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The Truth About Cellulite

Each year tens of millions of dollars are spent on miracle creams and treatments to “cure” this scourge of swimwear-clad women everywhere. Here’s why they are wasting their money.

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Cellulite, colloquially known as orange peel syndrome (along with other unkind descriptive phrases) is a condition that affects primarily women. It can begin as early as the late teenage years and continue throughout life. While there are many theories regarding cause, the most likely reason that this condition occurs is related to one inevitable truth – aging combined with one avoidable condition – excess body fat.

Anatomically, cellulite occurs when fat cells become engorged and are no longer properly contained and supported by the strands of connective tissue that bind them to the skin. This is more likely to occur in women who are overweight and out-of-shape. In younger women, the condition is not as apparent because of the strength and pliability of the fibers that support and partition the fat cells. But as age weakens these fibers, thins the skin and the fat cells grow, the honeycomb pattern of these fat deposits begin to show through and create that unwelcome dimpled appearance.

In addition to age and weight gain, other conditions thought to contribute to cellulite are:

  • Hormone Imbalance – estrogen, insulin, thyroid hormones, noradrenalin and prolactin are all possible contributors to the formation of cellulite.
  • Genetics – genes associated with gender, race, metabolic rate, fat deposition and circulatory characteristics may all affect cellulite development.
  • Diet – poor dietary habits increase the likelihood of cellulite.
  • Lifestyle – people who smoke and/or don’t exercise regularly have a higher incidence.

The lack of any definitive identification of cause has led to a plethora of treatments and cures that, for the most part, have no evidence supporting their claims of efficacy. In other words, there are a lot of women out there getting ripped off by treatments such as:

  • Fat-Dissolving Topical Creams
  • Pneumatic Massages
  • Radiofrequency Therapy
  • Electrical Stimulation

And pharmacological agents:

  • Methylxanthines
  • Pentoxifyline
  • Beta-agonists & Adrenaline
  • Alpha-antagonists

And, finally, there is surgical removal via liposuction. Sadly, none of these approaches has proven effective, and many carry side effects and risk factors that seem unnecessary when an effective treatment for most cases of cellulite does exist.

Cellulite Prevention

Sorry folks, it’s not a pill, cream, or procedure – nothing as easy as that. The best and only reliable way to treat cellulite is to avoid it in the first place. You do that with exercise and good nutrition. A diet of fresh, whole foods cooked at home that is low in refined carbohydrates and grains and high in healthy fats and protein combined with 3-5 hours per week of vigorous exercise will minimize or prevent the deposition of excess body fat in all those problems areas. The increased strength and tone of thigh and gluteal muscles will also add more support to the skin above it and improve the appearance by smoothing out those bumps.

It’s Never Too Late to Reduce Cellulite

Even if you are significantly overweight and have a lot of cellulite on your bum and thighs, following the above lifestyle suggestions will make a big difference – over time. Make sure your exercise regimen includes cardio and strength training for the whole body. There is no exercise that can target fat loss in any specific area of the body. Your body will eventually begin pulling fat from those cells in your thighs and posterior and, as the fat cells shrink, the skin will look smoother.

Remember: age is a factor and the older you get the more likely you are to develop some cellulite. Your best bet is to stay fit and eat healthy., What Is Cellulite? What Causes Cellulite?, Peter Crosta, MA, Retrieved September 24, 2014, MNT, 2014., The 20-Minute Workout That Targets Cellulite, Selene Yeager,  Retrieved September 24, 2014, Prevention, 2014.|aim|dl26|sec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D532056, Retrieved September 15, 2014, HuffingtonPost, 2014.

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