What is Cellulite?
Cellulite or Orange Skin – The dimply, “cottage cheese” skin most women over the age of 20 carry on their buttocks and thighs is just fat, but to most women it’s more disturbing than body fat they carry in other areas. That’s because the dimpling and “orange peel skin” are so obvious when they put on a swimsuit or a pair of shorts. Women can take solace in the fact that they’re not alone. Up to 90% of all adult women have some degree of cellulite.
Cellulite may be more visible than fat deeper in the body. Everyone has layers of fat under the skin so even thin people can have cellulite. Collagen fibers that connect fat to the skin may stretch, break down, or pull tight. This allows fat cells to bulge out.
Your genes may play a part in whether or not you have cellulite. Other factors may include:
- Your diet
- How your body burns energy
- Hormone changes
What Causes Cellulite?
The skin is composed of two layers called the epidermis (the outer layer) and the dermis (the deeper layer). Underneath the two layers of skin lies a layer of subcutaneous fat. These fat cells are attached to the underlying muscle by fibrous bands that hold them taut. When fat cells expand, it puts pressure on these cords and causes the lumpy, dimply look of cellulite as you see in the drawing above. Genetics play a role in who gets cellulite. It often runs in families. Contrary to popular belief, even thin people can get cellulite if they’re genetically predisposed.
Exercise won’t cure cellulite, but some experts believe that building and toning the muscle underneath helps the fat lay more smoothly against the muscle. This can help cellulite look less pronounced. Building more muscle definition also makes cellulite less obvious. Losing weight helps by reducing the amount of fat on the body.
Tips for avoiding cellulite include:
- Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fiber
- Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids
- Exercising regularly to keep muscles toned and bones strong
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Not smoking