You can see it jiggling along with your reflection as you pass by store windows on a summer afternoon. Your stylish shorts aptly reveal your thighs but that means your dimply, rippled, bulging cellulite is visible, too. Moments like this make you and every woman shudder as well as be willing to do just about anything to eliminate that “orange peel” look. Cellulite is part of nearly every woman’s life, including women who are skinny, young, and active. Here is the truth about cellulite. It may change the way you think about yours.
What is cellulite?
Cellulite is the name for collections of fat formed under a person’s skin, causing the surface to look lumpy. According to Kasey McCreery, who practices endermologie and helps women in the Los Angeles area with their cellulite woes, different estrogen and progesterone levels can aggravate cellulite. It can also be affected by increased water retention, tight connective tissue that pulls down on the skin, enlarged fat lobes and poor circulation.
Can you get rid of cellulite?
Most women are extremely self-conscious about their cellulite, but the truth is that 90 percent of women have it. Still, it is not the prettiest trait, so over the years, countless tricks and tips to help hide, reduce and eliminate that familiar waffle skin have circulated coffee klatches, health club bathrooms, spas and the media. Some cellulite-battling tips work and some are simply old wives’ tales. Don’t waste your time on the many cellulite myths and misconceptions. Instead, keep the following tips in mind when you try to hide or banish your dimply skin.
Myth #1: Only people who are overweight get cellulite
Truth: Cellulite does not discriminate against size. Even if you are a size 2 and waif thin, cellulite can (and likely will) find you! Cellulite occurs when the fatty tissue immediately underneath your skin is damaged, which has nothing to do with other layers of fat or muscle.
Many experts agree that cellulite can be genetic as well, because it is heavily affected by hormones. Women from the same family often have similar degrees of cellulite – so no matter your size, it is important to keep an eye out for early signs of cellulite and be proactive about keeping your skin and body healthy.
Myth #2: Exercise can banish bumps
Truth: Cellulite occurs in what experts call the “superficial fat layer,” which is located about one-half to one millimeter below the skin. “Reserve fat” is deeper than that, and it is the reserve fat you burn with exercise.
“Exercise is always recommended, but will not get rid of your cellulite because it is happening about a millimeter under the skin and the muscle is way deeper,” says McCreery. However, reducing other fat stores and toning your body all around will make you look and feel healthier, drawing attention away from that pesky, pinching skin.
Myth #3: Loofahs and massage can reduce the appearance of cellulite
Truth: The concept behind this is true – the appearance of cellulite can be improved through massage. But it has to go deeper than the outer layer of skin that a loofah or self-massage can reach.
Endermologie takes massage to the next level. This is a type of mechanical massage that McCreery says “loosens the connective tissue, increases circulation, realigns the fat lobes and helps your body excrete the water retention.” It is a temporary remedy, but has been proven to reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Myth #4: Coffee can help minimize the appearance of cellulite
Truth: Your morning coffee addiction can’t be justified so easily. McCreery says caffeine is used to draw water out of the fat lobes, but this is not the most effective method to hide cellulite.
However, studies show that applying liquid caffeine to the skin can help boost metabolism and burn fat, but its efficacy of ridding cellulite is unknown. Some companies have even created pantyhose with caffeine worked into the fabric. The premise is that the liquid will be activated by body heat and rub off on the skin without the wearer having to even break a sweat (although that might be a more effective way to reduce the appearance cellulite anyway!).
Myth #5: Creams and gels are easy solutions to cellulite problems
Truth: If smoothing something from a tube over trouble areas could remove fat, all of our weight issues would be solved by now! “Creams and tonics can give the skin a tighter appearance, but have shown no dramatic long-term changes,” says McCreery.
In fact, creams and gels don’t eliminate cellulite, but they can have other effects on your body that help hide cellulite or change the texture. For example, vitamin A-based products can help thicken your skin, so cellulite may not be as visible.
Myth #6: You can eliminate cellulite like any other fat through liposuction
Truth: While we think of liposuction as a quick fix for extra fat, it can actually make cellulite worse. Doctors cannot remove cellulite itself, just the fat that sits below it. This removes the “cushion” that the cellulite rests on, leaving nothing but cellulite to cover your thighs and butt. The risk of liposuction backfiring and increasing the appearance of cellulite grows with age because your skin loses elasticity as you get older, so it is less resilient and looser all around.
Myth #7: Tanning helps hide cellulite lumps
Truth: There is some truth to this one. “Tanned fat always looks better than white fat,” says McCreery, “and cellulite is less noticeable on darker skin.” Tanning can conceal the appearance of cellulite, but warned that in the long-term, UV rays weaken your skin, making it less resilient, which can actually make cellulite worse. Just another reason to be sun safe!
Myth #8: Men can’t get cellulite
Truth: Before you jump to conclusions, don’t detest the entire male gender for getting another break. You won’t often notice men with cellulite, but they are out there. Besides hormone differences, male fat cells are shaped differently from women’s and they don’t stretch as easily (as women’s do in order to accommodate pregnancy), so cellulite is not as apparent. When men do have cellulite, it usually appears on their neck or stomach, as opposed to women, who experience it most on their legs, thighs and buttocks.
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