Cellulite also referred to as the orange-peel skin is a common cosmetic problem which is characterized by dimpled, lumpy skin. Normally, cellulite develops when fat deposits force their way through the connective tissue under the skin.
Cellulite usually affects the thighs and buttocks as well as the legs and arms.
According to the National Institute of Health, cellulite affects about 80-90% of women at one point in their life.
What is cellulite – mild, moderate and severe
Cellulite is basically the development of lumps and dimples on the surface of the skin. The condition is commonly referred to as orange-peel skin, hail damage, mattress phenomenon or cottage cheese: however, these names are determined depending on the severity of the problem as shown in the severity scale below
- Mild: “orange peel” occurrence with the presence of 1-4 surface depressions and slightly sagging skin.
- Moderate: 5-9 averagely deep depressions with a “cottage cheese” semblance and moderately sagging skin.
- Severe: characterized by 10 or more deep depressions, severely sagging skin and a mattress appearance.
Both men and women can be affected, however, it’s more prevalent in women compared to cellulite cases men. This is due to the difference in the distribution of fat, muscle, and connective tissue.
Causes of cellulite
The precise cause for this condition is unclear. However, studies indicate that it results from the “interaction between the connective tissue found in the dermatological layer that lies beneath the surface of the skin and the layer of fat that is just slightly below it.”
“The fat cells and connective tissue in women are arranged vertically, therefore, if the fat cells bulge into the skin layer, cellulite occurs” notes medical news today.
While for men, the tissue is arranged in a crisscross manner which is possibly the reason why men are less prone to getting cellulite.
With the condition being a multifactorial aesthetically disapproved cosmetic problem mostly common post-puberty among women-because during this time a woman’s body begins to transform and fat is distributed to the hips, buttocks, and thighs-which are areas prone to cellulite.
Other factors such as age, hormones, genes, lifestyle among others can contribute to the occurrence of cellulite.
According to scientific research, it results from the changes in the proportion and organization of the fat cells.
Any hormonal fluctuation that stimulates fat increment instead of disintegration, e.g. high levels of insulin may increase the chances of cellulite formation.
Moreover, given that the condition is relatively exclusive to women, it’s been suggested that the female hormone estrogen may be responsible.
Considering this dimpled skin problem develops after puberty and worsens when women experience changes in the levels of estrogen for instance during pregnancy and menopause. Ths can be accounted for the increased cases of cellulite while a woman is pregnant or during menopause.
However, due to lack of sufficient, credible evidence to support the notion, it does not necessarily mean that this is false.
The development of this condition can become worse if there is fluid buildup in the neighboring tissues.
It’s been claimed that any alteration in the flow of blood in the cellulite-prone regions should partly be to blame.
According to some researchers, this is common in people who have very inactive lifestyles such as prolonged sitting-which minimizes the flow of blood.
Additionally, wearing undergarments that have tight elastic materials across the buttocks can inhibit the circulation of blood which promotes the formation of this so-called ‘hail damage’.
According to the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology, “factors such as race, distribution of subcutaneous fat, biotype and predisposition to lymphatic and circulatory insufficiency” contribute to its formation.
According to another theory, cellulite is a connective tissue disorder which results from chronic low-grade inflammation.
According to the proponents, “scientific research indicates the discovery of immune cells that are associated with chronic inflammation e.g. macrophages and lymphocytes in the cellulite-affected regions.”
Certain genetic elements increase vulnerability to the problem. Research led by Enzo Emanuele in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology have outlined the genetic elements of cellulite to certain polymorphisms present in the angiotensin-converting enzyme(ACE) and hypoxia-inducible factor 1A (HIF1a).
Women are more susceptible to developing this condition as compared to men. One of the contributing reasons is the arrangement of the women’s connective tissue and fat cells under the skin.
The fat cells and connective tissue are organized vertically beneath the skin with the topmost cells meeting the connective tissues at a 900 angle and are large in number: For men, the fat cells are arranged horizontally- basically lie flat against each other and are small in number.
Therefore, the fat cells in women are more prone to bulge through into the connective tissue and become visible under the skin.
Does diet have an impact on the development of cellulite? Consumption of too much fat, salt, carbohydrates and insufficient fiber promotes its development.
Despite cellulite being dominant in people who are fat, it can affect even slim and fit people. The condition is usually more common from 25 years and above but can also affect younger people during the pubertal stage.
Referenes and sources
- https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article folder/cellulite2.html