There is a saying that “Your body has fat. You are not fat.” So instead of the negative self-talk that may arise when you think about cellulite, try to understand how these fat cells work in the body. This can improve how you feel about your body and inspire you to take good care of yourself. Here are five facts you should know about cellulite.
1. The three grades of cellulite
You can talk to your doctor, dermatologist or other healthcare provider about any cellulite concerns you may have—they may classify your cellulite into one of three grades based on physical and visual clues. Here’s how MedicalNewsToday.com describes the three grades:
Grade-1 cellulite sees no clinical symptoms, but a microscopic examination of cells from the area detects underlying anatomical changes.
Grade-2 cellulite requires the skin to show pallor (pastiness), be lower temperature, and have decreased elasticity, in addition to anatomical changes noted by microscopic examinations.
Grade-3 cellulite has visible roughness of the skin (like an orange peel) along with all grade-2 signs.
2. Women are more susceptible
You might think that it’s just the fat cells that affect the appearance of cellulite, but DrLenKravitz.com says that it’s actually the skin that covers it. You see, on men, skin layers are thicker on the thighs and buttocks, which can conceal any puckering or dimpling of the subcutaneous fat cell tissues. In women, skin density is maxed out when they reach 30, says Dr. Kravitz. That’s why many women start to notice cellulite around that age, and bad lifestyle habits (poor diet and lack of exercise) of our youth may start to show in the body around this time.
3. Weight loss can help the appearance of cellulite… but it can also make it worse.
Although it’s the skin that affects the appearance, toning and tightening these areas should help, it doesn’t always. According to a study from the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, not all women’s cellulite will benefit from dropping pounds. The subject group included women on medically supervised programs that included low-fat meals, liquid diets, medication and bariatric surgery. The average weight loss was about 30 pounds. Women who lost the most weight and started off with higher body mass index ratings saw improvements, but those with less dramatic weight loss and a lower BMI did not have significant changes in cellulite. It also worsened in women whose skin became loose with the weight loss. “The dimples appear to be permanent features that lessen in depth as the pounds come off,” say the researchers.
4. Exercise, lasers, and more do have some promise.
According to MayoClinic.org, exercise, lasers, radiofrequency and topical creams may help. Lasers and radiofrequency systems, which are usually offered at medical spas or plastic surgeon offices, are described as the most promising of the treatments because they target cellulite at deep levels, and the results may last up to six months. Like weight loss described above, liposuction will not work for everyone, and in some cases it may make cellulite look worse. As for topical treatments: “A twice daily application of 0.3 percent retinol cream has been shown to improve the appearance of cellulite after six months.” The least expensive, but perhaps the one route worth trying is exercise. Toning the affected areas, such as quadriceps, glutes and abs may improve skin dimpling by making these muscles stronger.
5. Caffeine may help, if you use it the right way.
Caffeine, as part of a cellulite topical cream treatment, tightens skin immediately (especially if the ingredient list includes retinol, too), reports WomensHealthMag.com. Why? The online magazine suggests that caffeine improves circulation and temporarily shrinks fat cells, and retinol helps repair the broken fat tissue within 12 weeks. So if you’re planning a holiday, it might be worth considering a caffeine-retinol cream beforehand (and you can layer two different body creams, if you like).
But don’t start thinking that your cup of jo (or tea or soda) will give you the same benefits. Mirror.co.uk reports studies show that drinking caffeinated beverages can worsen the look of cellulite because of caffeine’s effect on blood flow and the limiting the access of oxygen and nutrients to skin tissue. Other culprits: smoking, sugar and alcohol. Be as balanced and healthy as you can be, and it will show in your skin.