All About Cellulite
Did you know around 80-90% of women will likely experience cellulite in their lifetime? Despite its huge prevalence, there’s still some misinformation and confusion about what cellulite is. In this article we will attempt to demystify cellulite and help you better understand this natural occurrence.
What Causes Cellulite?
Cellulite is a term that refers to dimpled skin. Although the exact cause of cellulite is unknown, there are some theories. Skin has three main layers: the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue.
Some theorize that cellulite happens after an interaction between the connective tissue in the dermis and the fat layer in the hypodermis. The fat cells push into the dermis and epidermis, giving the appearance of raised bumps. Cellulite could also be the result of decreased blood flow, lymphatic drainage, and/or collagen production. Hormones, age, genetics, diet, and lifestyle might also be contributing factors.
Cellulite can occur in men and women, but women may be more prone to cellulite due to the structure of their fat cells and connective tissue. As shown below, women’s fat cells and connective tissue are arranged vertically, while men’s have a criss-cross structure.
Cellulite At All Sizes
A common misconception is that cellulite is simply caused by fat, however bodies of all sizes have cellulite. Hayley Madigan, British fitness trainer and social media influencer, is a great example of this. Hayley shares images highlighting the major difference that posing, lighting, and angles can make in photos.
In an interview, Hayley elaborated on her decision to share photos of her own cellulite: "When I was an in-person personal trainer, my clients would never believe that I had cellulite because from the outside I looked toned and fit...When I used to tell my clients I had cellulite in my lower body they would feel better about themselves, so I wanted to translate this across to my followers too."
All this to say, cellulite is a completely natural part of many bodies! Despite this, cellulite has been stigmatized. This is likely due to the overabundance of retouched photos in the media, which do not always accurately portray the human body and all its nuances.
On this topic, singer Camila Cabello responded to body shamers on social media with an appropriate message: “I’m writing this for girls like my little sister who are growing up on social media. They are constantly seeing edited pictures and thinking that’s reality and everyone’s eyes are getting used to seeing airbrushed bodies and airbrushed skin and suddenly thinking that’s the new norm? It isn’t, it’s fake And fake is becoming the new real. We have a completely unrealistic view of a woman’s body. Girls, cellulite is normal. Fat is normal. It’s beautiful and natural.”
Cellulite can never be completely removed - it’s part of our biology, after all. However, if for whatever reason you wish to reduce the appearance of your cellulite there are a few methods that might help.
Dry brushing is the process of using a natural-bristle brush and rubbing it gently across your skin, towards your heart. This should be done after applying oil or some type of lubrication to avoid damaging your skin. Some claim that the brushing stimulates the fascia underneath the skin, while improving blood flow and lymphatic drainage. Along these same lines, specialized massaging and cupping therapy also claim to improve circulation and possibly redistribute fat cells.
Some creams use ingredients like caffeine to “plump” the skin, providing a more even appearance. You can achieve a similar effect through DIY recipes like this one, which uses coffee grounds to create a scrub.
The human body is miraculous and complex. Fixating on a dimple seems so minor when you consider the important job your body must do every day. It’s important to remember that cellulite is natural, and possessed by everyone from fitness influencers to supermodels. While there is no reason for you to strive to remove your cellulite, there are some therapies that might reduce its appearance. On a final note, try to appreciate and accept your body just the way it is!