6 things to know about cellulite
The plague of all plagues.
Cellulite. Ugh. A word that immediately evokes feelings of shame and holds the power to instantly bring you back to terrible memories of tirelessly trying on swimsuits in horribly lit dressing rooms and starring in front of the mirror in horror of the figure in front of you. We could go on and on listing the horrible connotations this word has plagued us with since it was popularized by Vogue in the late 1960s, but let’s call a spade a spade and get to the point here. No one likes cellulite and getting rid of it is often a top priority. While it is not the most well understood condition, there are some things we know about cellulite that you can use to help you combat it, or if nothing else, feel better about it. Here’s 7 things to know about the dreadful woe we know of as cellulite:
(1) Cellulite is NOT a serious medical condition; it’s not even an actual medical term! “Cellulite,” rather, is the colloquial term that refers to the lumpy, dimpled flesh on the on thighs, hips, buttock and abdomen. On the inside, it is fat beneath the surface of the skin that due to changes in the structure of fat cells and fiberous connective tissue creates an uneven surface or dimpling.
(2) It’s not a skinny-person vs over weight-person condition; people of all sizes have cellulite. Not much is actually known about what causes cellulite, but various factors including hormones, genetics and lifestyle can contribute to the pronouncement of it. Leading a sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary choices are associated with cellulite, but hormones are generally credited as one of the more the dominant factors in its prevalence. Because of that, it is much more a female affliction than a male one.
(3) Eating foods high in sodium cannot cause cellulite. Sodium is simply a mineral. Minerals, like sodium, cannot be converted into fat, and therefore cannot cause cellulite. However, high intake of sodium may increase the appearance of it. This is because a diet high in sodium causes the body to hold onto more fluid in fat cells, which causes them to swell and appear inflamed. A 2003 study published in the European Journal of Inflammation found that women with cellulite who consumed a lower sodium diet lost more weight and improved the appearance of cellulite compared to those who consumed a higher sodium diet. So, while eating foods high in sodium will not cause cellulite to form, there seems to be a correlation with the appearance of it.
(4) Don’t like it? Drink up. Dehydration has a similar effect of high-sodium intake on the appearance of cellulite on the body. To minimize that, we recommend drinking at least three liters of water a day.
(5) To date, there’s no one-and-done quick fix to get rid of it. Sorry, folks. But, all is not lost. In addition to the treatments and products available to help decrease the appearance of cellulite/ combat it, there are a plethora of healthy habits that can help too. As noted above, limit your sodium intake, stay hydrated, lead a more active lifestyle than a sedentary one, and eat well. Where cellulite is fat, reducing your percent body fat should should also help combat the pronunciation of it. To burn fat, follow a diet high in fiber and watch your net carb intake (in the absence of carbs our bodies burn fat for fuel). As far as activity goes, focus on strength-training exercises for legs, core and backside. Strong, lean, defined muscle should make skin appear smoother.
(6) Most importantly, you’re not alone, and it’s totally normal. Cellulite is an extremely prevalent condition in women, and although a much lesser extent, effects men too. According to a 2015 review published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 80-90% of adult women have cellulite in some capacity or another. And if you do have it, and want to get rid of it, you’re not alone either. According to a 2018 report by Market Research Engine, the market for cellulite treatments is expected to grow to over $2 Billion by 2024!