woman who doesn’t smoke, drink caffeine, drink alcohol or have a bad diet. A woman who exercises for 20 minutes a day, drinks lots of water and eats the foods she knows is good for her. Doesn’t it sound simple when you sum it up like that?
Might give it a go myself...