Cellulite, also known as the ‘Orange Peel syndrome’ is a frustrating modern day curse that largely afflicts more than 80% women all over the world. More than playing spoilsport to our obsession with physical perfection, stubborn cellulite secretly cripples the self-esteem of more women than one can imagine. Any woman above 20, even one who is slim or at a healthy weight can have cellulite on her hips and thighs or in some cases; abdomen and upper arms. Hence, the markets are thriving with expensive massage creams while still others rush to the nearest dermatologist to be treated by lasers, massage rollers and other radio frequency generating contraptions. The long term efficacy of these treatments is still under a big question mark.
Before throwing all your money away, understand the problem inside out.
What is cellulite?
In simplest terms, our body stores fat in small chambers beneath the skin. Due to increased fat deposit, when the fat cells in these chambers expand they create an upward pressure against the connective tissue right below the skin’s surface: creating the much dreaded dimpled appearance across large skin surfaces like the back of the legs and hips. This is exactly what discourages us from wearing hot pants in the summer. Sniff!
What causes cellulite?
Fluctuating hormones: Any hormonal changes in a woman’s body tends to affect the quality of a woman’s skin first and foremost by slowing down blood circulation leading to further breakdown of collagen (the building block of our skin).
Genetic Tendencies: If your grandmother and mommy had cellulite, chances are you are going to have it too. No need to feel blue just yet. You can still deal with it!
Lifestyle factors: Smoking, alcohol, stress, yo-yo dieting, processed food like chips, candy and soda which are loaded with trans fats, lack of sleep and other poor lifestyle choices will heighten the appearance of lumpy fat deposits on your body even if you manage to stay slim despite your bad habits.
To top it all, men don’t get cellulite. They have thicker skins and store fat in a more complex net like structure which might expand into one smooth giant lump but won’t show the pitted and bumpy texture as found on a woman’s body. Ouch!
Dealing with the problem:
- Lose Fat: As mentioned before, cellulite is mainly localized fat deposit. The more you see of it, means it is the time to use those legs more often. Include long walks / jogging in your routine. Skip the elevators, take the stairs. Join a spin class. Making your legs burn will go a long way in improving their appearance. Just don’t be lazy!
- Gain Muscle: Muscle tone is a woman’s best friend! Especially with age, as our skin gets thinner, well defined muscles with low body fat can contribute immensely to the overall appearance of smooth and tight skin. Make squats, lunges, walking lunges, side-kicks, front-kicks a regular part of your exercise routine. If possible, seek a trainer’s assistance at a nearby gym to do leg workouts with increased resistance using dumbbells and barbells.
- Fix Your Diet: No matter what your health problem, you can always ease symptoms by altering your diet. Drink more water. Eat more protein in the form of lentils, eggs and soy products. Bright colored fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants. Develop a taste for tomatoes, cauliflower, pomegranates, red and yellow bell peppers and all citrus fruits. Leafy greens like spinach and broccoli minimize internal inflammation caused by poor eating habits.
Consume Omega-3 fatty acids as a daily dietary supplement. These are the only healthy fat that keep our body lubricated and help store water within our cells to sustain healthy skin. Popular sources are flaxseed oil, olive oil, fish oil, cold water fish and walnuts. Omega-3 may also be taken as a pill.
Fancy beauty regimes; do we really need them?
For those who are up for it; they could try dry brushing before a shower to promote blood circulation or resort to an occasional massage at a spa. Retinol based creams and expensive anti-cellulite creams that often contain caffeine temporarily improve the texture of the skin. Results, however, won’t last in the absence of lifestyle improvements.
Remember, all skin related dilemmas are usually crying out loud to address a negative pattern established unknowingly in our daily routines. Conscious self-awareness towards balanced living is all we need. Cosmetic help should be our last line of defense, not the first!